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Savage Inequalities

By brookebella Apr 06, 2007 1440 Words
Savage Inequalities, written by Jonathan Kozol, shows his two-year investigation into the neighborhoods and schools of the privileged and disadvantaged. Kozol shows disparities in educational expenditures between suburban and urban schools. He also shows how this matter affects children that have few or no books at all and are located in bad neighborhoods. You can draw conclusions about the urban schools in comparison to the suburban ones and it would be completely correct. The differences between a quality education and different races are analyzed. Kozol even goes as far as suggesting that suburban schools have better use for their money because the children's futures are more secure in a suburban setting. He thinks that each child should receive as much as they need in order to be equal with everyone else. If children in Detroit have greater needs than a student in Ann Arbor, then the students in Detroit should receive a greater amount of money. My perception was changed completely after reading this book, I never knew that so many schools were situated in the ghettos and were so badly overcrowded or only had two toilets working for about 1000 students, and no toilet paper. What really upsets me is the fact that within the exact same city limits, there are schools situated in the suburbs which average 20 per classroom and have enough supplies and computers for every child to receive one as their own. Of course the majority of these suburban schools are dominantly white and the urban schools hold the minorities. The dropout rates that are listed in the book are ridiculous. Most of the children drop out in secondary school and never receive a proper education because of the lack of supplies or lack of teachers' interests. The majority of the kids are black or Hispanic in the poor schools and the suburban schools hold the upper-class white children and the occasional Asian or Japanese children who are in the gifted classes. The small population of blacks and Hispanics that go to the schools are placed into the "special" classrooms and their "mental retardations" can be blamed for their placements. The majority of these students are not mental and they belonged in a regular classroom among whites and Asians. Kozol argues that the system is separate and unequal and he builds upon his hypothesis until it becomes credible. As a result of the indifference and determination, greed, policy, and racism, Kozol states that we have created two completely separate systems of schools. One set is public schools that give its children access to power, choice, and possibility, and a completely separate system that dramatically narrows a child's option. Schools that expand their children's knowledge are mostly reserved for white middle-class children and the schools that typically fail are reserved for the minorities. For my introduction to Education I have to make observations at an elementary school for nine hours and at a secondary school for nine hours, for a total of eighteen hours. I have started my elementary school observations and I am observing at a school on San Pablo Road called Alimacani. It is located in a rather good part of town and it is beautiful inside and out. I observe a classroom of Kindergartners of all races and ethnicities. I do not think that the schools that were described in the book are as abundant as they once were years ago. I also have to volunteer at St. Clair Evans Academy which is a 100% black school situated in a very bad part of town. I was extremely scared to even drive there. I went with a fellow classmate who was just as scared as I was. Once we got inside and started the volunteering process I realized that it was not that scary and the children were so incredibly sweet and willing to learn. My friend ended up being the more popular one among the children because of her long blonde hair compared to my dark hair. I see a lot of differences between a school like Alimacani and a school like St. Clair Evans. One is predominantly white and would be considered a suburb school whereas St. Clair Evans is considered an urban school abundant with minorities. I actually did not see a difference in materials or learning components. I thought that both schools were equal in regards to their supplies and were able to provide their students with a meaningful education that they could hopefully build on for years to come. After reading the book it seems like the teachers were so un-motivated to teach in the urban schools that it reflected off of the children, and the children were then un-motivated to learn which would explain the unbelievable amount of dropouts in secondary schools. These children were never given a real education; instead they were partially discriminated against only because of the color of their skin or ethnicity. They were denied access to private schools, they were denied toilet paper on any given day, or a toilet that worked, and they were denied the ability to expand their horizons and learn without the use of materials or supplies. These students were never given a real chance at a real education and today they probably suffer the consequences by living in poverty or having their children attend schools similar to their former ones. I find this to be very upsetting and even though the school systems have improved immensely there is still nothing that we can do for these parents that never got a real education because of their color and class. I just hope that these parents now realize what went wrong in their educations and they try and prevent it from happening to their children and their blossoming educations. Today this issue means less only because the amount of schools that were situated in the ghetto now does not only educate minorities but also whites. I personally attended a high school situated in the ghetto in Bradenton, Florida. I did not live in the ghetto nor did a lot of my friends. We just happened to be situated in the district for the school even though we were middle-class whites. The school was completely mixed with about 50% of blacks and Hispanics to 50% whites. We were referred to as the "ghetto" school by our rival school named Lakewood Ranch High. Lakewood Ranch was situated in the wealthy part of town and was only three years old at the time and predominately white. The major difference that made my school better was the fact that we were the only high school in the county with the International Baccalaureate program which was designated for the "gifted" students. We were only placed into a certain category because we were a very diverse school and its location was very controversial. I got a very fulfilling education that propelled me to enter college whereas about 50% of my graduating class never went to college and now have children or are pregnant for their second or third time. The only difference was that it was not the minorities that failed or dropped out or never went to college, it was most of the whites that ended up working at a fast food restaurant or pregnant. Out school valedictorian was black along with most of Student Government. I think that the stereotypes were definitely reversed in my school, and it only goes to show that times have changed along with education. Minorities should receive the same treatment as whites because we are all equal regardless of the color of our skin. I found Savage Inequalities to be very disturbing but I now understand how it was back then. I am extremely glad that things have changed and now schools are able to be predominately minority and predominately white and still receive the same education in both schools regardless of whether one race is more likely to succeed than the other. The only discrepancy that I saw in the book was that Kozol missed a couple issues. He never addressed the need to reverse the idea that poor children especially minority cannot learn. I also think he underestimated the fact that poor education affects all poor children, not only minorities. Other than that I found Savage Inequalities to be a very interesting book and I enjoyed reading it. One last thing that I believe is that the consequences of these savage inequalities, successfully sort children into winners and losers; those schools convinced the children that they deserved in some sense to fail in their education.

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