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Research paper topic: Jonathan Kozol, Savage Inequalities - 1027 words
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.. ney on the education of these students is presently a futile endeavor. Also, any reform, which does not include such added spending, will be a tragic failure. In all six cities, a ringing matter in each school comprises of missing and damaged textbooks, supplemental materials and normal building necessities such as clean classrooms and bathrooms needed to give the students a reasonable chance to be successful. Kozol gives statistical data, which shows the more money spent on educating children; the more successful will be that education (Kozol 158). The school system, he demonstrates, is a system of separate and unequal education: Behind the good statistics of the richest districts lies the triumph of a few.
Behind the saddening statistics of the poorest cities lies the misery of many. (Kozol 158). Kozol points out both political and educational leaders understand that more money must be spent on the poor. However, the most powerful leaders who set policy fail to see the political and legal roots of the breakdown of the public schools for the underprivileged: Government . . .
forces us to go to [public schools]. Unless we have the wealth to pay for private education, we are compelled by law to go to . . . the public school in our district.
Thus the state, by requiring attendance but refusing to require equity, effectively requires inequality. Compulsory inequity, perpetuated by state law, too frequently condemns our children to unequal lives (Kozol 56). In other words, unfortunate children have no choice but to go to the under funded school in their district. As a consequence of continuing social segregation, schools are still separated, both by race and by income. Many of the deprived are minorities who live in the same area and go to the same schools. The affluent families go to public schools, but their schools are more heavily funded because their districts have greater income from the wealthy people who live in those districts.
The result is a school system, which is not only segregated by race but also by expenditure. The differences in spending result create differences in success in public school education, in college education, and in socioeconomic success in the world following education. We have focused on the three major strengths of the book. Those include the author's in-depth research, his passionate, personal involvement in the lives of the people he studies, his clear focus on the problems in the school system, and the conclusions he draws with respect to what is needed to right the wrongs of the system. Furthermore, Kozol does not merely show how the schools themselves fail these children, but also shows how the political system fails them, and how the terrible social and economic conditions of their lives also prevents them from receiving the education which they need and deserve.
Kozol is successful showing that a school is an expression of the spirit of the nation. If the nation's social and political leaders fall short of providing the means to educate these children, the nation suffers not only socially and economically, but also morally and spiritually. The nation, which lets down its poorest children, is an unjust nation. Although Kozols work is thoroughly researched and documented, the strongest part of the book is his decision to let the children articulate their point of view. Kozol does not present his views in a confrontation manner that express a desire to win an argument on theory. More accurately, Kozol keeps in mind the fact that these are very real children who suffer because the nation has unjustly regarded them as second-class citizens because of their race and their socioeconomic status, or lack thereof.
As its written, I decided . . . to listen very carefully to children and . .
. to let their voices and their judgments and their longings find a place within this book (Kozol 6). Kozol's premise is that the failure to properly educate underprivileged minorities in this country is both political and financial. In addition though, it is also a spiritual and moral failure of our nations citizens. The heart and soul of the nation is its youth.
If you fail to give these children everything they need to succeed in life, you plainly undermine that national heart and soul. The failure of the schools is a sign of the failure of the government, society, and the nation as a whole. When the United States denies these children a good education, it shows it is a nation that has lost its morality. Surely there is enough for everyone within this country. It is a tragedy that these good things are not more widely shared. All our children ought to be allowed a stake in the enormous richness of America. Whether they were born to poor white Appalachians or to wealthy Texans, to poor black people in the Bronx or to rich people in Manhasset or Winnetka, they are all quite wonderful and innocent when they are small. We soil them needlessly (Kozol 233).
Therefore, Kozol articulates the failure of the educational system is a form of political, racial and socioeconomic abuse of these children. The breakdown of the public school system is a moral and spiritual failure. It fails to meet the requirements of the disadvantaged children. However, he concludes that all the spiritual and ethical pleas in the world will not make one bit of difference unless they are accompanied by more spending on the education of these children. Whether one likes it or not, this means that the government must increase spending for that education, or it will not be improved. Kozol makes an emotional appeal for the government to act in the cases of these six cities as well as other cities in destitution or despair. However, one of the greatest arguments against the legitimate demand for more financial assistance to these cities is the review of your weekly paycheck.
When more than a fourth of the income the citizens earn is going to the government, the feelings of the public are sympathetic but not monetarily reactionary. Kozols writings are fascinating, effectual and most of all, uplifting. The ideology of Kozols approach purely becomes interesting reading but ineffective policy. Work Cited Kozol, Jonathan. Savage Inequalities.
New York: HarperPerennial, 1992. Education.
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