Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Savage Inequalities - Social Justice Event

           In my ECED 290 class we read and discussed chapter two from Savage Inequalities by Jonathan Kozol.  This article talked about the inequalities of schools and how the poverty levels play a big role in creating inequality.  Kozol focuses on the people of Chicago, and starts by describing what the environment is like in the city.  Kozol states, “According to the 1980 census, 58 percent of men and women 17 and older in North Lawndale had no jobs.   The 1990 census is expected to show no improvement.  Between 1960 and 1970, as the last white families left the neighborhood, North Lawndale lost three quarters of its jobs.  In the next ten years, 80 percent of the remaining jobs in manufacturing were lost” (pg. 42).  Many of these people are without jobs, this lead to some people losing their house.  This all affects the cities taxes which then affects the amount of funding that the schools receive. These schools do not have sufficient funds because there are no businesses nearby and many people are homeless or living in apartments, so the property tax going into the city is very low.

This article connects to Amazing Grace, because in Savage Inequalities Kozol talks about how children in Chicago are also being trapped in this cycle. In Savage Inequalities Kozol states that, “Reading levels are the lowest in the poorest schools” (pg. 58).  The cycle keeps the poor people poor, and many times a lot is not expected of them therefore their education is lacking.  Education is not equal across the board because many times these children have bad teachers, if they have a teacher at all. Most of the time teachers will call out or there is just no teacher for the class because they quit.  Then Kozol talks about one teacher, Corla Hawkins, who goes above and beyond the call of duty for her students.   This teacher is helping these children get out or the cycle.  Hawkins is changing the atmosphere that the students learn in.  Which connects to In Service of What? by Kahne and Westheimer, because she is performing surgery and not just changing the Band-Aid.
This reading also connects to What to Look for in a Classroom by Alfie Kohn.  Kohn talks about signs to look for in a good classroom and signs that are possible reasons to worry.  Kozol states, “The room is sparse: a large and clean but rather cheerless space.  There are very few of those manipulable objects and bright-colored shelves and boxes that adorn suburban kindergarten classrooms.  The only decorations on the walls are posters supplied by companies that market school materials: “Winter,” “Spring,” “Summer,” “Autumn,” “Zoo Animals,” “Community Helpers.”  Nothing the children or teacher made themselves” (pg. 44).  This is exactly what Kohn says not to do.  Alfie Kohn says that in a good learning environment there is student work hanging up.  Also the teacher will have handmade posters hanging up. 

          Store Bought
                                                                                                      Teacher Made

I feel that this article also connects to Kliewer and the idea that students should not be separated in order to get quality education.  Kliewer states that, “Success in life requires an ability to form relationships with others who make up the web of community.  Though many of us have a certain level of control over who we meet and interact with, none of us can come close to claiming complete control.  So we must learn to work with others, and this holds true whether we ultimately are destined…We have got to learn to get along as individuals and as citizens” (pg. 73 and 74).  In order to be successful in life we need to build relationships with other people, so to do this we must work with others work are different.  So this connects to Savage Inequalities because having a separate school for the poor children, for the children with special needs, and for the “normal” children is not going to help them in any way.  As a society we need to learn how to get along with one another. 


This video picks out a lot of important quotes from chapter one of Savage Inequalities.


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