Friday, July 22, 2011

Confronting the Inequality Juggernaut: A Q&A With Jonathan Kozol

disagree with pretty much everything Kozol says in this interview, but this part really bugs me:

How do you see the rise of charter schools affecting racial and economic segregation in our schools?

Charter schools are far more segregated than most other public schools. This was pretty much predictable. Charter schools with names like those I see repeatedly -- "Black Success Academy," "African-American Academy for Leadership and Enterprise" -- are not likely to attract too many Irish or Italian kids. On the opposite side, trendy new white charter schools with upper-class, vaguely artsy innuendo in their names -- I call them "the woodsy Walden schools" -- are obviously targeted at children of a social/racial category that does not include the kids of immigrants from Mexico or Ethiopia.

The "niche" effect of charter schools guarantees a swift and vicious deepening of class and racial separation. President Obama -- who was educated in very good and integrated schools and sends his children to an integrated and exclusive private school -- is now acting on the belief that consciously and unashamedly segregated charter schools represent the answer to the race-gap in America.

Kozol is repeating an absurd argument that is rooted in a dimwitted report issued early last year by The Civil Rights Project at UCLA, which I and others rebutted at length.  In this blog post (, I begin:


The Civil Rights Project at UCLA is out with a report blasting charter schools for being segregated.  I don't know whether to laugh or cry.  OF COURSE they're segregated – because most of them seek to serve students being failed the most by regular public schools – and guess what: most of these students are minority!  As Joe Williams and DFER note: "The UCLA Civil Rights Project seemingly wants to block minority parents from choosing to enroll their children in better schools simply because it feels those schools aren't white enough. What's up with that?" \

Imagine if charter schools instead were disproportionately NOT minority (which, as James Forman points out below, was in fact the concern in the early days of charter schools) – then these nitwits would be blasting them for creaming.  If I read another study or article by clueless, out-of-touch-with-reality, knuckleheads in ivory towers, I'm gonna scream!

Here are links to other rebuttals:







The last question Kozol answers is supposed to be a softball, but he completely whiffs because he, like Ravitch, has NO IDEAS for how to actually improve the system – all they can do is crap on reformers:

What is one thing you would do to improve education for all students?

Teachers always ask me that. But I learned in 1968, when I first met Paulo Freire, literally on a mountainside in Mexico, not to think I always know the answer. What I tend to do these days is to urge these teachers to look to older and more seasoned teachers like my good friends at Rethinking Schools. "Ask Stan Karp. Ask Bob Peterson. They know more than I do. They're still in the classroom."


Confronting the Inequality Juggernaut: A Q&A With Jonathan Kozol

Anthony Cody

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