lederr

tribute to a friend…jonathan kozol quotes.

In Education, Education advocacy, School reform on Friday, 2 November 2012 at 05:13

jonathan kozol…a tireless supporter of equality in education. and my friend.

“If you could lead through testing, the U.S. would lead the world in all education categories. When are people going to understand you don’t fatten your lambs by weighing them?”

“A dream does not die on its own. A dream is vanquished by the choices ordinary people make about real things in their own lives…”

“I have been criticized throughout the course of my career for placing too much faith in the reliability of children’s narratives; but I have almost always found that children are a great deal more reliable in telling us what actually goes on in public school than many of the adult experts who develop policies that shape their destinies.”

“You have to remember. . .that for this little boy whom you have met, his life is just as important to him, as your life is to you. No matter how insufficient or how shabby it may seem to some, it is the only one he has.”

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

“The future teachers I try to recruit are those show have refused to let themselves be neutered in this way, either in their private lives or in the lives that they intend to lead in school. When they begin to teach, they come into their classrooms with a sense of affirmation of the goodness and the fullness of existence, with a sense of satisfaction in discovering the unexpected in their students, and with a longing to surprise the world, their kids, even themselves, with their capacity to leave each place they’ve been … a better and more joyful place than it was when they entered it.”

“Good teachers don’t approach a child of this age with overzealousness or with destructive conscientiousness. They’re not drill-masters in the military or floor managers in a production system. They are specialists in opening small packages. They give the string a tug but do it carefully. They don’t yet know what’s in the box. They don’t know if it’s breakable. ”

“I always want to tell these young idealists that the world is not as dangerous as many in the older generation want them to believe…The [people] for whom I feel the greatest sadness are the ones who choke on their beliefs, who never act on their ideals, who never know the state of struggle in a decent cause, and never know the thrill of even partial victories.”

“There is something deeply hypocritical in a society that holds an inner-city child only eight years old “accountable” for her performance on a high-stakes standardized exam but does not hold the high officials of our government accountable for robbing her of what they gave their own kids six or seven years before.”

“We should invest in kids like these,” we’re told, “because it will be more expensive not to.” Why do our natural compassion and religious inclinations need to find a surrogate in dollar savings to be voiced or acted on? Why not give these kids the best we have because we are a wealthy nation and they are children and deserve to have some fun while they are still less than four feet high?”

“Young children give us glimpses of some things that are eternal.”

“Evil exists,” he says, not flinching at the word. “I believe that what the rich have done to the poor people in this city is something that a preacher would call evil. Somebody has power. Pretending that they don’t so they don’t need to use it to help people-that is my idea of evil.”

“A dream does not die on it’s own. A dream is vanquished by the choices ordinary people make about real things in their own lives.The motive may be different, and I’m sure it often is; the consequence is not.”

“The rich…should beg the poor to forgive us for the bread we bring them. Healthy people sometimes feel they need to beg forgiveness too, although there is no reason why. Maybe we simply ask forgiveness for not being born where these poor women have been born, knowing that if we lived here too, our fate might well have been the same.”

“Shorn of unattractive language about “robots” who will be producing taxes and not burglarizing homes, the general idea that schools in ghettoized communities must settle for a different set of goals than schools that serve the children of the middle class and upper middle class has been accepted widely. And much of the rhetoric of “rigor” and “high standards” that we hear so frequently, no matter how egalitarian in spirit it may sound to some, is fatally belied by practices that vulgarize the intellects of children and take from their education far too many of the opportunities for cultural and critical reflectiveness without which citizens become receptacles for other people’s ideologies and ways of looking at the world but lack the independent spirits to create their own.”

“Still, the facts are always there. Every teacher, every parent, every priest who serves this kind of neighborhood knows what these inequalities imply. So the sweetness of the moment loses something of its sweetness later on when you’re reminded of the odds these children face and of the ways injustice slowly soils innocence. You wish you could eternalize these times of early glory. You wish that Elio and Ariel and Pineapple could stay here in this garden of their juvenile timidity forever. You know they can’t. You have a sense of what’s ahead. You do your best to shut it out. You want to know them as they are. You do not want to think too much of what may someday be.”

“Research experts want to know what can be done about the values of poor segregated children; and this is a question that needs asking. But they do not ask what can be done about the values of the people who have segregated these communities. There is no academic study of the pathological detachment of the very rich…”

“If high salaries for school teachers and small class size and attractive spacious buildings equipped with beautiful libraries and computers are good for the son or daughter of a president or a member of the Senate or a CEO, then they’re also good for the poorest child in the Bronx.”

“In a sense, those of us – and I’ve had a privileged education, too – those of us who have those benefits have to live with the uncomfortable knowledge that all our victories in life will be contaminated by the fact that we were winners in a game that was never played on a level playing field.”

“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.”

“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.”

“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.”

“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.”

“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.”

“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.”

“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.”

“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.”

“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.”

“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.”

“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.”

“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.”

jonathan’s playful side…what makes him so special.

Advertisements

Thanks for your comments!

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: