Kozol reports that in Chicago, by the academic year 2002-2003, 87 percent of public school enrollment was black or Hispanic; less than 10 percent of children in the schools were white. He also states that, in Washington, D.C., 94 percent of children were black and Hispanic; less than 5 percent were white. He goes on to state other populations in several schools throughout the country’s cities. Kozol also uses these statistics to show how communities are wrongfully denying the fact that their schools are not integrated. One school in Kansas City, Missouri claimed that their school had “children from diverse backgrounds” despite the fact that 99.6% were African Americans. Kozol uses this number to show readers that the school was completely wrong in saying that it is diverse. As Kozol explains, the American educational systems had built several new schools in mostly white neighborhoods, hoping that the close proximity of the school would encourage white parents to send their children to those schools. Instead, when parents see that mostly African Americans and Hispanics attend these schools, they pull their children out of them and send them to private, white institutions. Kozol illustrates a reality about the unequal attention given to urban and suburban schools. When Kozol visited a tenth grade class at Fremont High School in Los Angeles, since students were informed that Kozol was a writer, they had no problems in letting him know what was on their minds. Kozol spoke to a student that explained some bathroom issues. She stated that Fremont High School had fifteen fewer bathrooms than law required and of the limited bathrooms they had only one or two that were opened and unlocked and they were usually dirty and out of supplies. She also explained how students couldn’t use the bathroom at lunchtime and that the only time students had to use the bathroom was between classes. If students had to use the bathroom during class the teachers would say “no”, because students had their chance to use the bathroom between classes. She also said that there wasn’t any air conditioning in extreme heat in the summer and that the school maintenance had records of rats in classrooms and rat droppings in bins and drawers in the school kitchen and she also explained how the bread was being eaten off the bread-delivery rack by the rats.
These conditions do not provide a proper environment where students can learn but that’s not the only problem. The students are limited to picking their classes. For example, Kozol spoke to a girl he named Mireya, who attended Fremont High School in Los Angeles. She stated she didn’t want to take hairdressing or a sewing class. She told Kozol she wanted to take AP classes because she had plans to attend college and didn’t need hairdressing or sewing to attend. Although Mireya and other students like her are reluctant to conform to society’s expectations, and other students allowed these schools