In a nation of such abundance, why do so many children go without a decent education? What are the true costs of childhood poverty, and why does the American political system seem incapable of addressing them? One of America’s most tireless and influential advocates for public education and social justice, Jonathan Kozol has spent his career fighting — and that really is the word: fighting — to keep these questions alive in the popular imagination and in political discourse. His presentations are a searing expose of the tragedy of childhood poverty and sub-standard education. But they also develop in audiences a deeper understanding, and contain an arsenal of practical solutions to address the rights and the needs of children.
Jonathan Kozol’s first book, Death at an Early Age: The Destruction of the Hearts and Minds of Negro Children in the Boston Public Schools, won the National Book Award, and has sold over two million copies. His book Illiterate America made public the debate on adult illiteracy. In 1985, he spent a year working in a homeless shelter, and his resulting book, Rachel and Her Children gave voice to the people living in desperate poverty and to the tragic death of an 8-month old child. Amazing Grace: The Lives of Children and the Conscience of a Nation, shed light on the poorest district of America, the South Bronx of New York, and was featured on the Oprah Winfrey show in 1995. His other books include Savage Inequalities,Ordinary Resurrections and 2007’s Letters to a Young Teacher. Kozol’s most recent book, The Shame of the Nation was his strongest, most disturbing work to date: a powerful piece exposing dramatic racial isolation in over 60 inner-city schools.
Kozol is the founder of Education Action, a non-profit dedicated to grassroots organizing of teachers across the country who wish to help create a single, excellent, unified system of American public schools.
Co-sponsored with the Alexa Fullerton Hampton Speaker Series: Voice and Vision, Scripps College; and the Munroe Center for Social Inquiry at Pitzer College.