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Savage inequalities : children in America's schools

by Jonathan Kozol

  Book  |  1st ed

Savage Inequalities: Children in America's Schools   (2012-01-23)

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by wppalmer

Review of `Savage Inequalities: Children in America's Schools' by Jonathan Kozol published by HarperCollins of New York in 1992.

Reviewer Dr W. P. Palmer

I am reviewing this book more than ten years since I read it, as it was formative in my thinking and teaching about the education system in the United States of America. Anyone who has taught for a time in any nation on earth knows of the huge inequalities throughout education systems. Over the past fifty years, I have taught in schools or have been involved in administration in education systems of the following countries, United Kingdom, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea, Australia, Samoa and Tanzania. Yet in spite of this experience of inequality, I was shocked by the revelation of the deep divide in American education caused by the extremes of wealth and poverty which Kozol exposes in the American education system of the 1990s.

It is good that Kozol is not entirely negative about this divide, and he gives numerous instances of teachers who made a difference, contrary to the view, that schools do not have any effect on society. His thesis is backed up by examples of the amounts spent per child comparing rich and poor schools. The classroom conditions in the poorest schools are distressing for such a wealthy country. Nonetheless differences between what rich countries and poor countries spend per child on education are even greater and the education of the poorest worldwide, wherever they live should also concern Americans.

This reviewer hopes that the passage of time and this expose written nearly twenty years may have improved the situation, but educational change can be very slow. An update to this book would be useful.

BILL PALMER




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