Who Will Save Boston's Inner-City Children?(continued)

by Jeanne Belovitch



of the books the school does provide have been vandalized. Consequently, when a teacher says, turn to page 41, chances are it's not there.

Few teachers let books go home with students. So homework assignments get done during school hours. The more ambitious teachers mimeograph sections of books for students to take home.

Paper and pencils pose a different kind of problem. The most common use for ruled or plain paper in this school has nothing to do with academics. It's either taken out of the building in quantities measuring up to two inches thick or used for sport. When used for sport, paper is crumpled into balls and shot basketball style into the wastepaper basket or at one another. The school must dump substantial amounts of dollars into this activity.

Pencils disappear from classrooms with the artfulness of a subway pickpocket. But the students taking them never have pencils to do their work. Ultimately, the administration can't keep an adequate supply. Some teachers bring in their own pencils. Getting students equipped with pencils can become a major ordeal – taking up to ten minutes.

* * * * * * * * * *

A seventh grader asks the substitute teacher if she'd come back next Thursday. The sub surprised by the question, answers “How do you know your teacher will be absent?” The girl matter-of-factly says, “He takes a sick day on Tuesdays and Thursdays because they layed him off.”

On an average day 8-10 teachers are absent out of the 64 employed at Woodrow Wilson. One day last spring, 16 didn't show for work. But Woodrow Wilson teachers stay out of school for several reasons besides their bitterness over layoffs. Like their students,


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