Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Ruminating in Retreat from the Rain

I’m sitting in the East Ninth Phoenix Coffeehouse waiting on a noon appointment, wondering what effect the rain — cold, nasty and nearly nonstop — will have on the suburban school levies voters are deciding today.

I especially have my eye on the outcome of the vote in Euclid and Maple Heights. The communities have different political dynamics but also share many key characteristics, including declining median incomes, a majority of students classified as economically disadvantaged, “continuous improvement” status for most schools, and a significant increase in each district’s African American population over the last decade. Of note is that each district has several brand new buildings coming on line in the next few years.

Race and class are the fault lines in American society. They are the 8,000 lb. gorillas in our boardrooms, living rooms, and legislative bodies. We won’t be competitive much longer as a nation if we don’t find ways to have honest, intelligent, informed and civil discussions about their impact upon our polity, our economy, and our society.