Monday, September 09, 2013

Considering Kozol

On Thursday my HON 479 students began discussing Jonathan Kozol's The Shame of the Nation, a book I first read in conjunction with Kozol's visit to UNC Asheville back in 2006. A scathing indictment of America's apartheid-like public school system, Kozol advocates for dramatic changes in the form, function, and funding of our public schools.

Our discussion on the book was far-reaching and often diffuse, motivated by students' reflection on their own elementary school experiences. With the hope of identifying some more coherent topics for conversation this coming Tuesday, I asked students to submit a topic on which they'd like to see our discussion focus tomorrow. Below are the responses I received.

I would like to talk more about the importance of teaching things in schools that are not as academic and intellectual (art, music, dance, etc.) and why this is important in every school.

whether or not the government is obligated to implement policies that promote equity or just to avoid implementing policies that deter equity.

Who is responsible/accountable for changing and integrating the public school system?

Kozol puts the blame on gov't, teachers and administrators. Are kids/parents to blame?

Ideas on how to fix the problem.

I would like to hear about how racial diversity affects edu.

White privilege.

The issue concerning the national level. What we could do as a whole?

Private funding in rural vs. urban/city areas and how it would/does differentiate

Idea of the tracks that [one of the other students in class] brought up that he [Kozol] hinted at regarding management positions.

The influence of corporate culture on education and what it does to childen

Obviously, the situation for students in these schools is grim, but what about the teachers? Is there anything they can do?

"No Child Left Behind"


The industrialization of schools and schools as job training

What can we (as college students, not as government officials or parents) do to change this for the better?

standardize testing / use of Skinner's theory

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