top-rated free essay

The Shame of the Nation: The Restoration of Apartheid Schooling in America

By EngwonOTwo Apr 14, 2013 794 Words
For those that are not aware, America’s education system is experiencing a dilemma that is going unnoticed. Schools today are not just being inadequately funded, or overcrowded, but something more interesting. Jonathan Kozol explains the issue at hand in his book, The Shame of the Nation: The Restoration of Apartheid Schooling in America.

Jonathan Kozol started out as a fourth grade teacher and holds an English degree from Harvard University. He has written a number of other books highlighting topics of our education system. He has published Rachel and her Children, Savage Inequalities, Amazing Grace: The Lives of Children and the Conscience of a Nation, and others. The content of his books include life in the South Bronx, where it is very poor, and narratives of children. If you were to compare Kozol’s writing to something more popularly known, you can compare it to the movie, “Freedom Writers”. The school conditions presented in this movie are somewhat similar to what Kozol is describing in The Shame of the Nation. Schools in poorer cities aren’t being funded enough, thus depriving students of a quality education and opportunity, and are separating by race. For The Shame of the Nation, Kozol constructed 5 years worth of preliminary research upon writing his book. He visited 60 schools in 30 different districts, and 11 various states. What he found proves to be disappointing. Schools today are in worse conditions than they were in the desegregation era. Schools where there are predominantly blacks and Hispanics are not properly funded and overcrowded. Standardized tests are set for students to fail, due to lack of resources in these schools. He also points out how schools in this country are made up of mostly the minority, and undergoing “resegregation”. For example, he quotes a colleague who says, “American public schools are now 12 years into the process of continuous resegregation. . . During the 1990s, the proportion of black students in majority white schools has decreased . . . to a level lower than in any year since 1968” (Shame of a Nation, 2013). Schools named after noble leaders such as Thurgood Marshall (Elementary), and Rosa Parks have a minority rate above 80%. Kozol interestingly points out how there are the children of the privileged and the children of the minority, where the privileged have parents who can read, write and are “savvy” know what they need to do to have their child succeed in school. Minority parents do not have the ability to do this, since they are more than likely illiterate or non-English speaking. This is an ongoing cycle in the school system. Minority parents, as Krozol explains, aren’t aware or prepared for the “cutthroat” competition. Of course, even in the poor conditions throughout schools, there are still those educators who go above and beyond for students, and defeat the odds. It is unfortunate that the children of our future have to go through this, because they can’t do much about being put in an unfortunate situation. America knows how important it is for our children to have a quality education, but we fail as a nation in providing that for them. Other areas of society effect the poor funding of schools, where some things are having money put towards them and end up lacking for other areas that need it. Unemployment benefits and the building of prisons are heavily funded compared to education. It will be hard to shift the budget around to favoring education, and it will take many years for it to be fixed. Basically, what this situation says about society is that you can only succeed if you are rich and white. When society functions the way it does, where you have more opportunities if you have money, makes it hard to move up from one social class up to the next. This can be true in the education system, as mentioned above, with the children of the privileged and the children of the minorities. It also creates a self-fulfilling prophecy, meaning, you will end up where you think you will. If a young black boy sees poverty, a low quality education and dead-end job in his family, he might think, “I can’t create a successful life, my life is already as worse as it could be”. He will end up living the stereotype. Kozol makes a fascinating discussion about our school systems today. It is sad to know that children aren’t getting the best education that they could. Children really are the future, and if they cannot acquire the knowledge and potential at the highest that they can, then they cannot be positive contributors to society. It is important to realize how the insufficient funding of schools effects all parts of our society and its well-being.

Cite This Document

Related Documents

  • Scarface: The Shame of the Nation

    ...Scarface: The Shame of the Nation The rise from an ordinary middle class gangster to a notorious and high class ruler, “Scarface” is a story of a man who gets his dream and desired status in the gang world through multiple phases of killing and torturing others. It’s a story of Tony Camonte (Paul Muni) and his rise and fall as a gangster,...

    Read More
  • Is America a Christian Nation

    ...those words to express the emotions of a nation that desired freedom, and to shake the foundation of the British Empire. However, this simple, but eloquent phrase has sparked one of the greatest debates in American history. Is America a Christian nation? One question has divided the nation and its politicians since the founding and forming of Am...

    Read More
  • Undereducated America: A Nation in Distress

    ...Undereducated America: A Nation in Distress In our society today, literacy is no longer defined as being able to read and write very little just to get by, but it is being able to read, write, and comprehend the information presented to you which you can use in order to be a functional and efficient member of society. Even in one of the ...

    Read More
  • America, A Christian Nation?

    ...America, A Christian Nation...? Introduction to Religion REL 2000 April 24, 2012 It has been said before that the United States is considered a Christian nation. Many citizens truly believe this, while other strongly oppose this belief. Contrary to what critics imply, a Christian nation is not one in which all citizens are Christians, ...

    Read More
  • Apartheid

    ...James Bond April 29, 2013 Professor: Jacqueline A. Ascione Research Paper: Apartheid During the nineteenth century, South Africa became almost entirely colonized by Europeans. South Africa was highly populated by the Europeans because; South Africa contained an abundant supply of natural resources including land for farming, and mineral re...

    Read More
  • The Apartheid

    ...Apartheid in South Africa South Africa is one of the most well known countries in the massive continent of Africa. Located on the southern tip of Africa, it contains many great cities, including Cape Town and Johannesburg, and landforms, such as Table Mountain and the Kalahari Desert. The people today live with good confidence and proud to li...

    Read More
  • america

    ...Today, many people immigrate to the United States of America in search of the American Dream; freedom, equality, and the opportunity to achieve their personal goals in life that they could not otherwise achieve in their homeland. The American Dream is the pursuit of prosperity Today, many people immigrate to the United States of America in...

    Read More
  • shame

    ...Rights Committee, which held in Ng v. Canada, Communication No. 469/1991, para. 16.4, that execution by gas asphyxiation amounted to cruel and inhuman treatment. The United Nations Human Rights Commission also noted that execution by stoning was a “particularly cruel or inhuman means of execution” (Resolution 2005/29: The Question of the Dea...

    Read More

Discover the Best Free Essays on StudyMode

Conquer writer's block once and for all.

High Quality Essays

Our library contains thousands of carefully selected free research papers and essays.

Popular Topics

No matter the topic you're researching, chances are we have it covered.