In the midst of the worst economic crisis in modern U.S. history, our political leadership has decided to exempt the very wealthy from sacrifice while tragically weakening the one avenue our society has identified for reducing inequality in the nation—our public schools.
Not only is it profoundly immoral to impose hardship on the weakest and most vulnerable members of our society, targeting schools for such huge cuts does violence to the very ideal of equality of opportunity which once used to unite liberals and conservatives.
If the only schools that can function well are in communities where parents have the resources to compensate for the budget cuts, then we are basically creating a social order where children will remain in the social position of their parents into the next generation, and where poor and working-class children are doomed by inferior training to be a servant class for the rich, if they are lucky enough to find jobs at all.

Mark Naison, Professor of African-American Studies and History at Fordham University and Director of Fordham’s Urban Studies Program