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Demetrio Rodriguez and his grandson at new elementary school ALAN POGUE FUND-RAISING PHIL GRAMM LOOKS TO ’96 Pg. 10 A JOURNAL OF FREE VOICES NOVEMBER 13, 1992 $1.75 Remembering the Alamo . Heights BY NANCY FOLBRE San Antonio; Amherst, Mass. THERE’S AN ENGLISHMAN, A Frenchman, a Texan and a Mexican, plus a pilot, on a four engine cargo plane flying an emergency mission. One of the engines conks out and the pilot announces that the plane will crash unless they lighten their load. He asks for a volunteer to parachute from the plane. The Englishman quietly says “God Save the Queen” and steps out the door. A few minutes later, a second engine conks out. Another sacrifice is required. The Frenchman leaps out, with a gallant “Vive la France.” Then a third engine goes, and the pilot screams, “Act fast, boys, somebody else has got to jump.” The Texan yells “Remember the Alamo!” and pushes the Mexican out the door. When I first heard this joke, in the halls of Alamo Heights High School about 25 years ago, I thought it was incredibly funny. For some reason, I was reminded of it when I received an upscale brochure in the mail asking for my donation to the Alamo Heights School Foundation. “This year,” the enclosed letter said, “approximately $4 million of Alamo Heights tax revenue will go to other schools in our County Education District.” The brochure explained that private donations to the foundation, unlike tax revenues, will be used exclusively for the students in the Alamo Heights school system. “We don’t want people to get the wrong idea about what we’re doing,” explained the foundation’s president last December. “We’re not trying to get ahead of other people; we’re just trying to make up for what was taken from us.” These words are a bit ironic, because that’s exactly what advocates of school funding equalization are trying to do. I guess a lot depends on who “we” are, and what we think belongs to “us.” Anyway, I didn’t exactly whip out my checkbook. What can you expect from someone who was elected “most revolutionary” of the graduating class of 1969? \(It was a new category; I grew nostalgic thinking about my favorite Alamo Heights teachers, and decided to study the Great Texas School Funding Fight. It’s a story worthy of the big screen, with shoot-em-up anger, edgeof-the-seat suspense and a grand patriotic theme: the meaning of equal opportunity. Keep Your. Eyes on the Prize Many books have been written, and courses taught, on the Civil Rights Movement. People tend to describe it as a thing of the past. Actually, it’s just getting started. The famous Supreme Court ruling that struck down the principle of “separate but equal” education in 1954, Brown v. the Board of Education, did little more than set the stage. Although school segregation is no longer enforced by law, it is reproduced by economic inequalities that are, in turn, reproduced by unequal access to education. This circular process has been challenged by a series of state court rulings in Texas, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Kentucky, Kansas, Montana, New Jersey, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming. The Texas challenge will put a case called Edgewood into the history books alongside Brown. In 1953, a bunch of African-American students walked out of a Kansas classroom, protesting the poor quality of their education. That’s how Brown v. the Board of Education came to Continued on page 6