The Shame of the Nation: A Summary, and Analysis

Jonathan Kosol’s curiosity for instructing career and activism was triggered after the killing of three younger civil rights activists in Mississippi in June of 1964 whereas he was working as a grade 4 public faculty intern instructor in Boston, Massachusetts. His expertise as a instructor in certainly one of Boston’s city segregated colleges gave him an perception to the plight of youngsters of minorities, which motivated him to handle the difficulty of segregation, and inequities that exist in public colleges that has continued to plague the nation until the current day.

Faculty Segregation

In line with him, he visited roughly 60 colleges in 30 districts in 11 totally different states. Most of his visits have been within the South Bronx of New York Metropolis, Los Angeles – California, Chicago, Detroit – Michigan, Ohio, Seattle – Washington, Boston – Massachusetts and Milwaukee. Within the colleges he visited, he observes that the circumstances have grown worse for inner-city youngsters within the 15 years since federal courts started dismantling the landmark ruling in Brown v. Board of Schooling. He notes that the variety of white college students in city public colleges have more and more declined with the shifting sample of white center class households from city to suburban communities for the reason that 1960’s (white flight). He talks of the irony of faculty inhabitants in relation to the leaders of integration, which the faculties bear their names, like Thurgood Marshal Elementary Faculty in Seattle Washington with 95% minority college students. In line with him, the overwhelming majority of scholars in city public colleges in america are college students of shade. In Detroit for instance, 95% of scholars in public faculty are both black or Hispanic. In Chicago, the determine is 87%, Washington is 94% whereas New York is 75%. He identified the cynicism within the “The small faculty initiative” just like the Middle Faculty in Seattle that was perceived as a “tie-breaker” of faculty segregation that “attracted 83% white and 6% black enrollment when it opened in 2001, in a metropolis the place whites are solely 40% of highschool college students district-wide”. (p 277). In evaluating the Middle Faculty with African/American Academy in one other part of the town the place black college students make up 93% and whites make up 3% of the enrolment, the situation of the middle faculty and its curriculum affords many alternatives to college students. “The Middle faculty which is sited in a cultural advanced often known as the Seattle Middle, affords a formidable educational program to organize its graduates for school whereas additionally supplies a wide selection of alternatives for college kids to take part in science initiatives, theatrical productions, music, ballet, and different cultural actions”, (p.278) whereas such alternatives are missing within the African-American Academy. “The varsity in a way represents a neighborhood model of ‘your individual Liberia ‘… the African American Academy is utilizing a extremely directive technique of instruction that, in some respects resembles the method utilized in Success for All” (p. 279). He argues that after many years of persistent wrestle towards faculty segregation by educators and civil proper activists, social and financial insurance policies have continued to assist the rising development of faculty segregation.


Kozol laments the shortage of primary assets and facilities within the city public colleges – restrooms, clear classroom, hallways; acceptable laboratory provides, up-to-date books in good situation and classroom provides and materials. In line with him, this lack of assets strikes some lecturers to spend between $500 -$1000 of their very own cash each educational 12 months to buy the provides and supplies within the case of Winton Place elementary faculty in Ohio. He argues the overcrowding of scholars in a classroom. As an illustration in Chicago, it is not unusual to see lecture rooms with as many as 54 college students coupled with the truth that many of the lecturers are unqualified.

Kozol additionally factors out the difficulty of lack of pre-school alternatives for numerous college students as a result of the federally funded head begin packages have been denied them. He additionally reveals the disparity for cash spent on a scholar, and its impact on state testing. Within the case of New York State, the common spending on a scholar within the metropolis is $8,000 whereas that of the suburb is $18,000. Additionally in New York, the inequities in expenditure between 2002 and 2003 are: NYC $11,627, Nassau County $22,311, Nice Neck $19,705. The salaries of lecturers in poor and rich faculty districts observe the identical sample. Whereas the common wage of faculty lecturers in poor communities is $43,00, the wage of lecturers within the suburb like Rye, Manhurst and Scarsdale in New York ranges from $74,00 to $81,000. Even the difficulty of fundraising is an element within the disparities amongst colleges in poor and rich communities. Whereas colleges in rich neighborhoods may increase as much as $200,000, colleges in poor districts may solely increase $4,000.

Adaptive Technique Curriculum

Kozol questions the rationale behind the scripted packages that has been tailored into the minority faculty system. “Genuine Writing”, Energetic Listening”, “Rubric for Submitting”, “Accountable Discuss”, “Zero Noise” and so forth., in keeping with lecturers account, they’re meant to observe the scripted lesson to convey formality and construction to the educational setting which raises the nervousness ranges of each college students and lecturers. The excessive normal language and better expectations with little assist, has taken over the ethical and moral values that use to be the integral a part of the curriculum. In line with Kozol, the “auto -hypnotic slogans” utilized by most faculties has change into a part of the day by day rituals and practices which are original to spice up college students ethical. College students from the under-performing colleges are inspired to memorize phrases like “I’m good”, “I’m assured” to lift their self-confidence and educational efficiency. This in keeping with him has shaped the framework used to figuring out the causes of the under-achievement of scholars of shade. He argues that lecturers are handled as “effectivity technicians” who’re inspired to make use of “strict Skinnerian controls” to handle and train college students of their lecture rooms, and whose job it’s to pump some “added-value” into undervalued youngsters. (p. 285)

In shut semblance to the above is the business-like outlook “work associated themes” that’s being created in these colleges, “market pushed lecture rooms”, “signal contract”, “take possession of their studying”, “pencil supervisor”, “classroom supervisor”, “constructing managers”, “studying managers” and so forth. This type of company outlook portrays college students as “belongings,” “investments,” ‘productive items,” or “workforce participant” in keeping with Kozol. The information and expertise, which the scholars purchase, are seen as “commodities” and “merchandise” to be consumed within the “instructional market place.” Kozol argues that instructional administration ought to by no means be equated with manufacturing facility manufacturing line, and advices that “lecturers and principals shouldn’t allow the gorgeous career they’ve chosen to be redefined by those that know far lower than them in regards to the hearts of youngsters.” (p. 299)

Excessive stake testing

The difficulty of instructing for testing has changed the essence of instructing for studying in public colleges. In line with Kozol, “In some colleges, standardized testing begins within the kindergarten. Programs that aren’t included within the excessive stake testing are sometimes not taught any extra or they’re utterly faraway from their faculty curriculum, like arts and music. In some colleges, naptime and/ or recess has been decreased or taken out utterly to permit extra time for the preparation of state standardized check. Even lecturers conferences are geared in the direction of the dialogue of efficient methods to organize college students for quarterly evaluation exams or reviewing state and district requirements. Academics are inspired to attend workshops and conferences regarding the testing to amass extra information on easy methods to combine their teachings to the state testing requirements.

Within the bid of all the academic superficiality imposed on the scholars, they’re additionally tracked and labeled. Labeling the youngsters from stage one (lowest) to stage 5 (highest) locations them into classes supposedly for additional directions. As a substitute of being given enough consideration relating to their labels, it’s used as an outline of their educational stance. “She’s gone all the way down to stage two,” “She’s a stage one.” The difficulty of educational monitoring and labeling in these colleges poses an enormous impediment in creating fairness and democracy in a studying setting. In line with Kozol, studying is taught as “a possession” not one thing one “engages” in. College students are inspired to pick “a profession path” throughout their freshman 12 months, in order to tailor their course work. Nonetheless, there may be little encouragement on the profession path of school schooling. For instance, the case of Mireya who attends Fremont Excessive in Los Angeles, whereas she aspires for a school schooling, she is quite positioned into vocational lessons – stitching and hairdressing. She tells Kozol “I hoped for one thing else.” “Why is it that college students who don’t want what we’d like get a lot extra? And we who want it a lot extra get a lot much less?” She questioned.

In view of all these structured instructing methods imposed on the city public colleges by the executive physique, each lecturers and college students exhibit robotic behaviors with a purpose to obtain the set objectives of the planners. Academics who are inclined to veer out on these stipulations face disciplinary actions and will probably lose their jobs. College students who don’t adhere to the foundations and observe the stipulated sample face the chance of not passing their exams. General, there may be lack of creativity and ingenuity within the classroom. Kozol factors out that it might quite take a reformation than a miracle to set the faculties heading in the right direction once more. He argues that determined colleges can’t be rotated by the arrival of a charismatic, robust speaking principal. “There are a whole bunch of principals in our city colleges who’re genuine heroes… However there’s a distinction between recognizing the accomplishments of in a position faculty officers and advertising and marketing of people as saviors of persistently unequal system”.

Ray of Hope

After questioning and critiquing the re-segregation of city public colleges in America, Kozol identified a couple of colleges, lecturers, principals, directors and human rights activists he had met in the midst of his research that provides hope to the opportunity of faculty integration. In line with him, “Nearly all of the really human components of instructor motivation have been locked out of the market misperceptions that management a lot of schooling coverage at this time. However once we go to the faculties during which these market ideologies have been valiantly resisted, we’re reminded of a set of satisfactions and devotions which are very totally different from those that dominate the current discourse about city schooling.” (p. 297)… “These are the faculties I name “the treasured locations.” They remind us at all times of the attainable.” (p. 300).

He acknowledges the modifications made in most faculty districts since after his visits over three years. At PS 65, a brand new curriculum that focuses on the necessity of the youngsters had been launched. The hand-held timers and scripted lesson plans have been taken out, and precise writings of youngsters are displayed within the partitions. He additionally remembers the efforts of some faculty districts in Milwaukee and Louisville the place faculty leaders have promoted desegregation throughout district strains.

Kozol sees each hope in lecturers and directors like Louis Bedrock (whom he dedicates this e book to), Miss Rosa the retired principal of P.S. 30, Fern Cruz the brand new principal of P.S 65 and others for his or her dedication and persistence in preventing for the best course of schooling for the minority. He additionally acknowledges the contribution of black activists like Congressman Lewis who’ve voiced out publicly and written books that expose the persistence of segregation in America.

In his epilogue, he wrote “A segregated schooling in America is unacceptable”. “Integration is, it nonetheless stays, the purpose value preventing for” (p. 316).

The Disgrace of the Nation: An Evaluation

I discover this e book very revealing, intriguing, insightful, and on the similar time one sided and opinionated, however in summation, it is vitally educative. This e book is an final result of a great ethnographic researcher who not solely places vitality in his work but additionally has ardour within the topics of his work – the scholars. The empirical evaluation of this e book rests within the inequality that’s salient within the American society. Race, class, tradition, gender and financial standing which have shaped the measuring tape of people’ value within the American society have change into the bedrock of the executive our bodies within the formulation of insurance policies. Insurance policies like schooling, housing, revenue and property taxes, transportation and so forth. have been so rigorously formulated to incorporate and exclude some members of the society. These insurance policies in fact favor the dominant group, that are whites and disfavor the focused group which is usually blacks and Hispanic.

It takes a essential thoughts to know the sport within the insurance policies. Taking for example the funding of group city colleges from property taxes from the group, one has to first, consider the character of the properties in such a group, who owns them, what form, and of what worth they’re. If the majorities of these properties are individually owned and are of fine form and worth, the expectation is that they are going to yield good tax for the group. However, when the federal government owns such properties, little could be realized in property tax in such a group, and that in flip impacts the sourcing of the varsity. That is the sport of politics in perpetuating inequality as we have now seen on this e book.

Who would count on that the administration that tends to talk in favor of equal schooling has a hand in making it unequal? That the promulgations of “No Youngster Left Behind” and “Equal Alternative for All” are solely frivolities? Who would think about that some lecturers and schooling directors could possibly be so robotic that they query their ingenuity and creativeness within the face of manipulation, aside from a revealing e book like this? As well as, how can anybody comprehend the injury that has been finished by these administrative inconsistencies over time?

There’s an perception into the social, financial, and cultural capital powers of the society on this e book. Dad and mom who’re extra knowledgeable, educated, with good jobs and higher means have extra say within the schooling of their youngsters than these with little or no schooling and means. They surf for good colleges for his or her youngsters, set up themselves because the guardian our bodies of the varsity, and intervene in issues that aren’t favorable to their youngsters, for example, they increase cash to make use of extra lecturers and advocate for lesser variety of youngsters in a category. They provide you with one voice to exclude others from integrating into their youngsters’s colleges and generally take out their youngsters from a college which are getting extra minority enrolment because the case could also be. They’re much less dependent and more difficult to the varsity administration and authorities than the dad and mom with fewer capitals. The dad and mom of the minority who’ve fewer capitals, complain and rely totally on the varsity administration and authorities to make the required changes of their youngsters’s colleges. The system fosters posterity of household standing.

On this ambiance of stratification, whereas the dominant group acts as much as preserve its standing, and the focused, subordinate poor group agitates its place, the youngsters undergo the wrestle. A wider hole is created between the wealthy and the poor. Whereas the youngsters of the dominant group understand themselves as lucky, they’re much less ‘educated’ than the poor youngsters who see all of it. They face lesser probabilities of integrating and going through realities of multiracial society and as such are much less more likely to accommodate variations in future. However, the minority poor youngsters get extra skeptical and cynical when issues of fairness come up. Within the case of the little Bronx boy who wrote Kozol, “You’ve got all of the issues and we do not have all of the issues,” and the highschool scholar from California who instructed his classmate “You are ghetto, so that you sew.” The disparities of their instructional experiences increase innumerable questions of their heads, which solely the federal government can comprehend in that whereas their dad and mom could also be ‘responsible’ of not possessing the where-withal, the scholars are harmless. Kozol’s research goes to foretell that going by the current tempo in instructional technique in America, inequality will persist; integration will likely be minimized, and desegregation won’t solely be a nightmare in colleges however can be nipped within the bud within the society in future if they aren’t addressed now. He goes to say, “This nation must be a household, and a household sits down for its dinner at a desk, and all of us deserve a spot collectively at that desk.”

Having enumerated the classical work of Kozol in diagnosing the blatant, ugly passionate inequities in our public city colleges that plagues America at this time, I have to level out the one-sided, opinionated view of the difficulty. In a scenario as this, nobody particular person could be all proper and the opposite all unsuitable, there must be a steadiness of ‘a bit to proper and a bit to the left’. In all the e book, Kozol addresses the structural method to instructional inequality that sees the varsity and authorities administration because the issue that has perpetuated the issue, little suspicion if any, of the cultural method to the discourse with dad and mom and college students contribution. Although there have been a couple of mentions of all white public colleges, there was little emphasis on their interactions, although one would possibly argue that they’ve all the required facilities obtainable for them compared to the minority colleges which have little facilities.

I name this one sided and opinionated within the sense that the themes of the matter visa vie poor minority dad and mom and their youngsters, are usually not addressed as potential enter to the issue and as such potential contributory elements to the answer. If in a capitalist society like America the place alternative is laid down for everybody for grabs, the ‘majority’ of the minority group retains complaining of marginalization of assets, there’s a drawback someplace regardless of imposed limitations. The issue could possibly be in derivation of consolation in dependency or reliability on false sense of safety. The core phrase is worth. Just about the dad and mom, a lot of them rely on the system and can’t stroll their methods out to independence and instill that worth of independence of their youngsters. A tradition of poverty has developed amongst this minority group they usually appear very comfy in such a zone. So who makes the additional cash for his or her youngsters’s consolation?

The youngsters as effectively because of lack of position fashions from their dad and mom, don’t deem it match to attempt and conquer the inevitable, they embrace violence they usually carry on finger pointing like their dad and mom as an alternative of realizing that schooling not agitation is their solely entry to excessive standing within the society. I imagine {that a} give attention to re-orienting the youngsters of the minority group in exploring instructional alternatives regardless of the restrictions they face would assist in getting them again heading in the right direction. However, if they need to be contented, respectful, curtail violence, and love themselves, that may entice extra empathy to them from no matter administration that’s in place and they are often in their very own colleges with none white and really feel good simply the identical. Understandably, the structural method usually instances form the cultural, which is unstable based mostly on financial assets that yields self-support and autonomy.


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