At a time when the racial tensions that divide us have become the focus of urgent and renewed political attention and the glaring inequalities in public education continue to betray the spirit of democracy, Jonathan Kozol’s classic works have drawn him back into the public spotlight once again.
A Rhodes Scholar, former fourth grade teacher, and a passionate advocate for child-centered learning, Jonathan remains one of the most widely read and highly honored education writers in the nation.
His first book, Death at an Early Age, a description of his first year as a teacher, received the National Book Award in Science, Philosophy, and Religion. Among his other major works are Rachel and Her Children, a study of homeless mothers and their children, which received the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award, and Savage Inequalities, which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in 1992. His 1995 best-seller, Amazing Grace: The Lives of Children and the Conscience of a Nation, received the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award in 1996, an honor previously granted to the works of Langston Hughes and Dr. Martin Luther King.
Ten years later, in The Shame of the Nation, a description of conditions that he found in nearly 60 public schools, Jonathan wrote that inner-city children were more isolated racially than at any time since federal courts began dismantling the landmark ruling in Brown v. Board of Education. The Shame of the Nation appeared on The New York Times bestseller list the week that it was published.
Now, in the newest and culminating work of his long career, Jonathan argues that it's well past time to batter down the walls between two separate worlds of education and to make good, at long last, on that "promissory note" that Dr. Martin Luther King described on the steps of the Lincoln memorial in 1963. And, in the concluding chapters of the book, he argues for a sweeping transformation of the structural arrangements that have locked too many children into schools and districts where their young mentalities are shriveled and their hopes and dreams deferred.
Sure to resonate with current-day arguments for reparations in a broad array of areas, this is a book that points us to a more auspicious future in which children learn together, across the lines of class and race, in schools where every child is accorded a full and equal share of the riches in this wealthiest of nations.
Scheduled publication date: April, 2024