The shame of the nation (Jonathan Kozol) essay

Jonathan Kozol is the writer, educator and simply active person. His books are based on his own practice, experience and opinion. He has worked as a teacher first in a freedom school and later in a public elementary school. Kozol has visited 60 schools, in 30 school districts, in 11 states, before writing of The shame of the nation.  It is good, because the problem of the system of education in the USA can not be solved only by theoretical aspects. He exposes hypocrisy of our educational policy. As we know, when our country has become independent, our position was “separate but equal”. Is it actually today? What’s really happening now? Kozol describes in his book, that acceptance of schools is separate but unequal, unfortunately. In the introduction he notices:   “No matter how complex the reasons that have brought us to the point at which we stand, we have, it seems, been traveling a long way to a place of ultimate surrender that does not look very different from the place where some of us began”.

The main problems in the sphere of education are segregation, separation in the urban schools from his point of view. In his book, we can find many forms and examples of segregation. It is said to be as if you have been put in a garage where, if they do not have room for something but are not sure if they should throw it out, they put it there where they do not need to think of it again. Kozol has specified the reasons, which resulted to this negative situation in these schools. One of them is insufficient financial support of urban schools and their students (mainly from a poor families and national minorities) in comparison with suburban schools, where material and technical base is developed and the parents of their students are more well-to-do. But in urban schools the classrooms need repair, educational apartments are overcrowded. It is obvious, there are 20 students in classrooms is normal for the study of school programs.

Another serious problem, describing in The shame of the nation, is that the increasing emphasis on testing renders negative influence on the level of education in the schools for the poor and minorities. In these schools they spend much trouble on preparation to the tests in mathematics and another mathematical disciplines and that’s why such disciplines as history, geography, biology and another natural sciences are studied in a speed-up rate. I have many questions after reading this book. What is it? Qui prodest?  It suddenly occurred to me, it is a racism hiding after the backs of our students. Why Afro-Americans, students from poor families, minorities must go to work in factory, become hairdressers, workers, seamstresses, only because they have no money or they have another color of the skin? Our state, government and people must give them a chance, they don’t need something more. Nowadays, the shame of the nation is hypocritical policy of education and especially the people, who have a great influence in the sphere of education. My point of view is that who can change this unfair system doesn’t want, who wants has no possibility. In conclusion, I’d like saying that our educational system is in need of change. Consequently, tests are convenient, but it is not an index of student’s knowledges.

Leave a Reply