Essay on Savage Inequalities By Jonathan Kozol

Essay on Savage Inequalities By Jonathan Kozol

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Savage Inequalities is a book written by Jonathan Kozol in 1991 that documents the injustices in educational systems of mainly inner-city schools within the United States. He traveled to different cities such as East St. Louis, New York, Chicago, and Camden. A common trend throughout Kozol’s visits is the overcrowded, unhygienic, and understaffed conditions of the schools. Many of the inner-city schools lacked basic materials, textbooks, science lab tools, and even classrooms. Some of the people he conversed with are those who the schools were composed of: principals, teachers, and above all, children. By doing so, Kozol was better able to give an insight into the daily struggles that thousands of students faced. He was also able to capture the glaring inequalities and disparities between low-income and affluent areas.
Kozol visited New York and found many injustices in the school system throughout the city. It was shocking to see such different ways of living of people who live so close yet so far together; people lived with one another between imaginary borders called school districts. One of the infamous characteristics of New York City’s poorest neighborhoods was dental problems among the children. “...they (dental problems) do have the consequence of wearing down the stamina of children and defeating their ambitions. Bleeding gums, impacted teeth and rotting teeth are routine matters for the children I have interviewed in the South Bronx. Children get used to feeling constant pain. They go to sleep with it. They go to school with it. ...The gradual attrition of accepting pain erodes their energy and aspiration” (Kozol 25). This quotation portrays the very poor health conditions that were common among poor areas in New York....


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... growth. If desegregation were an option, it would probably not be well received. The students in Cherry Hill would understandably not want to commute to Camden to receive very poor education. The problem of forcing students to commute to schools when there are much better options seems to be prevalent in some cities in the United States and may even hint at a serious problem of discrimination.
All in all, Kozol brilliantly captured the disparities among inner-city schools in the United States in the late 1980s. His findings, including poor health among children, lack of parental involvement investiture, and segregation, were truly disturbing and shocking to come across. It is great that Kozol was able to shed some light on the many injustices that existed in the public educational system so that all may see and hopefully serve as a catalyst for change in the future.

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