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The Shame of the Nation: The Restoration of Apartheid Schooling in America Hardcover – September 13, 2005

4 out of 5 stars 91 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Public school resegregation is a "national horror hidden in plain view," writes former educator turned public education activist Kozol (Savage Inequalities, Amazing Grace). Kozol visited 60 schools in 11 states over a five-year period and finds, despite the promise of Brown v. Board of Education, many schools serving black and Hispanic children are spiraling backward to the pre-Brown era. These schools lack the basics: clean classrooms, hallways and restrooms; up-to-date books in good condition; and appropriate laboratory supplies. Teachers and administrators eschew creative coursework for rote learning to meet testing and accountability mandates, thereby "embracing a pedagogy of direct command and absolute control" usually found in "penal institutions and drug rehabilitation programs." As always, Kozol presents sharp and poignant portraits of the indignities vulnerable individuals endure. "You have all the things and we do not have all the things," one eight-year-old Bronx boy wrote the author. In another revealing exchange, a cynical high school student tells his classmate, a young woman with college ambitions who was forced into hair braiding and sewing classes, "You're ghetto-so you sew." Kozol discovers widespread acceptance for the notion that "schools in ghettoized communities must settle for a different set of academic and career goals" than schools serving middle-and upper-class children. Kozol tempers this gloom with hopeful interactions between energetic teachers and receptive children in schools where all is not lost. But these "treasured places" don't hide the fact, Kozol argues, that school segregation is still the rule for poor minorities, or that Kozol, and the like-minded politicians, educators and advocates he seeks out, believe a new civil rights movement will be necessary to eradicate it.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Bookmarks Magazine

Kozol has been one of the most relentless critics of educational and social inequalities in the United States. After 40 years, neither his energy nor his outrage appears to be exhausted. In turning his gaze to school segregation, he discovers what should be obvious to anyone who has spent time in public schools—they are more segregated than ever. Kozol’s research and reporting is so extensive that no one can challenge his conclusions: Separate is indeed unequal, and as a society we are robbing successive generations of poor, minority children of their only lifeline out of poverty. Kozol is, unfortunately, better at diagnosing the problem than prescribing a solution, but his optimism remains untempered.

Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc.


Product Details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Crown; First Edition edition (September 13, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400052440
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400052448
  • Product Dimensions: 6.7 x 1.4 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (91 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #235,519 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover
Jonathan Kozol uses his background in public education and keen wit to deliver another scathing, needed, and largely accurate critique of American public schooling.

In the sequel to his 'Savage Inequalities', he argues that patterns of socioeconomic stratification paired with standardized testing fever are creating and maintaining disparate education systems which are recreating segregated schooling.

Mostly white children in 'nice' suburbs have clean and safe schools with a curriculum that stimulates their interests and creativity. Meanwhile, predominantly black and Hispanic children are consigned to attend run-down inner city schools whose administrators and staff (even the 'good and caring' ones) must spend the scant money they do receive on rote memorization.

Socioeconomic discrepancy will subsequently be used to track those students into an altogether different set of life opportunities.

In addition to economics, Kozol heaps blame at the rise of standardized testing programs. Instituted with the then-idealistic idea they would help schools, teachers, and parents proactively diagnose "learning problems" so all students could then achieve, these programs have instead become a tool in creating and reinforcing the disparities.

Students unable to pass the testing program become branded as 'failure' subsequently limiting their academic and other future options---all on the results of one piece of paper. Examining the current high-stakes test-centric enviroment, it is difficult to believe that this public policy originated as a program intended to help all children.

'Whose children are being helped in America's schools with our current policies?
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Format: Hardcover
It is noted that those who make the choice to attack the book on the basis of their own ideological biases, seem to have serious problems with honesty (they didn't actually read the book) or exhibit for all the world to see that they are unable to grasp a fairly simple thesis: that segregation in our public schools damages children.

Jonathan Kozol has spent the last forty something years observing on a first hand basis the tragedy of how our educational system has failed those who might most benefit from going to clean, well-equipped schools, where every child has a desk, a chair and materials....as well as a decently trained professional educator dedicated to imparting knowledge to them.

It is one thing to blame the poor for their conditions, it is quite another to consign small children to rotten schools on the basis of their luck in not being born into the right race or class. It would seem the only compassion worthy of the conservatives who write reviews for books they can't be bothered to read is feeling sorry for a failed scheme like No Child Left Behind. That, and gratuious attacks on teachers unions. Talk radio propaganda< however, is not a good foundation for book criticism.

Kozol, a man of extraordinary decency and insight into the inequities of our educational system, doesn't base his theories on statistics and thinktank framing. He goes into the schools he writes about, and talks to the kids who are consigned to them, the teachers who have to make do with impossible conditions, and parents fighting for their kids.

Kozol just reports what he sees, and writes movingly and gracefully about those who will pay the price of the criminal neglect our society seems to think is acceptable. The stories he tells are heartbreaking.
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Format: Hardcover
A compelling look at the disparity in our educational system. In some parts of this country there is a disparity in annual expenditure per pupil WITHIN THE SAME CITY of $9,000. Nearly every city has an unacceptable disparity. The poor in this nation stay poor because they are denied an equal chance to better themselves - starting at age 5.

The money spent on the bogus No Child Left Behind could and should instead be spent to level the playing field for all students.

Ignoring poverty and blaming the poor is all too popular in America these days, but how can a child escape the cycle of poverty if they don't have the same access to education?

I don't believe that anyone could actually have read this book and still believe that the poor in America are poor because they don't try as hard as the rest of us. The better-off keep these people down by refusing to educate them.

No Child Left Behind is a sham. I know: I work for a software company that makes the tests, scores them, and supports the teachers and administrators who administer these tests. It is simple window dressing by the current administration. I have yet to meet a teacher, administrator or parent who believes NCLB accomplishes a thing for the students. The teachers already KNOW which kids are underperforming. Race and poverty are the biggest predictors of NCLB test scores. Duh! The money being spent to show what is already known could be spent to improve the worst public schools. We waste money measuring students to find out what we already know, instead of spending money to improve their education.
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