The Shame of the Nation: Overview
“The Shame of The Nation: The Restoration of Apartheid Schooling in America,” is a book that tells the story of author, Jonathan Kozol’s, journey through the public school system. He looks deeper into inner-city, low-income schools and the re-segregation that has taken place. Kozol focuses on the struggles those children of poor and minorities face while trying to achieve equal education as those of the middle and upper class. This book gives a vivid description of what is happening in schools across the country and our failure as a nation to provide ALL students with the education that they deserve through the observations, interviews, and experiences of author Jonathan Kozol. Through this book he tries to shed light on what is really going on in schools across the nation and what most people are not aware of. “Many Americans I meet who live far from our major cities and who have no first-hand knowledge of realities in urban public schools seem to have a rather vague and general impression that the great extremes of racial isolation they recall as matters of grave national significance some 35 to 40 years ago have gradually, but steadily, diminished in more recent years (Kozol 18).”
“One of the most disheartening experiences for those who grew up in the years when Martin Luther King and Thurgood Marshall were alive is to visit public schools today that bear their names, or names of other honored leaders of the integration struggles that produced the temporary progress that took place in three decades after Brown, and to find how many of these schools are bastions of contemporary segregation (Kozol 22).” As the book begins, Kozol examines the current state of segregation in urban schools that he visits across the U.S. Kozol refers to the previous quote to elucidate on the most segregated schools being named after affluent desegregation activists. Through these school visits, Kozol finds that segregation of children in public schools obviously goes deeper than race. Finances, facilities, academic opportunities, and much more are not equal. “Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal (Kozol 29).”
A reoccurring theme in all the schools he visits as Kozol states is " I simply never see white children" (Kozol 10). While this does not necessarily indicate the presence of experienced teachers and useful resources at a school, as Kozol notes, "letting them go to schools where all their classmates are not black and brown and poor, and children and grandchildren of the poor, but where healthy confidence that one can learn is rooted in the natural assumptions of Americans who haven’t been laid waste by history (Kozol 36)” would reduce the damage that is done to them. Students need the opportunity to experience different cultures and values and relate it to that of their own. Teachers need to have the same opportunity to be able to view life through other perspectives.
…..”Many have been...