The Merit Model

Every time I drive through New Haven I’m amazed at the huge differences in class and wealth between Ella Grasso Boulevard and the Yale University Campus. Poverty butts up against privilege, ramshackle row houses are blocks away from green courtyards, gothic archways, and high end boutiques – and it’s color coded in black and white. I can’t help wonder how the students and staff at Yale reconcile themselves to the contrasts.

High school classroom versions of history just don’t get the story across. Children learn that slavery used to exist, but we fixed that; Jim Crow laws used to exist, but we fixed those too; and segregation was common once, but now its illegal and we have affirmative action to counteract it. Not only do we learn that the major problems have all been fixed, we’re also left with a bit of an afterglow from the huge achievements ending each atrocity. Aren’t we good for ending all that bad stuff!

But if we’re so good then why is so much of our country still drawn in black and white? Continue reading “The Merit Model”