Read Savage Inequalities by Jonathan Kozol

Topics: Supreme Court of the United States, High school, Education Pages: 7 (2307 words) Published: January 31, 2013




Read Savage Inequalities by Jonathan Kozol. Kozol examines the inequities in school financing between Urban and suburban schools, Chapter 3 (2 points)

In 1964, the author, Jonathan Kozol, is a young man who works as a teacher. Like many others at the time, the grade school where he teaches is segregated (teaching only non-white students), understaffed, and in poor physical condition. Kozol loses his first job as a teacher because he introduces students to some African American poetry that questions the conditions of blacks in America. Years later, after holding many other jobs, Kozol misses working with children. He decides to visit schools across America to see what has changed. What he learns is saddening; many schools have student bodies that are still separate and unequal.

Kozol's journey starts in East St. Louis, Illinois. Traveling with a woman from a religious organization, Kozol takes a look around the inner city. The town sits on a flood plain below beautiful homes that have been built on. Furthermore, factories pour sewage and toxic waste into the city. Playgrounds are found to contain heavy metals that can make children ill. An attempt has been made at building a new school in one area, but cheap construction techniques result in a roof that collapses. Local grade school children tell Kozol horror stories of family and friends who were murdered.

A visit to the East St. Louis schools reveals an overall lack of facilities. Sewage floods lunchrooms, making it intolerable to serve food there. Students need books, computers, chalk and even toilet paper. Science classes need test tubes, tables, running water and even heat. The ceiling is about to collapse in one school, the gym and locker room stink with toxic mold, and even the arts classes have no tools. Dedicated teachers make poverty wages teaching oversized classrooms and even choose to bring in their own teaching aids and pay for them out of their own wages. Almost every student in every rundown school is not white. Minority students know they are receiving inferior education in ugly, filthy, dangerous buildings but seem most concerned by the fact that they are all pushed aside and not accepted into nearby white schools. They wonder why they are not liked or trusted.

Next Kozol travels to Chicago, Illinois, in the area of Lawndale where Martin Luther King has worked and experienced the worst racism of his life. The conditions are similar as in East St. Louis with filth, decay and danger in mostly non-white schools. Kozol focuses on the incompetent and unkind teachers are the only people the Chicago school system have been hired for these segregated schools and offering low wages. The author disagrees with government officials claims that schools don't need more money, only better teaching methods. To prove his point he talks about a dedicated, brilliant teacher working in the slums who manages to excite students. She is just down the hall from uncaring teachers. If they wish to learn her methods, all they have to do is watch.

Lack of money is the problem and racism is the reason these schools are not getting the money they need, Kozol states. Thousands more dollars are spent each year on each white student attending better schools in the nearby suburbs. Blaming teaching methods or parental involvement for the horrible problems in segregated schools is easier than raising money and finding solutions.

The author continues on that the way schools are funded allows inequalities to continue. Local property...
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