"An Elementary School Classroom in a Slum" was first published in 1964 in Stephen Spender's Selected Poems. The poem has since appeared in several collections, including Collected Poems 1928–1985, published in 1985. "An Elementary School Classroom in a Slum" is perhaps the best example of Spender's political voice resonating throughout a poem. In this poem, Spender expresses his ideological positions on government, economics, and education. The students in this classroom are underprivileged and malnourished. The capitalistic government is supposed to supply equal opportunity for education, but the classroom in the slum offers little hope for change or progress for its lower-class students. This poem, written during the time of the Civil Rights movement in the United States, is fitting both in its commentary about race issues in American education and as a Socialist proclamation against capitalism and social injustice in general. Although Spender was British, his extreme left-leaning political ideologies were in response to the global question concerning social injustice. His poem does not explicitly name any country, location, race, or citizenship. Spender's intent was to shed light on social injustices worldwide; regardless of Spender's own ethnicity, the hotbed of this global struggle was the American Civil Rights movement.