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Posted October 23, 2005
Troubling Liberalism! Major Distortion!
Kozol's earlier books, Death at an Early Age and Savage Inequalities, are poignant, scathing attacks about the challenges certain youths face in American public education. If the reader hopes this book will be the same, then he or she will be sadly mistaken. Number one problem: Kozol talks about the injustices of the Reagan administration. Then we leap to 1991/2 and discuss Bush Sr. and how he further eroded the gains of segregation this leads to the diatribe against the current president. While it is fair to level criticism, the analysis suffers a major flaw: the entire Clinton presidency is NOT mentioned (indeed, the author would think that there was no Clinton). This was obviously done to distort what is happening while focusing on Republican presidents. Troubling and downright untruthful to gloss over an entire eight year period. WHY? Kozol starts page 39 with an eight year old questioning her class standing in society. Where, oh where, did this eight year old suffer an epiphany that made her class conscious? Ridiculous, to say the least, and what makes the book much less interesting from earlier Kozol works: too few and authentic children narratives. While I could go on and on, there are several other claims. He says that kids would be better off if more went to pre-school (research says that kids are better off with their parents and any achievement results are ephemeral), the accountability movement is too stiffling (might be true, but what about movements by high-end schools that embraced this years ago through Jacobs' Curriculum Mapping), and that the government needs to fix the problem (once again, this absolves the individual of responsibility and is another attempt to destroy local control of education). We do not need a socialist state! Besides, controlling for SES and family structure, race in most research studies are inclusive about the results of integration. Also, Kozol forgets that NCLB was also sponsored by Teddy Kennedy (until the NEA came out against it).
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Posted February 11, 2009
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