The Shame of the Nation by Jonathan Kozol
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 Jonathan Kozol

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

Author Residence: Byfield, MA
Published September 13, 2005 by Broadway Books. 432 pages
Genres: Education & Reference. Non-fiction

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Sep 13 2005 | Read Full Review of The Shame of the Nation: The ...

Kirkus Reviews

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If you want to see a segregated school, reports National Book Award–winning author Kozol (Amazing Grace, 1995, etc.), then “start by looking for a school that’s named for Martin Luther King or Rosa Parks.” Whereas affluent parents are given to putting their children into preschools at the age of ...

Sep 13 2005 | Read Full Review of The Shame of the Nation: The ...

The New York Times

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(I should say that I once opposed the use of the word "segregation" to cover both the state-imposed separation of the races in the South and the concentration of minority students in schools outside the South, which arises for a number of reasons, but that is a lost cause - today we use "segregat...

Sep 25 2005 | Read Full Review of The Shame of the Nation: The ...

Publishers Weekly

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Public school resegregation is a ""national horror hidden in plain view,"" writes former educator turned public education activist Kozol (Savage Inequalities, Amazing Grace).

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We need a young Rosa Parks to stand up and say “I’m not sitting in a school that is more like a prison than a school.

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Bookmarks Magazine

This de facto segregation, or "apartheid education," results from economic inequalities that have allowed affluent families to enroll their children in private schools or move them to posh public schools in the suburbs, leaving behind poor, mostly minority students in grossly underfunded urban sc...

Oct 15 2007 | Read Full Review of The Shame of the Nation: The ...

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