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

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“The nation needs to be confronted with the crime that we’re committing and the promises we are betraying. This is a book about betrayal of the young, who have no power to defend themselves. It is not intended to make readers comfortable.”

Over the past several years, Jonathan Kozol has visited nearly 60 public schools. Virtually everywhere, he finds that conditions have grown worse for inner-city children in the 15 years since federal courts began dismantling the landmark ruling in Brown v. Board of Education. First, a state of nearly absolute apartheid now prevails in thousands of our schools. The segregation of black children has reverted to a level that the nation has not seen since 1968. Few of the students in these schools know white children any longer. Second, a protomilitary form of discipline has now emerged, modeled on stick-and-carrot methods of behavioral control traditionally used in prisons but targeted exclusively at black and Hispanic children. And third, as high-stakes testing takes on pathological and punitive dimensions, liberal education in our inner-city schools has been increasingly replaced by culturally barren and robotic methods of instruction that would be rejected out of hand by schools that serve the mainstream of society.

Filled with the passionate voices of children and their teachers and some of the most revered and trusted leaders in the black community, The Shame of the Nation is a triumph of firsthand reporting that pays tribute to those undefeated educators who persist against the odds, but directly challenges the chilling practices now being forced upon our urban systems by the Bush administration. In their place, Kozol offers a humane, dramatic challenge to our nation to fulfill at last the promise made some 50 years ago to all our youngest citizens.


From The Shame of the Nation

“I went to Washington to challenge the soft bigotry of low expectations,” the president said in his campaign for reelection in September 2004. “It’s working. It’s making a difference.” It is one of those deadly lies, which, by sheer repetition, is at length accepted by large numbers of Americans as, perhaps, a rough approximation of the truth. But it is not the truth, and it is not an innocent misstatement of the facts. It is a devious appeasement of the heartache of the parents of the poor and, if it is not forcefully resisted and denounced, it is going to lead our nation even further in a perilous direction.


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About the author

Jonathan Kozol is the National Book Award-winning author of Death at an Early Age, Savage Inequalities, and Amazing Grace. He has been working with children in inner-city schools for more than 40 years.


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Additional Information

Publisher
Broadway Books
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Published on
Sep 13, 2005
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Pages
416
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ISBN
9780307339416
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Language
English
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Genres
Education / Educational Policy & Reform / General
Education / Philosophy, Theory & Social Aspects
Social Science / Discrimination & Race Relations
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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In her award-winning book, Linda Darling-Hammond-renowned researcher, policy advisor, and educational leader-contends that improving America's performance in the global economy is closely tied to closing the minority-majority achievement gap at home. Today in the United States only 1 in 10 low-income kindergarteners goes on to graduate from college. At a time when education matters more than ever, the U.S. high school graduation rate has dropped from first in the world to the bottom half of rankings for comparable nations. While such sobering facts inform her new book, the author focuses on the successes of effective school systems in the U.S. and abroad in order to develop a clear and coherent set of policies that can be used to create high-quality and equitable schools. Drawing on her broad experience, Darling-Hammond examines the roots of our modern education system and shows how the skills required for our 21st-century global economy cannot be learned in traditional education systems, which have been in place since the early 1900s. She identifies an "opportunity gap" that has evolved as new kinds of learning have become necessary - a gap where low-income students, students of color, and English language learners often do not have the same access as others to qualified teachers, high-quality curriculum, and well-resourced classrooms. After setting the stage on current conditions in the United States, Darling-Hammond offers a coherent approach for effective reform that focuses on creating successful systems, inducting and supporting quality teachers, designing effective schools, establishing strong professional practice, and providing equitable and sufficient resources. The Flat World and Education lays out what the United States needs to do in order to build a system of high-achieving and equitable schools that ensures every child the right to learn.

Darling-Hammond is the Charles E. Ducommun Professor of Education at Stanford University, a chief education advisor to President Obama, Co-Director of the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education, and Founding Director of the School Redesign Network at Stanford.

A Library Journal Best Book of 2015

National Book Award winner Jonathan Kozol is best known for his fifty years of work among our nation’s poorest and most vulnerable children. Now, in the most personal book of his career, he tells the story of his father’s life and work as a nationally noted specialist in disorders of the brain and his astonishing ability, at the onset of Alzheimer’s disease, to explain the causes of his sickness and then to narrate, step-by-step, his slow descent into dementia.
 
Dr. Harry Kozol was born in Boston in 1906. Classically trained at Harvard and Johns Hopkins, he was an unusually intuitive clinician with a special gift for diagnosing interwoven elements of neurological and psychiatric illnesses in highly complicated and creative people. “One of the most intense relationships of his career,” his son recalls, “was with Eugene O’Neill, who moved to Boston in the last years of his life so my father could examine him and talk with him almost every day.” At a later stage in his career, he evaluated criminal defendants including Patricia Hearst and the Boston Strangler, Albert H. DeSalvo, who described to him in detail what was going through his mind while he was killing thirteen women.
 
But The Theft of Memory is not primarily about a doctor’s public life. The heart of the book lies in the bond between a father and his son and the ways that bond intensified even as Harry’s verbal skills and cogency progressively abandoned him. “Somehow,” the author says, “all those hours that we spent trying to fathom something that he wanted to express, or summon up a vivid piece of seemingly lost memory that still brought a smile to his eyes, left me with a deeper sense of intimate connection with my father than I’d ever felt before.”
 
Lyrical and stirring, The Theft of Memory is at once a tender tribute to a father from his son and a richly colored portrait of a devoted doctor who lived more than a century.


From the Hardcover edition.
   In this powerful and culminating work about a group of inner-city children he has known for many years, Jonathan Kozol returns to the scene of his prize-winning books Rachel and Her Children and Amazing Grace, and to the children he has vividly portrayed, to share with us their fascinating journeys and unexpected victories as they grow into adulthood.

   For nearly fifty years Jonathan has pricked the conscience of his readers by laying bare the savage inequalities inflicted upon children for no reason but the accident of being born to poverty within a wealthy nation. A winner of the National Book Award, the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award, and countless other honors, he has persistently crossed the lines of class and race, first as a teacher, then as the author of tender and heart-breaking books about the children he has called “the outcasts of our nation’s ingenuity.” But Jonathan is not a distant and detached reporter. His own life has been radically transformed by the children who have trusted and befriended him.

   Never has this intimate acquaintance with his subjects been more apparent, or more stirring, than in Fire in the Ashes, as Jonathan tells the stories of young men and women who have come of age in one of the most destitute communities of the United States. Some of them never do recover from the battering they undergo in their early years, but many more battle back with fierce and, often, jubilant determination to overcome the formidable obstacles they face. As we watch these glorious children grow into the fullness of a healthy and contributive maturity, they ignite a flame of hope, not only for themselves, but for our society.
 
   The urgent issues that confront our urban schools – a devastating race-gap, a pathological regime of obsessive testing and drilling students for exams instead of giving them the rich curriculum that excites a love of learning – are interwoven through these stories. Why certain children rise above it all, graduate from high school and do well in college, while others are defeated by the time they enter adolescence, lies at the essence of this work.

   Jonathan Kozol is the author of Death at an Early Age, Savage Inequalities, and other books on children and their education. He has been called “today’s most eloquent spokesman for America’s disenfranchised.” But he believes young people speak most eloquently for themselves; and in this book, so full of the vitality and spontaneity of youth, we hear their testimony.
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