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With slavery's end in 1865, not enough policy was created by the government to move a slave's life to a similar economic or educational status as the majority.  40 acres and a mule was even canceled with the land given to former slaves being returned to whites.  Here we are, 144 years later, and we see schools and family lives of the minority that Kozol describes in St. Louis facing distractions that can be traced back to slavery's end such as access by any student, regardless of race, to the quality of a school's education.  The life changing impact of some type of policy such as affirmative action is a mandatory need to replace these unfair disturbances that minorities, as Kozol describes in St. Louis, have to witness every day of their educational life.
When Kozol describes that "a diploma from a ghetto high school doesn't count for much in the United States today" (4), he was explaining the high rate of teenage pregnancy.  Inside the classroom students are surrounded with distractions such as the pregnant girl sitting in the next seat, the kid who looks a bit dazed due to drugs or the teacher not pushing them to learn something to its full potential because the teacher's schooling was not strong either.  The students of Fairview don't have to face these types of distractions in the classroom.  The minority students in the heart of the St. Louis schools or similar under resourced schools throughout the nation, need the assistance of a program like affirmative action to counter balance the hindrances within a struggling classroom.
Walking down the hallway Kozol describes sewage floods struggling schools full of minority students.  That the resemblance of MLK's beliefs have been let down to a joke due to the display of the schools' economic conditions.  A student should not have to face the reoccurring problem of sewage that affects their ability to eat at lunch later shutting down their school.  Crimes committed in the school such as stabbings, drug deals, and threats of a student's safety after school all damage a minority students focus on making academics the priority in their life.  If the schools are not rapidly changing to fix these wrongs, some policy needs to assist these students and especially the ones who persevere to any degree of success despite these obstacles.
To add on to what a minority student must face, the home environment adds another level.  Parents who have low income jobs, families who have relatives addicted to drugs, teenage pregnancy forcing a daughter out of the house--all of these push books and studying and other homework farther away from what seems important.  A high school diploma, as mentioned, does not even lead to greater economic success so the priority of schools seems to matter less and less.  Thus, a student who does still get that diploma and does still learn how to read and write eloquently deserves some type of advantage.
The affect that affirmative action demonstrates has made an impact, leading to a start of change and progress from the conclusion of slavery. This policy has progressed the students from a distracting learning environment to a stable system of higher education. Students who need this extra push to support them in the process of receiving the right that should have been equally given to them in 1865.





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