To Those Who Blame Schools For Poverty- A View From the Bronx

I watched the flower of Bronx youth be shipped off to Vietnam,
some returned, some didn’t, and some who returned were never the same
The public schools stayed open
I saw the Bronx burn from the 4 train and the 3rd Avenue El
when I first started teaching at Fordham
The public schools stayed open
I watched landlords torch their buildings for
insurance money
The public schools stayed open
I watched the business districts of the Hub, Southern Boulevard
and Fordham Road go up in smoke during the Black out riots of 1977
The public schools stayed open
I watched all the music clubs of the Bronx shut down while hip hop
rose in parks, and school yards and community centers
The public schools stayed open
I watched crack sweep through the Bronx in the late 80’s and destroy
countless lives
The public schools stayed open
I watched large sections of New York gentrify and their poorer residents
move into the Bronx because it was the only place they could afford
The public schools stayed open
And you tell me that public schools and public school teachers are to blame for poverty and inequality.
Where were you when War, Disinvestment, Arson and the Crack Epidemic wrought havoc on Bronx communities?
What were you saying then?