Study Guide for The Shame of the Nation: The Restoration of Apartheid Schooling in America (2005) by Jonathan Kozol
Fourth Reading Assignment (pp.161-214)
Chapter 7 “Excluding Beauty” (161-186)
Summary: In his travels around the country visiting urban schools, Kozol began to apply a ‘misery index’ to measure the problems he observed in our 'dual school system':
He argued that any measure of a school's performance should have this misery index figured into it, and the government should be required to bring these schools physically up to par with schools from more affluent districts.
Kozol found the worst conditions in California whose school funding levels have been radically cut at the same time that immigration has peaked. He found the schools there so crowded that temporary trailers cover recess facilities, the school day has been halved, and the school year runs through the summer. Kozol’s conclusion was that a new cycle of discrimination has begun: the same second-class citizenship which blacks have endured for a century has now been extended in this new century to Hispanics and South Asians.
Despite the bleak picture Kozol draws of conditions in urban
schools, he could find good teachers working effectively with students
wherever he went, and some schools, like one in Lexington
Kentucky, seemed to be succeeding despite the odds. Even with limited
financial resources, Russell Elementary School has been
by race, art and music are emphasized, and lesson
plans are inspired, not by “No Child Left Behind”, but by Howard
Gardner’s theory about the many different ways that kids learn.