Jonathan Kozol has always been one of the best and most brutally honest critics of our public education system.
His writing has always put the spotlight on kids, especially those in high poverty areas, who are being failed by the educational system and by society in general.
After reading an interview with Kozol about his new book at Salon (you’ll need to watch an ad to read the article), it’s clear he’s not letting up one bit.
However, in “Letters to a Young Teacher”, his focus is equally on teachers and their place in the educational process. I especially like this clip from the interview.
Well, teachers have been profoundly demoralized in recent years and are often treated with contempt by politicians. There’s a great deal of reckless rhetoric in Washington about the mediocrity of the teaching profession — and I don’t find that to be true at all. We are attracting better teachers and better-educated teachers today than at any time since I started out in 1964.
I emphasize teachers because they are largely left out of the debate. None of the bombastic reports that come from Washington and think tanks telling us what needs to be “fixed” — I hate such a mechanistic word, as if our schools were automobile engines — ever asks the opinions of teachers. By far the most important factor in the success or failure of any school, far more important than tests or standards or business-model methods of accountability, is simply attracting the best-educated, most exciting young people into urban schools and keeping them there.
Read the whole interview.