I found this story to be very engaging from the start. I loved that Kozol was not afraid to throw out every statistic he had to help the reader understand just how destitute these families are. It was shocking to me that the little boy Cliffie was so nonchalant when offering information about his neighborhood to the author, and that he was virtually unfazed by certain happenings (i.e. a murder) that would take outsiders of the community by surprise.
I enjoyed the end of the piece in particular, when Ms. Washington was talking about how people live in poverty. She explained that privileged people think that impoverished families put themselves there and it's their own fault for their misfortune. While I agree that in some cases it is the individual's fault for being homeless because they decided to pay for drugs instead of the mortgage, it was both striking and enlightening for me to read Ms. Washington's story and realize that she did not cause the cancer she battled, or ask her husband to give her AIDS and beat her; she was simply dealt a tough hand by a higher power and was doing the best she could.
Point to share/discuss: This piece makes me wonder how many children enrolled in a "privileged" school system are actually struggling like the children in the story, but do not show it. I am also curious to know how many people I have interacted with that know of someone or lived through a similar situation themselves and are trying to better their lives while in school. A very thought provoking piece for sure.