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Savage Inequalities: Children in America's Schools [Kindle Edition]

Jonathan Kozol
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (186 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $15.00
Kindle Price: $9.50
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Book Description

For two years, beginning in 1988, Jonathan Kozol visited schools in neighborhoods across the country, from Illinois to Washington D.C., and from New York to San Antonio. He spoke with teachers, principals, superintendents, and, most important, children. What he found was devastating. Not only were schools for rich and poor blatantly unequal, the gulf between the two extremes was widening—and it has widened since.  The urban schools he visited were overcrowded and understaffed, and lacked the basic elements of learning—including books and, all too often, classrooms for the students. 
   In Savage Inequalities, Kozol delivers a searing examination of the extremes of wealth and poverty and calls into question the reality of equal opportunity in our nation’s schools.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Kozol believes that children from poor families are cheated out of a future by grossly underequipped, understaffed and underfunded schools in U.S. inner cities and less affluent suburbs. The schools he visited between 1988 and 1990--in burnt-out Camden, N.J., Washington, D.C., New York's South Bronx, Chicago's South Side, San Antonio, Tex., and East St. Louis, Mo., awash in toxic fumes--were "95 to 99 percent nonwhite." Kozol ( Death at an Early Age ) found that racial segregation has intensified since 1954. Even in the suburbs, he charges, the slotting of minority children into lower "tracks" sets up a differential, two-tier system that diminishes poor children's horizons and aspirations. He lets the pupils and teachers speak for themselves, uncovering "little islands of . . . energy and hope." This important, eye-opening report is a ringing indictment of the shameful neglect that has fostered a ghetto school system in America. 50,000 first printing; BOMC and QPB selections; author tour.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

In 1988, Kozol, author of Death at an Early Age ( LJ 7/67) and the more recent Rachel and Her Children ( LJ 3/15/88), visited schools in over 30 neighborhoods, including East St. Louis, Harlem, the Bronx, Chicago, Jersey City, and San Antonio. In this account, he concludes that real integration has seriously declined and education for minorities and the poor has moved backwards by at least several decades. Shocked by the persistent segregation and bias in poorer neighborhoods, Kozol describes the garrison-like campuses located in high-crime areas, which often lack the most basic needs. Rooms with no heat, few supplies or texts, labs with no equipment or running water, sewer backups, fumes, and overwhelming fiscal shortages combine to create an appalling scene. This is raw stuff. Recommended for all libraries. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 6/1/91 under the title These Young Lives: Still Separate, Still Unequal; Children in America's Schools .
- Annette V. Janes, Hamilton P.L., Mass.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
41 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wake Up America February 25, 2000
Anyone believing that America is the land of opportunity for our young people should read this book. Anyone convinced that America is not the land of opportunity for our young people, but wants statistics to back this belief, should read this book too. In chapter after chapter Kozol dispels the myth that all children in this country are provided with an equal opportunity for education. The stark contrast he provides between neighboring schools in some of our countries major cities is haunting and unbelievable. The conditions that some of our children face day after day, and year after year would break the spirits of even the strongest adults. For example: The children of Martin Luther King Junior High in East St. Louis have experienced repeated school closing due to sewage back-ups. Students in DuSable High School's auto mechanics class have waited 16 weeks before learning something so basic as changing a tire because of no instruction. "On an average morning in Chicago, 5,700 children in 190 classrooms come to school to find they have no teacher."(p. 52) At Goudy Elementary, in Chicago, there are two working bathrooms for 700 children and toilet paper and paper towels are rationed. In New York City's Morris High the black boards are so badly cracked that teachers are afraid to let students write on them, there are holes in the floors of classrooms, plaster falls from the walls, and when it rains waterfalls make their way down six flights of stairs. In Public School 261 in District 10 in New York 1300 elementary students attend school in a converted roller skating rink. The school's capacity is 900 and there are no windows, which Kozol describes as creating feelings of asphyxiation. Read more ›
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39 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truth Exposed: The Conditions of Public Schools December 13, 1999
Jonathan Kozol Savage Inequalities: Children in America's Schools Crown Publishers, 1992 I extremely enjoyed reading Jonathan Kozol's book Savage Inequalities: Children in America's Schools. To say that it is an invaluable tool to all educators, parents, and anyone concerned about the welfare of children, is vastly an understatement. This book provides the reader with graphic details about the gross realities of the public school system, and focuses not only on revealing the problem, but why the problem has occurred and what can be done about it. Chapter by chaper, Kozol brings to light the harsh realities of what children face everyday in different parts of the United States. His purpose for writing this book, I believe, was to inform the public these realities, because many people have no idea they even exist. The details he includes are almost unbelievable that our school system would allow these situations to exist. This book differs from the mainstream ideas that everyone receives a fair, quality education in the United States. I found it difficult to read, knowing that students faced these problems everyday. Problems such as not enough textbooks, no teacher, no classroom, or no supplies to start the year off with. Yet I could not put the book down. The truth hits the reader with such a force because the book is a gripping tale unlike anything heard before. This book reveals the tragedy of an inadequate school system, and contrasts the extreme differences between the wealthy and the poor. At first, reading through the book, I found it extremely offensive that a writer would expose these systems without feeling the pressure to do something about it. And then it hit me: he did do something. Read more ›
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Jonathan Kozol started teaching at a segregated school in Boston in 1964. The students in his fourth grade class had to share a classroom with another class, a choir, and a drama group rehearsing for a play that was never performed. He was the 13th teacher they had in the year. After being fired for having his students read a poem that was not on a pre-approved list, he moved on to a wealthier school and found a much more accommodating system of education with smaller classes, better materials, and more innovation. In his study of underfunded schools in poor neighborhoods in East St. Louis, Chicago, New York, New Jersey, Washington D.C., and San Antonio, he found that little has changed.
This book is an eye opener as to the educational system in this country. Segregation is alive & well decades after Brown v. Board of Education. Most of the schools he visited are close to other wealthier (and predominately white) schools so he can really show the inequality between them. The poorer schools have limited to nonexistent materials and equipment. One school in New York (known simply as public school 261) conducts classes in an abandoned roller rink with no identification and not even a single encyclopedia set. One of the few exceptional teachers he found had to buy materials out of her pocket (pg. 47). The enormously high drop out rates at these schools are almost welcomed as they free up seats in the over-crowded classrooms (pp. 54 and 111). Most heartbreaking is that so many teachers and administrators he talked to seem to have given up on improving conditions and saving these kids. More than once, adults are quoted as dismissing the matter with "They're not going anywhere" (pp. 52 and 160).
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
necessary reading.
Published 22 days ago by Melissa Holland
1.0 out of 5 stars Required Reading but Not Sure Why
This book was ordered as a requirement for a college course, but the views contained within seemed extremely prejudicial and one sided. Read more
Published 3 months ago by mmcgwire1
1.0 out of 5 stars This book is nothing more than an op-ed
Stay away from this op-ed book. It is a terrible, biased piece that shows the author to be biased to the point of bigotry.
Published 3 months ago by doublehelix
4.0 out of 5 stars Informative
I chose to read this book because my research says it is the most popular book in the education genre. Read more
Published 4 months ago by taylor storey
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read for anyone in the Education field
This text was a requirement for my Field Experience course originally. I decided to keep it because it reveals how not all schools are full of sunshine and rainbows. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Had to get this book for my class and loved it!
I had to get this book for one of my graduate classes.

Needless to say that is well written and very educational. Read more
Published 6 months ago by IsKra
5.0 out of 5 stars Important read. Hard to swallow.
This was a required text when I was in college in the late 90's. The info is somewhat dated at this point but still very relevant. Read more
Published 6 months ago by supermiller
5.0 out of 5 stars Must read for any aspiring teacher or administrator
Recommended reading for anyone wanting to become a teacher. Real and down to earth accounts. Excellent examples of how 'support systems' are set up only for those that can afford... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Corena Anton
1.0 out of 5 stars Savage dishonesty
Kozol's main premise in this book is that black, urban school districts can't give their students a fair shake because these districts are underfunded, especially when compared to... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Rod Allison
5.0 out of 5 stars Savage Inequalities by Jonathan Kozol is a MUST READ
This book is incredible! I recommend it to anyone. Whether you think America's education system is flawed or flawless, you NEED to read this.
Published 9 months ago by Simone Price
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More About the Author

Jonathan Kozol has been awarded the National Book Award and the Robert F. Kennedy Award. His book Savage Inequalities was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and became a national bestseller.

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