A truly clueless if well-intentioned column by Gene Marks titled “If I Were A Poor Black Kid” in Forbes magazine is getting righteously ripped from journalists all around the web. They’re correctly pointing out how bereft Marks’ column is of history, research, practical awareness, racial sensitivity, or the sheer realities of hunger or even homelessness that low-income children face. Marks seems to suggest that kids from impoverished backgrounds – all too many of whom are African American – can simply access computers and lift themselves up by their digital bootstraps to use free websites and enter elite prep schools or colleges. Maybe a handful of motivated kids will manage a heroic feat like that despite all the odds, but is this going to work for the majority of poor kids?
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Cynthia Liu is founder of the grassroots education news site K12NewsNetwork.com, which empowers parents, educators, and students to report on important events at their local neighborhood schools and provides tools for maximum civic engagement in support of public education. This piece originally appeared in Technorati.