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Jonathan Kozol's Quotes

Jonathan Kozol profile photo

Born: 1936-09-05
Profession: Writer
Nation: American
Biography of Jonathan Kozol

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The cause of homelessness is lack of housing.

Tags: Cause, Housing, Lack

We are now operating a school system in America that's more segregated than at any time since the death of Martin Luther King.

Tags: Death, School, Time

We know that segregation is evil. We know that the sickest children should not go to the worst hospitals.

Tags: Children, Evil, Worst

When I was young, I was religious.

Tags: Religious, Young

Wonderful teachers should never let themselves be drill sergeants for the state.

Tags: State, Themselves, Wonderful

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.

Tags: Failure, School, Success

I believe we need a national amendment which will guarantee every child in America the promise of not just an equal education but a high-quality equal education.

Tags: America, Child, Education

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.

Tags: Hate, Opinions, Word

No Child Left Behind's fourth-grade gains aren't learning gains, they're testing gains. That's why they don't last. The law is a distraction from things that really count.

Tags: Law, Learning, Why

A great deal has been written in recent years about the purported lack of motivation in the children of the Negro ghettos. Little in my experience supports this, yet the phrase has been repeated endlessly, and the blame in almost all cases is placed somewhere outside the classroom.

Tags: Children, Experience, Great

As a matter of record, New York City spends a higher portion of its budget on instruction and associated costs within the schools themselves than any of the other 100 largest districts in the nation.

Tags: Matter, Nation, Themselves

At present, black children are more segregated in their public schools than at any time since 1968. In the inner-city schools I visit, minority children typically represent 95 percent to 99 percent of class enrollment.

Tags: Black, Children, Time

But when I went to Harvard, it kind of got washed out of me, partly because people made fun of you in college. If you said you believed in God, they would look at you clinically, you know, suggest that you needed a referral.

Tags: Fun, God, Said

Congress has an opportunity to take advantage of the opening created by Justice Kennedy later this year when it reauthorizes the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

Tags: Child, Justice, Year

Consider what it is like to go into a new classroom and to see before you suddenly, and in a way you cannot avoid recognizing, the dreadful consequences of a year's wastage of so many lives.

Tags: Cannot, Lives, Year

During the decades after Brown v. Board of Education there was terrific progress. Tens of thousands of public schools were integrated racially. During that time the gap between black and white achievement narrowed.

Tags: Black, Education, Time

Governor Romney has said nothing about preschool. I think that giving the poorest kids in America wonderful preschool, and three years of it, starting when they are two-and-a-half, is absolutely crucial.

Tags: America, Giving, Said

Hypersegregated inner-city schools - in which one finds no more than five or ten white children, at the very most, within a student population of as many as 3,000 - are the norm, not the exception, in most northern urban areas today.

Tags: Children, Student, Today

I once made a check of all books in my fourth-grade classroom. Of the slightly more than six hundred books, almost one quarter had been published prior to the bombing of Hiroshima; 60 percent were either ten years old or older.

Tags: Old, Older, Once

I think a lot of people don't have any idea of how deeply segregated our schools have become all over again. Most textbooks are not honest in what they teach our high school students.

Tags: Become, Honest, School

I wrote the first book, and I thought people would say: 'Separate and unequal schools in the City of Boston? I didn't know that. Let's go out and fix it.'

Tags: Book, City, Thought

I'd love to go back and teach primary school. I used to teach fourth grade and fifth grade. I'd love to spend several years teaching kindergarten or maybe third grade.

Tags: Love, School, Used

If we allow public funds to be used to support our relatively benign, morally grounded schools, we will have to allow those public funds to be used for any type of private school.

Tags: School, Support, Used

In the book, I write about children in first grade who were taught to read by reading want ads. They learned to write by writing job applications. Imagine what would happen if anyone tried to do that to children in a predominantly white suburban school.

Tags: Children, Job, School

Instead of seeing these children for the blessings that they are, we are measuring them only by the standard of whether they will be future deficits or assets for our nation's competitive needs.

Tags: Blessings, Children, Future

Many of those who argue for vouchers say that they simply want to use competition to improve public education. I don't think it works that way, and I've been watching this for a longtime.

Tags: Education, Public, Simply

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Much more quotes by Jonathan Kozol below the page.

No Child Left Behind widens the gap between the races more than any piece of educational legislation I've seen in 40 years. It denies inner-city kids the critical-thinking skills to interrogate reality.

Tags: Between, Kids, Reality

Now, I don't expect what I write to change things. I think I write now simply as a witness. This is how it is. This is what we have done. This is what we have permitted.

Tags: Change, Done, Write

Our nation's oldest sin and deepest crime is the isolation of minority children - black children, in particular - in schools that are not only segregated but shamefully unequal.

Tags: Black, Children, Nation

People rarely speak of children; you hear of 'cohort groups' and 'standard variations,' but you don't hear much of boys who miss their cats or 6-year-olds who have to struggle with potato balls.

Tags: Children, Speak, Struggle

President Obama's first term in office has been better for intentions than for actual changes in planning and policy. I do believe, and he has several things to this effect, that he would like to provide universal preschool or at least far more preschool for our children.

Tags: Children, Far, President

So long as these kinds of inequalities persist, all of us who are given expensive educations have to live with the knowledge that our victories are contaminated because the game has been rigged to our advantage.

Tags: Advantage, Game, Knowledge

The contrasts between what is spent today to educate a child in the poorest New York City neighborhoods, where teacher salaries are often even lower than the city averages, and spending levels in the wealthiest suburban areas are daunting challenges to any hope New Yorkers might retain that even semblances of fairness still prevail.

Tags: Hope, Teacher, Today

The first ten, twelve or fifteen years of life are excavated of inherent moral worth in order to accommodate a regimen of basic training for the adult years that many of the poorest children may not even live to know.

Tags: Children, Life, May

The inequalities are greater now than in '92. Some states have equalized per-pupil spending but they set the 'equal level' very low, so that wealthy districts simply raise extra money privately.

Tags: Level, Money, Simply

The primary victims of Katrina, those who were given the least help by the government, those rescued last or not at all, were overwhelmingly people of color largely hidden from the mainstream of society.

Tags: Government, Help, Society

There has been so much recent talk of progress in the areas of curriculum innovation and textbook revision that few people outside the field of teaching understand how bad most of our elementary school materials still are.

Tags: Bad, School, Understand

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.

Tags: Great, Often, True

What I tell these young people is, the world is not as dangerous as the older generation would like you to believe. Anyone I know who has ever taken a risk and lost a job has ended up getting a better one two years later.

Tags: Job, Lost, Young

When I was teaching in the 1960s in Boston, there was a great deal of hope in the air. Martin Luther King Jr. was alive, Malcolm X was alive; great, great leaders were emerging from the southern freedom movement.

Tags: Freedom, Great, Hope

If you grow up in the South Bronx today or in south-central Los Angeles or Pittsburgh or Philadelphia, you quickly come to understand that you have been set apart and that there's no will in this society to bring you back into the mainstream.

Tags: Society, Today, Understand

Pick battles big enough to matter, small enough to win.

Tags: Enough, Small, Win

An awful lot of people come to college with this strange idea that there's no longer segregation in America's schools, that our schools are basically equal; neither of these things is true.

Tags: America, Strange, True

Even if you never do anything about this, you've benefited from an unjust system. You're already the winner in a game that was rigged to your advantage from the start.

Tags: Game, Start, Winner

At that time, I had recently finished a book called Amazing Grace, which many people tell me is a very painful book to read. Well, if it was painful to read, it was also painful to write. I had pains in my chest for two years while I was writing that book.

Tags: Amazing, Book, Time

But for the children of the poorest people we're stripping the curriculum, removing the arts and music, and drilling the children into useful labor. We're not valuing a child for the time in which she actually is a child.

Tags: Children, Music, Time

Children are not simply commodities to be herded into line and trained for the jobs that white people who live in segregated neighborhoods have available.

Tags: Children, Line, Simply

The greatest difference between now and 1964, when I began teaching, is that public policy has pretty much eradicated the dream of Martin Luther King.

Tags: Between, Greatest, Pretty

The ones I pity are the ones who never stick out their neck for something they believe, never know the taste of moral struggle, and never have the thrill of victory.

Tags: Moral, Struggle, Victory

A culture in which guilt is automatically assumed to be neurotic and unhealthy has devised a remarkably clever way of protecting its self-interest.

Tags: Clever, Culture, Guilt

Separate and unequal didn't work 100 years ago. It will not work today.

Tags: Separate, Today, Work

The answers I remember longest are the ones that answer questions that I didn't think of asking.

Tags: Answer, Questions, Remember

You need massive recruitment to tell the poorest of the poor what is possible.

Tags: Poor, Possible, Tell

Apartheid education, rarely mentioned in the press or openly confronted even among once-progressive educators, is alive and well and rapidly increasing now in the United States.

Tags: Alive, Education, United

Apartheid does not happen spontaneously, like bad weather conditions.

Tags: Bad, Happen, Weather

I am opposed to the use of public funds for private education.

Tags: Education, Private, Public

I beg people not to accept the seasonal ritual of well-timed charity on Christmas Eve. It's blasphemy.

Tags: Accept, Charity

I encourage teachers to speak in their own voices. Don't use the gibberish of the standards writers.

Tags: Encourage, Speak, Writers

I feel, in the end, as if everything I've done has been a failure.

Tags: Done, End, Failure

I think a moment of critical energy has suddenly emerged. But moments like this come and go unless we seize them at their height.

Tags: Energy, Moment, Moments

It is a commonplace by now to say that the urban school systems of America contain a higher percentage of Negro children each year.

Tags: America, Children, School

My goal is to connect the young teachers to the old, to reignite their sense of struggle.

Tags: Goal, Struggle, Young

Nationally, overwhelmingly non-white schools receive $1,000 less per pupil than overwhelmingly white schools.

Tags: Less, Schools, White

President Obama still places far too much emphasis on relentless testing with standardized exams.

Tags: Exams, Far, President

Racial segregation has come back to public education with a vengeance.

Tags: Education, Public, Vengeance

If I think something is beautiful, there must be somebody out there who will agree with me.

Tags: Agree, Beautiful, Somebody

When you go to the theater, if you're really involved in the play, you don't think about it - you're in it.

Tags: Involved, Theater

You never write down to the people - you write the best you can with the hope that someone else will feel the same way.

Tags: Best, Hope, Someone

What I've learned is that it's okay to take from heroes, such as Debussy, but it has to be filtered through my own personality so that ultimately it's me.

Tags: Heroes, Learned, Okay