Shame of the Nation: Unequal Schooling

MON, OCT 24, 2005 (1:29:01)

Jonathan Kozol documents the reappearance of separate and unequal schooling in our nation’s educational system. Gary Orfield of The Civil Rights Project at Harvard responds and moderates the discussion. This event is cosponsored by the Cambridge Forum and the Graduate School of Education at Harvard University.

+ BIO: Jonathan Kozol

In 1964 Jonathan Kozol began work as a teacher in low-income, predominately black Roxbury, first in a freedom school and later in a public elementary school. He grew up in Newton, was educated at Harvard and a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford. His first published nonfiction, Death at an Early Age: The Destruction of the Hearts and Minds of Negro Children in the Boston Public Schools (1967) winner of the National Book Award, drew upon his experiences as a fourth-grade teacher. The practice of immersing himself in the lives of his subjects became the pattern for his subsequent searing studies of the injustices a wealthy society visits upon its most vulnerable members. A commission to study the problem of adult literacy resulted in Illiterate American (1980). In Rachel and Her Children: Homeless Families in America (1988) Kozol examines the stunted lives of people deprived of the raw necessities. Savage Inequalities (1991) details the differences between schools in affluent neighborhoods and those attended by the children of the poor. In 1995 Kozol produced another study, this time based on first-hand experience among schoolchildren in the South Bronx: Amazing Grace: The Lives of Children and the Conscience of a Nation. Ordinary Resurrections: Children in the Years of Hope (2001) revisits the courageous and resilient children of the South Bronx.

+ BIO: Gary Orfield

Professor Orfield received his B.A. in political science from the University of Minnesota and his M.A. and Ph.D from the University of Chicago. He is primarily interested in the study of civil rights, education policy, urban policy, and minority opportunity. He was co-founder and director of the Harvard Civil Rights Project and is now co-director of the Civil Rights Project/Proyecto Derechos Civiles at UCLA. Orfield’s central interest has been the development and implementation of social policy, with a central focus on the impact of policy on equal opportunity for success in American society. Orfield received the 2007 “Social Justice in Education” Award by the American Educational Research Association for “work that has had a profound impact on demonstrating the critical role of education research in supporting social justice.” He is a member of the National Academy of Education. Professor Orfield, together with Professor Patricia Gondara, co-director of the Civil Rights Project, received two new research grants since June 2007. The first initiative, funded by the Eleanor Foundation of Chicago, is entitled, “The Future Rests on Working Moms: Unequal Opportunity and Policies to Help Them Realize Their Dreams for Their Children.” The second study, funded by the Ford Foundation, is called “Breaking the Chain of Failure: Moving from Weak High Schools to Strong Community Colleges for Students of Color.”

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