So when a college newspaper actually covers a Kozol event, I have to say say, Attaboy! From The Spectrum:
RYAN PUSATERI - Staff Writer
Jonathan Kozol prides himself on speaking up for those whose voices are stifled in the midst of segregation and discrimination. The poor, the homeless and the underprivileged are groups of people Kozol defends in his candid books.
On Thursday night in Slee Hall, Kozol presented his lecture "Letters to a Young Teacher," based on his book of the same name, to a sold-out crowd.
Kozol, a long-time educator, fights especially hard for an equal opportunity to education for all children. The enthusiastic crowd, consisting of mostly teachers, professors, administrators and prospective educators, was looking for tips and inspiration from Kozol.
Kozol referenced a school principal in his past that changed his point of view forever.
"I like to think of myself as a CEO instead of a principal," said Kozol, reciting a line the principal once told him. Kozol said this kind of perspective hinders the role an administrator plays in students' lives.
"From then on, I knew I had to do something to change education," he said.
Kozol became a teacher at one of the most segregated public schools in Boston in 1965. The Boston School Committee disputed segregation in their schools, leading Kozol to make the public aware of the separation of races. He was eventually fired after reading a poem by Langston Hughes to his fourth grade class.
The entire event was depicted in his early novel Death at an Early Age, he said.
"It's the best thing there is to do in life," Kozol said of teaching.
Throughout the lecture, he reiterated the effect teachers have on students and the responsibility they take on when accepting the role of an educator.
"You should never interrupt a child while they are asking a question because more often than not, a treasure will be found at the end of the run-on sentence," Kozol said. "Value your students as the future of American society."
Segregation in the educational system didn't ended even after Brown v. Board of Education, the 1954 Supreme Court case that overturned a previous court ruling allowing segregation in public schools.
Kozol said that research he has conducted found that race and racism are the main difference between inner-city school districts and suburban school districts.
"Schools are more separated now than in 1968," Kozol said. "The separation of quality of schools is leading to the rise of apartheid in the United States of America."
In his lecture, he attacked the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), which aims to improve academic performance in U.S. primary and secondary schools through federal programs that raise the standards and expectations for students.
"The NCLB in its entirety is a shaming ritual meant to discredit the idea of public schools," Kozol said.
He explained that the NCLB is a prime example of how the U.S. government is pushing the divide between children who are able to get a good education and those with disadvantages.
"The NCLB is meant to bridge the gap of learning between races, which is good, but the government is doing it the wrong way. They are teaching more privileged children less instead of teaching less privileged children more," he said.
The lecture was part of the 2008-2009 Charlotte C. Acer Colloquium on Urban Education and the UB graduate School of Education Dean's Lecture Series.
Kozol wanted all those in attendance to know that they could make a difference. He explained that students in the American education system need teachers that will react to the times, organize parent support and build support among other educators.
In his lecture, Kozol set guidelines for the educators of our time.
"If you care about what you want to change, then it shouldn't be any trouble attempting to fix the problem," Kozol said.
It was a call to arms against what Kozol sees as the lackluster educational system in America.