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Savage Inequalities: Children In America's Schools chapter 1 Savage Inequalities: Children In America's Schools, meaning Savage Inequalities: Children In America's Schools, genre Savage Inequalities: Children In America's Schools, book cover Savage Inequalities: Children In America's Schools, flies Savage Inequalities: Children In America's Schools, Savage Inequalities: Children In America's Schools d66e7a5886d43 National Book Award Winning Author Jonathan Kozol Presents His Shocking Account Of The American Educational System In This Stunning New York Times Bestseller, Which Has Sold Than , Hardcover Copies An Impassioned Book, Laced With Anger And Indignation, About How Our Public Education System Scorns So Many Of Our Children New York Times Book Review

10 thoughts on “Savage Inequalities: Children In America's Schools

  1. says:

    Two cases of mothers lying about where they reside in order to get their young children into better school districts have made news recently 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 School officials said she was cheating because her daughters received a quality education without paying taxes to fund it, said an ABC article Those dollars need to stay home with our students, said officials with the Copley Fairlawn district, which went to the trouble and expense of hiring a private investigator to film the mother driving her children into the district They demanded she pay 30,000 in back tuition, for four years of schooling 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 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 the wealthiest districts, this is frequently enough to operate an adequate school system, writes Kozol 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 Another student says, Most of the students in this school won t go to college 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 He writes of science classes with no lab equipment, bathroom stalls with no doors, classrooms with leaking ceilings, playgrounds covered in broken glass, schools next door to factories belching dangerous levels of pollution 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 Throwing money at poor, poorly performing districts wouldn t do much if anything to improve them, they argue 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 Local control is another buzzterm for keeping rich districts rich and poor districts poor.Kozol quotes President George H.W Bush a product of the very expensive Phillips Andover Academy weighing in on education spending More spending on public education, said the president, isn t the best answer Mr Bush went on to caution parents of poor children who see money as a cure for education problems A society that worships money, said the president, is a society in peril Paradoxically, Kelley Williams Bolar and other parents like her are almost always paying taxes at a higher rate than their wealthier neighbors, notes Kozol despite the school district s contention that Williams Bolar was cheating because her daughters received a quality education without paying taxes to fund it Poor, inner city residents pay at higher rates, but less of what they pay goes to education, because so much of it goes to services like police and fire protection.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.C public schools, Kopp the lavishly praised, reformist creator of Teach for America Ree is now under something of a cloud for unsubstantiated claims on her resume and for a D.C testing scandal Kopp has never really been able to substantiate with hard statistics all of the media praise TFA has gotten 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 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.

  2. says:

    A heart wrenching jeremiad about the sorry state of minority schools in this country Kozol has stated in interviews that we are worse off both in conditions and segregation than we were before Brown vs Board of Education That seems hyperbolic, but after reading his observations here, it s hard to argue A blistering attack on the use of local property taxes to fund schools, it s also a sobering testament to the intractability of problems of class and race in America Should be required reading for libertarians and all those who wonder why ghetto kids don t just pull themselves up their own bootstraps It s a miracle anyone makes it out alive, let alone succeeds.

  3. says:

    It took me four months to read this book It was just hard to read the realities of the poor in America and not feeling like anything had changed in 25 years While I do believe this is a must read for anyone at all interested in education in America, I am not sure at all what the solutions are One thought is that the whole system is corrupt, inevitably so, that it should just be tanked and Americans should take responsibilty for educating our children Could children be any worse off in our schools than they are now Kozol does point out that there is no constitutional right to education Maybe the Government IS the problem This is not what Kozol would say but his only answer seems to be complete equalization which is fraught with insurmountable problems as he clearly illustrates I agree with Kozol that our schools need money, even while also agreeing with others that money is not the final answer I am constantly in shock over how little money my own child s public school has It DOES send a message to our children when they are made to go to school but so little beauty surrounds them Where is the money I assume it is being misspent by top heavy district infrastructure At this point, maybe it is up to each of us as individuals to find a child and help that one child to get a better education On a personal note, there is an interesting paragraph on the next to last page Cincinnati, like Chicago, has a two tier system Among the city s magnet and selective schools are some remarkable institutions such a Walnut hills, a famous hgih school taht my hosts compared to a de facto private school within the public system It is not know if a child from Lower Price Hill has ever been admitted there Few of these children, in any case, wold have the preparation to compete effectively on the exams that they would have to take in order to get in In fact, my dad lived in a white, very poor, inner city Cincinnati neighborhood on Eastern Ave.,just like Lower Price Hill, as a child He is 82 now I am not sure where he went to elementary school, but, hopefully, I can find out He did indeed take the exam to get into Walnut Hills at his mother s insistence, even missing a beloved baseball game in order to ride the bus to Walnut Hills on a Saturday morning to take the exam He passed the exam and attended Walnut Hills for 3 years claiming that it changed his life At that time, Walnut Hills was basically a classical school where he learned Latin, logic, and rhetoric.

  4. says:

    Every American should be required to read this book.

  5. says:

    FIRST IMPRESSION Is this just going to be Mama Might Be Better Off Dead The Education Chapter HALFWAY THROUGH Answer to the question above yes Look, Mr Kozol, I m not anti expose, but I hate being confronted with a tragic and intractable problem to which the author presents no viable solution Sure, it s important and crucial to acknowledge the inequities, to publicize them But Kozol s hortatory exclamations of yes, let s equalize the money do little, if anything at all, toward building the public and political will to make that a realistic goal Kozol wants out of the system completely, and understandably so It s an unfair system that puts the power in the hands of those who have lived in the lap of luxury, who have no interest in lifting up those who have not People like me, for instance I went to public school in Great Neck, one of the communities Kozol repeatedly cites villifies for its astronomical expenditures per student But you can t so easily opt out of the system Self interest is too powerful And if you can t opt out, and you can t present a viable solution within the system, then what have you accomplished I m hoping Kozol presents an answer somewhere in the rest of this book ALMOST DONE, BUT SO GOD DAMN FRUSTRATED Ok, Mr Kozol You want to be blunt That s great I ll be blunt too.All the excuses that we rich Great Neck folks present in opposition to cross busing, or equalization of funding the bullshit argument that money doesn t matter, or the racist one that Those People are lacking in family values, or the pretextual one that local control is important are just that excuses What our real argument is Why should our money even if it s an inheritance to which we, we winners in this race, feel entitled go to improve your kid s education Why should your self interest trump my self interest Ultimately, we pay lip service to equality, because, once ahead, it s not in our interest to aim for equality any Is Kozol saying that it is in our interest That it should be in our interest Is he saying screw our interest, this is what s good for society And, you know, whatever he is saying doesn t make one iota of a difference, because however troubled those who read his book will feel, we will not be troubled enough into action FINALLY DONE This paragraph sums up neatly why the book is important, but also supremely frustrating There is a deep seated reverence for fair play in the United States, and in many areas of life we see the consequences in a genuine distaste for loaded dice but this is not the case in education, health care, or inheritance of wealth In these elemental areas we want the game to be unfair and we have made it so and IT WILL LIKELY SO REMAIN emphasis added.

  6. says:

    I picked this book up while researching for my book, since my protagonist grew up in the Bronx housing projects But Savage Inequalities ended up meaning so much , and led to a big Jonathan Kozol reading spree Racial inequality, our apathy for the poor, all such concepts that seemed distant, became urgent and real for me Having grown up in India, I have to admit, I didn t know this side of America, and I was struck deep in the gut by the stark description of the realities in the housing projects.

  7. says:

    The reason I became a teacher

  8. says:

    A college professor of mine who i greatly admire once labeled Jonathan Kozol as a modern day prophet The idea is that he is a person willing to say things that most of us don t want to hear And that he is willing to say it starkly Its true Kozol does an excellent job in this book talking about a number of failing school systems in the country, and then comparing them to thriving and well funded school systems very close by I read the book a long time ago, but it still resonates, and i still pick it up on occasion to read a chapter or two Most striking was the chapter on Cherry Hill and Camden, NJ I mean, the fact that districts can have such differences in wealth, and be so close together, well its shocking Growing up in Washington, DC i knew this, though its different when you realize that the problem is widespread and not just local Kozol is an excellent writer Its an easy read, though his words don t leave you as quickly as they come If this is a topic that even remotely interests you, i highly recommend.

  9. says:

    Everyone knows that this is a masterpiece If you ever found yourself trying to argue with someone who believes that money does not matter in schools and that urban schools need tough leaders to getthemselves together, then read this book It tears this argument into scraps Also it helps to debunk the myth that Hollywood sells of dedicated teachers who work magic in the classroom Schools need resources like buildings and classroom materials Teachers just need to be not evil before anything else True it takes talent, but too much pressure is on teachers today partly as a result of this myth.

  10. says:

    I first read Kozol s Savage Inequalities in a college education course, and I remember that what I read left me confused, sickened, and hoping for change That was about 10 years ago and Kozol s book was written 10 years before that The first thing to remember and consider when picking up this book however challenging it may be is that it is 20 years old I think things have changed for urban schools in a lot of ways Not completely, not entirely, not equally but changes have been made The stories that Kozol tells are compelling The statistics he repeats again, and again, and again throughout the book are chilling The schools he describes are disturbing It sickens me to read of such discrepancy in our education system Ultimately, however, I think the book wasn t as well written as it could have been The problem with having a cause is that occasionally, the writer or journalist loses objective I think Kozol loses his objectivity in his tangible rage at the inequalities he saw in urban schools I am not criticizing his rage, I am not disparaging his cause, but, I do think that there are portions of the book that are sheer emotional manipulation and, frankly, drivel I hate to say this about a book and an author who so clearly has a heart for the plight of the poor, but he rages so severely against the conservatives that he runs the risk of alienating the very people who need to change their mindset about urban schools and funding for poorer school districts When writing a persuasive argument, it is crucial to avoid preaching to the proverbial choir, and distancing the very people who need to hear the message, who need to be persuaded Perhaps if Kozol was not quite so vituperative of his perceived conservative nemeses, this book would be effective The point is not to convince the people who are already convinced the point is to convince those who are not in favor of his views Kozol s main point is that money will improve everything in urban education He consistently makes this point again, and again, and again He consistently derides anyone who partially disagrees with this He sees any arguments that counter that money may not be the only answer to improving urban schools as stupid Again, when forming an argument, it s effective to explore both sides of the argument, and then disprove the one you disagree with after a balanced examination I think Kozol sees red far too often to give actual balanced, intelligent counter arguments to the money doesn t solve everything camp I admit I am in the money doesn t solve everything camp, to some degree, and I found his constant harping about this frustrating I m willing to be convinced but only with reasoned rhetoric I am not saying I think that urban schools should be left with over crowded classrooms, and bathrooms with no toilet paper, and teachers who can t teach I think urban school districts should, indeed, get every opportunity that the richer suburban school districts get But, I don t know that money will solve all social problems facing the underprivileged populations of America Savage Inequalities offers a poignant and challenging portrait of urban schools in the early 1990s I believe he probably could have been as effective without so much repetition of the same argument in every chapter chapters which lead the reader to believe they will focus on a school, but instead, by the final two or three chapters, are repetitions of the same arguments about property taxes and education and money again, and again, and again I think this book is probably an important read for any education one who is called to inner city school education, or not I wish that Kozol had a follow up chapter in this later edition of the book I d like to know how we re doing now 20 years later, is anything any better Have we put this dark chapter in education behind us, shunted to the history books and Educational Philosophy courses Let us hope so although, sadly, I believe this is not the case.

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