Saturday, August 27, 2005

#9: Jonathan Kozol

Goldberg describes education writer Jonathan Kozol as someone who has lectured for decades on public education standards, specifically promoting the idea that children should become critics of America. According to Goldberg, Kozol views the education system as brainwashing, and that children should be counter-brainwashed by being skeptical of authority. Ironically, to Goldberg, Kozol draws much of his inspiration from the educational systems of Cuba and China. All of this activity has made Kozol, according to Goldberg "the patron saint of today's powerful liberal education establishment."

THE REAL JONATHAN KOZOL
Born into one of Goldberg's hated affluent Jewish families (see Krugman,#8), Kozol has made a practice of leaving comfortable surroundings for more challenging, impoverished areas. He enjoyed teaching young children and eventually got a job in the public school system in Roxbury teaching fourth grade. Thereafter, Kozol spent most of his adult life teaching, speaking, and writing about the conditions and problems of urban youth. Kozol's first book, Death at an Early Age (1967), a devastating chronicle of children he met during his first year of teaching, won the National Book Award. Rachel and Her children (1988), a study of homeless families, won the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award. His most recent book, Amazing Grace (1995), which appeared on the New York Times best-seller list for several months, takes place in the South Bronx, the poorest Congressional district in the U.S. Kozol has said, "Of all my books, Amazing Grace means the most to me. It took the most out of me and was hardest to write because it was the hardest to live through those experiences. I felt it would initially be seen as discouraging but, ultimately, sensitive readers would see the resilient and transcendent qualities of children and some mothers in the book-that it would be seen as a book about the elegant theology of children. That's what happened finally. The most moving comments about it also pointed to its moral and religious texture."

A blogger I found put his finger on Goldberg's targeting of this defender of the poorest and most helpless of Americans -- the children -- perfectly:
"I’ve never heard anyone breathe a negative word about the man previously, but clearly Kozol slighted Bernie at a cocktail party at some point in the 80s and he hasn’t forgiven him.”

Goldberg 77 sees a slightly different -- and uglier -- pattern emerging. What Bernard Goldberg hates most is Jewish men, born into privilege, who give up their privileged positions to advance the claims of people less powerful than themselves.
As the New Testament says "For everyone to whom much is given, of him shall much be required." -- Luke 12:48. A little Freud anyone? Could our Bernie be feeling just a teensy bit guilty about his own selfish, vulgar ways?

4 Comments:

Blogger Heraldblog said...

Thanks for doing this, Linda. Bernie has a sizeable following on the right, and I'm delighted to see that someone with your intelligence and humor is willing to take on Goldberg's smears. I'll be checking back every day.

5:33 PM  
Blogger republicans are idiots said...

I read Kozol's Savage Inequalities once, about the way separate but unequal education persists in America, mainly through the way education is funded in the US. The book was written in the latter part of the 1980's, I think, and nothing has changed since then.

12:57 PM  
Blogger Education realist said...

Sorry folks, but Kozol is just another ideologue who thinks that if you give everybody a clean desk, a new book and spend another gazzilion dollars, the learning will just go through the roof. His rational is about the same as saying if you build a new stadium, and get a great coach, your team is going to start winning! It's irrelevant whether or not your players have any desire to win or talent to back it up. I taught high school for 7 years here in Kentucky (ironically, we're the state that Kozol says is the most integrated). Here in Louisille, we have an average of about 98,000 students in k-12. We've started busing students in 1975, and since that time every school in the district has had no less than 15% Black students and no more than 50% Black students. Same schools, same teachers, same books ect. Guess what? Test gaps remain the same. No change! We've had intergration, desegragation, busing, affirmative action, and what's the new flavors of the month? Reparations and White Privilage? Better start looking elsewhere for the problem folks, or we'll spend another gazzilion and be talking about the same gaps 10 years from now, and trying to find another imaginary boogeyman to blame. Schools are only as good as the people who occupy them, and that INCLUDES the students.

10:29 AM  
Blogger Education realist said...

Make that "Louisville", not Louisille.

4:04 PM  

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