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A book review of savage inequalities by jonathan kozol

Nov 16, 2010 Lobstergirl rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: In Ohio in January, Kelley Williams-Bolar was sentenced to 10 days in county jail and three years probation for enrolling her children in the Copley-Fairlawn School District rather than Akron, where she lived.

When she refused, she was indicted. In Connecticut in April, Tanya McDowell, a homeless single mother from Bridgeport, is being charged with larceny and conspiracy for enrolling her 5-year old son in Norwalk schools, fraudulently using a friend's address.

Jonathan Kozol's Savage Inequalities

If convicted, she could face 20 years in prison. Jonathan Kozol wrote Savage Inequalities twenty years ago, but obviously its lessons haven't taken hold. Kozol described the vast funding disparities between rich and poor school districts in America, due to the way public education is primarily or initially funded by local real estate taxes. Local taxes on the value of homes and businesses in the district form the base of per-student funding.

In poor districts, because the properties are worth less, tax revenues will be inadequate and the state is supposed to kick in sufficient funds to raise the amount to a level approximately equal to the richest districts. In practice, this rarely happens, which is why schools in rich districts are lavishly equipped, teacher salaries are much higher, class sizes are smaller, textbooks are plentiful and up to date, athletic facilities are abundant, libraries are full of books, bathrooms are clean, and students white.

In poor districts the opposite is true. Kozol tells tale after tale of deprivation. A 16-year-old South Bronx student in 1990 "is facing final exams, but, because the school requires students to pass in their textbooks one week prior to the end of the semester, he is forced to study without math and English texts. Many of them will join the military. If there's a war, we have to fight. Why should I go to war and fight for opportunities I can't enjoy - for things rich people value, for their freedom, but I do not have that freedom and I can't go to their schools?

See a Problem?

Bad teachers who are unwanted in better off schools are unloaded onto worse schools. Everything conspires against equality, and of course the children are the ones who are made to suffer. Kozol reminds me of Howard Zinn in the way he sees neutrality on an issue as pointless, even detrimental.

The worlds that Kozol and Zinn looked at aren't neutral places. Power structures and systemic inequality are already in place; children are born into them. The question is, do we do anything to ameliorate these inequalities, or not? Money doesn't solve education inequities, is a constant refrain of conservatives, wealthier school districts, some reformers, the Wall Street Journal editorial pages.

Yet if anyone suggests redistributing school funds - taking money from rich districts and giving it to poor districts - the screaming, moaning and wailing reach a fever pitch. So it seems money does matter for rich districts, just not for poor ones. Kozol quotes President George H.

Bush a product of the a book review of savage inequalities by jonathan kozol expensive Phillips Andover Academy weighing in on education spending: More spending on public education, said the president, isn't "the best answer. Bush went on to caution parents of poor children who see money "as a cure" for education problems. Every American ought to read this book. Whether or not you have children, whether or not they attend public school, whether or not you pay real estate taxes, you ought to read this book.

Published 20 years ago, it remains profoundly relevant. It informs current debates about education reform; it ought to inform our opinions about the Michelle Rees and Wendy Kopps of the world. Ree is the lavishly praised, reformist former head of D.

Savage Inequalities: Children in America's Schools

Ree is now under something of a cloud for unsubstantiated claims on her resume and for a D. Children who fail in school, who fail to learn, who drop out, have fewer and fewer jobs and opportunities available to them. Increasingly they end up in prison, where they cost us more than if we'd just spent the money to give them a safe school and a decent education. Even if you care nothing about education you ought to read this book because the way we treat children, whether ours or anyone else's, defines who we are as humans.

  1. If convicted, she could face 20 years in prison. National oppression is fundamental to Amerika, and it will not be eliminated until we get rid of the imperialist system behind it.
  2. In Ohio in January, Kelley Williams-Bolar was sentenced to 10 days in county jail and three years probation for enrolling her children in the Copley-Fairlawn School District rather than Akron, where she lived.
  3. Conditions faced by children is a topic that should be an easy win for Communists looking to explain to people the need for equality for all. In poor districts the opposite is true.
  4. Focusing on the discrepancy in resources between schools that are predominantly Black or Latino usually inner city and schools that are predominantly white usually suburban , Kozol provides case studies and statistics to show some kids are given every opportunity to succeed while others oppressed nations are set up to fail.