Presentation on theme: "Savage Inequalities By Jonathan Kozol. Understand Kozol’s depiction of the inequalities of education within the poorest schools, and the wealthier suburban."— Presentation transcript:
Savage Inequalities By Jonathan Kozol
Understand Kozol’s depiction of the inequalities of education within the poorest schools, and the wealthier suburban communities. Consider educational opportunity between schools when Kozol completed his study. Consider the types of inequalities and issues exist between Chicago public schools and those of the surrounding area. Better understand the basis of school funding and implications of this system. Objectives
Between 1988 and 1990, Kozol visited schools in approximately 30 neighborhoods and found that there was a wide disparity in the conditions between the poorest schools (inner cities) and the schools in the wealthy suburban communities. Based on his observations he concluded that many poor children receive an inferior education. The Facts
Kozol examines how these unequal findings of schools relates to social class divisions, institutional and environmental racism, isolation and alienation of students and staff. Within poor schools there is psychical decay of the buildings and health conditions of students.
Kozol has visited many different school districts of both suburban and urban areas. He found that there was a wide difference in those districts. The schools in the urban areas are looked towards more as inferior towards the suburban schools and are in a sense discriminated against. He was at a state of disbelief when he witnessed what has gone on in the two different districts. How can this be possible in all school districts? How can people let things drag to such a level? Is it possible to make things right? Do people even notice this happening? Is it too late to change what is happening?
Does this really happen in America? How did things get so bad? What can we do to fix this? What about equal opportunity for all? With such inferior education, would students be given equal opportunity from the start? Questions raised by Kozol
In his book, he discusses graphic events that have taken place in urban districts. Poverty and education, the cause in affect which makes them unequal Horrible learning environments Suburban districts get more than enough “luxuries” than the urban districts (new computers, new text books) Over crowded classrooms Guards stationed in the lobby of the school Some of the parents make no demands
Discussion Question Draw conclusions on the inequalities between the two districts Give examples from personal experiences
Savage Inequalities The descriptions of white flight and industrialization are at the heart of Kozol’s Savage Inequalities.
White Flight As incomes rise, minorities begin to move into predominately white neighborhoods. Whites, seeing the neighborhood “changing,” move out, taking their “clout” with them. In order to move quickly, people often sell for less than they would otherwise. With lower priced housing available, it is easier for minorities to move into the neighborhood.
White Flight As prices are driven lower, the wealthier of the minorities begin to move out. The cycle continues until the neighborhood is so undesirable that property has little or no value. As property values goes down, so do the taxes generated by that property. With the property tax base gone, there is little money to support the schools.
Industrialization Very often, the companies buy up low value property thus helping to solve two problems for the municipality: (1) in the short-term, removal of a slum or near slum, and (2) in the long-term, the generation of tax dollars from that property. Industries typically seek to keep their tax burden as small as possible and do not often support tax increases for schools in their area.
Kozol, “Other People’s Children” in Savage Inequalities Martin Luther King, Jr., regarded as the most influential and central figure of the Civil Rights Movement, attempted to organize, demonstrate and institute change in Chicago toward the end of his life. Having primarily worked for social change in the Jim Crow South, he would find Chicago to be even more difficult to enact social change.
Kozol, “Other People’s Children” in Savage Inequalities Begins his analysis of the South Side and North Lawndale, Chicago, where a “color tax” and one single bank exists; 58% unemployment as of 1980; white flights and the desertion of industry; gangs and youth fatality; MLK lived in the city but the city demolished it once he moved; 100 infants die a year in such neighborhoods (43); unsympathetic teachers; worn textbooks; the high school for this district has a graduation rate of 38% - 3 of 12 of the kindergarteners he visits ends in prison; for nonwhite students, the eight grade graduation (in Chicago with no junior high school) is the equivalent of the high school graduation in the suburbs; Mrs. Hawkins – described as an effective teacher in adverse conditions, breaks into small groups, “departments,” kids are constantly engaged or busy– and in close contact, working after school hours; the singing of religious songs is curious (50-51) – a way of Kozol describing the desperation? Such conditions contribute to a high drop out rate, which Kozol puts at 50% (54). 10% of school age population dropout before high school, which would put the rate around 60%. In some schools, the dropout rate approaches 90% (58). 27% percent of h.s. graduates read at or below an eighth grade level (58)
Kozol, “Other People’s Children” in Savage Inequalities Kozol suggests that most people agree that “pedagogic problems in our cities are not chiefly matters of injustice, inequality or segregation, but of insufficient information about teaching strategies” (51). For Kozol, the problems that plague our schools are systems and structural, it is not a problem caused by the teachers’ pedagogical issues. The number of teachers over 60 in Chicago is twice that of teachers under 30. On a given day, 5700 teachers in classrooms have no teacher (52).
Kozol, “Other People’s Children” in Savage Inequalities Differences between equity and equality. Equity demands that more resources are needed to address disparity, not simply equal funding. Suburbs, on average, spend over one and a half times more on its students (54). Kozol also looks into the issue of property taxes and school funding. Wealthy suburbs, with wealthier land and property, are receiving higher returns due to federal subsidies. This often puts poorer communities in a position to tax themselves at higher rates, which still yields unequal results (54-55). Especially in a city, which holds a high concentration of tax-free institutions, the property tax will not yield suburban results.
Discussion Question Have you ever felt that when a class was divided it was to your advantage?Have you ever felt that when a class was divided it was to your advantage? Do you think your school district was or is unequal to others?Do you think your school district was or is unequal to others?
Kozol, “Other People’s Children” in Savage Inequalities The property tax is the largest proportion of school funding. While state funding is meant to equalize the spending, this is rarely the case. In Illinois, the wealthiest district will spend nearly 5 times as much on its students (57). “About injustice,” Kozol writes, “most poor children in American cannot be fooled.” The gaps in funding, curriculum and resources between New Trier and inner-city Chicago are particularly striking: at New Trier, students read Nietzsche, Darwin and Plato with an average class size of 24; while at Goudy Elementary, students read out of 15+ year old texts and are rationed paper and no art or music programs. To compound the problem, the high salaries found in the suburbs make it almost impossible to keep good teachers in the city.
Kozol, “Other People’s Children” in Savage Inequalities “Magnet schools” constitute a dual system of education in Chicago, which operates essentially like a private school system. Admissions are selective and require, at times, political connections for entrance (59). Some also see these schools as a compensation for whites for staying in the city. This system, Kozol suggests, is maintained by a notion of “cultural capital” – parents who are better education are in the know about what type of education is legally available. This notion of cultural capital – the education and connections needed to utilize a choice program – directly challenges any equalizing tendencies of any “choice” program. As Kozol points out, it appears to be based on meritocracy, but is predetermined by class and race. People are “prepared to see [poorer children] get their schooling in a metal prefab in a junkyard rather than admit them to the beautiful new school erected for their own kids” (61).
Kozol, “Other People’s Children” in Savage Inequalities “Reforms” most often target superficial structures that do not touch the suburb-city divide. Requests for more equal funding are met with flat rebuttals. Unlikely options – such as reducing class size or expanding early childhood programs (Head Start?) – are not funded. One of his points is that while some funding initiatives are passed, they are ineffective if not part of a larger campaign to stop redlining practices, for instance. Unfortunately, administrators are in a position of dependence on business leaders (those who have voted to reduce funding initially) for resources. The claim is also made that such a dependence forces a corporate agenda/curriculum whose goal is to “train the ghetto children to be good employees” (82). This larger context suggests that education is inextricably linked to race and class, or caste as Kozol sees it.
Kozol, “Other People’s Children” in Savage Inequalities After describing his visits to some schools in inner city Chicago, as well as the storied New Trier high school in a wealthy suburb, Kozol responds to those who have urged us to] settle for ‘realistic’ goals, by which [they] mean the kinds of limited career objectives that seem … fitting for low-income children. [Some business leaders, he says, have held out] truly democratic hopes for these low-income children; but [others have spoken] quite openly of ‘training’ kids like these for nothing better than the entry-level jobs their corporations have available. Urban schools, they argue, should dispense with ‘frills’ and focus on ‘the basics’ needed for employment. Emphasis in the suburban schools... should necessarily... focus upon college preparation.
Kozol, “Other People’s Children” in Savage Inequalities … [A]ccording to this logic... [future service workers need a different... order of investment than the children destined to be corporate executives, physicians, lawyers [and] engineers. Future plumbers and future scientists require different schooling-maybe different schools. … Early testing to assign each child to a ‘realistic’ course of study … is also favored. … Inevitably this thinking must diminish the horizons and the aspirations of poor children, locking them at a very early age into the slots that are regarded as appropriate to their societal position. On its darkest side, it also leads to greater willingness to write off certain children. ‘It doesn't make sense to offer something that most of these urban kids will never use,’ a businessman said to me. ‘No one expects these ghetto kids to go to college. Most of them are lucky if they're even literate … Besides,’ [it follows] ‘these bottom-level jobs exist. They need to be done. Somebody's got to do them.’ It is evident, however, who that somebody will be. There is no sentimentalizing here. No corporate CEO is likely to confess a secret wish to see his children trained as cosmetologists or clerical assistants. So the prerogatives of class and caste are clear.
Implications for teaching Shows signs of discrimination and inequalities of the suburban and urban school districts which make you as a teacher aware of what is taking place Can make observations and try to correct the signs by having the students become more equal to the others Can you as a teacher figure out a way to try to stop the inequality among students as well as school districts?
Objectives Understand Kozol’s depiction of the inequalities of education within the poorest schools, and the wealthier suburban communities. Consider the opportunity of education between schools in the 1990s when Kozol completed his study. Consider the types of inequalities and issues exist between Chicago public schools and those of the surrounding area. Better understand the basis of school funding and implications of this system.