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The people in Stamps were very religious and lived by stringent moral and ethical codes. The community worked together for the whole. Food preservation was a neighborhood project, as was everyone's business...... no secrets in Stamps.
The people in St. Louis indulged in gambling and drinking. Prostitutes plied their wares right out in the open and nobody cared. The community was not a community, people worried about themselves, neighbors were just neighbors.
As for the schools, Maya says that Stamps celebrated eighth grade graduation, and the students were taught (in an underhanded way) that to make something of themselves they'd need to excel in athletics....... not academics. Note, that it is insinuated they have no futures. Thus, we can see why eighth grade graduation was such an accomplishment.
None-the-less, Maya and Bailey find that most of the students in their new school (St. Louis) are ignorant, and that they are years ahead of their classmates in learning and behavior. The school and the teachers are very different; the teachers are distant, formal people, unlike the teachers in Stamps, who usually live with local families, and whose every move is watched.