Kozol (30 SEPT 2005)

With yet another book published recently, Jonathan Kozol continues to fight a noble battle despite the fact his voice tends to be lost amidst the unintelligible clamor of school boards and parents who still believe that what they are doing is educating the youth of this country. The question one should be asking, however, is whether or not Kozol is barking up the right tree.

Kozol’s answer to the problem he attacks is money. But as we all know, money makes people complacent. The question Kozol has never bothered to ask is whether or not the education he thinks the rich kids are getting is necessarily a good one. Of course, it is certainly better than the education the poor kids are(n’t) getting, but at best Kozol’s solution is the lesser of two evils.

There are a few reviews on Amazon.com that raise objections along similar lines: i.e., we ought to wonder whether money is the essential or even a primary factor instead of, say, families and communities or, what is more accurate from a theoretical perspective, the way we think about the very idea of education.

The question is not simply why Johnny can’t read, why Johnny can’t think, or why Johnny can’t dissent (this last is from Thomas Frank). The real question of education is why Johnny can’t live.