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Essay on Kozol's Effectiveness in "Still Seperate, Still Unequal"

By adish Sep 20, 2008 512 Words
Jonathan Kozol illustrates a grim reality about the unequal attention given to urban and suburban schools. The legendary Supreme Court case Brown v Board of Education ended segregation in public schools in America because the Court determined that “separate but equal is inherently unequal.” Over a half century after that landmark case, Kozol shows everyone involved in the education system that public schools are still separate and, therefore, still unequal. Suburban schools, which are primarily made up of white students, are given a far superior education than urban schools, which are primarily made up of Hispanics and African Americans. In “Still Separate and Still Unequal”, Kozol, through logos, pathos, and vivid imagery, effectively reveals to people that, even though the law prohibits discrimination in public schools, several American schools are still segregated and treated differently in reality. Kozol starts by stating numerous facts and logic to support one his claims. To prove to the reader that may schools are still segregated in the United States, Kozol shows us that inner-city schools are heavily populated by African Americans and Hispanics with a far less amount of white students. In Brooklyn, New York, at Adlai Stevenson High School, “97% of the students population [are black or Hispanic]; a mere eight-tenths of one percent were white” (240). This staggering figure proves to the reader that public schools are still not integrated as the law pushed to achieve. He goes on repeatedly stating other population distributions in numerous schools throughout the country's biggest cities to. The reader can not deny these facts that Kozol used, hence strengthening Kozol's point. Kozol also uses these stats to show how communities are wrongfully denying the fact that their schools are not integrated. One school in Kansas City, Missouri claimed that their school had “children from diverse backgrounds” (242) despite the fact that 99.6% were African Americans. Kozol's uses this number to logically prove to the reader that the school was completely wrong in saying that they are diverse. The facts and logos Kozol uses are undeniable and ultimately irrefutably, making his point very persuasive. To support his claim that public schools are unequal, Kozol uses pathos. Through his personal experiences, Kozol has received personal complaints from small children in inner-city schools to show about the inequality between their schools and the suburb schools. One child sent a letter to Kozol stating that, “it is not fair that other kids have a garden and new things. But we don't have that...I wish that this school was the most beautiful school in the whole why world”(243). The child's innocence, shown by a small misspelling (“why” should be “wide”), appeals to reader because it shows how unfair the public school system have made schools for young children who want a proper education. The reader feels sad and ashamed that their country has let down so many children who have been given an inferior education compared to other children in the suburbs.

***quotes taken from "Still Separate, Still Unequal" by Jonathan Kozol

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