Disappearing Students: The Miseducation of Romania’s Gypsies
Most of Romania’s Gypsy children never get past eighth grade. They face pressure to work and help their family, and discrimination in the classroom. Their miseducation enforces a cycle of poverty that shows few signs of slowing down.
Then the four gypsy boys arrived. They were young, 10 years old maybe, but their presence made the air so tense it could have been cut with a knife. The Romanians pulled their bags a little closer. Nobody said anything, but nobody turned their backs to the boys either. There was a Uruguayan volunteer in the group, and she invited the boys to sing with us; it did little for the Romanian’s nerves. The first boy to receive a slip with lyrics glanced at the paper and handed it back. “I can’t read,” he said.