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Review of Savage Inequalities

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The book  Savage Inequalities was written by Jonathan Kozol in 1991. In this book, the author Jonathan Kozol offers the insight on the disparities surrounding the American educational system. From Kozol’s illustrations, the title Savage Inequalities fits the situation in the American different schools; this is not only a result of class, but also a profound racial difference in the cosmopolitan American society. Consequently, in a bid to backup his claim, Kozol managed to visit both public schools with the high per capita spending as well as those with the low per capita spending. Most of schools in the inner-city are characterized by overcrowding, unsanitary, understaffed, and the lack of teaching resources. Surprising, there is a higher taxation on Americans, which is yet to elevate the minority of Americans at the inner-city schools with horrible educational conditions. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to conduct a general review of Savage Inequalities written by Jonathan Kozol in the view of strength of his book, arguments, assumptions, and new insights offered to readers.   

The Strength of the Book Using Examples - the Reasons for Liking Savage Inequalities

One of the strongest points that Kozol managed to convey in his book Savage Inequalities is the fact that the low academic performance among inner-city children is caused by injustice and uncaring spirit within the society. This is typical of the common outcry ruining in the contemporary society. In a bid to justify his claim, Kozol (1991) offered the concrete examples on the societal injustice, thereby making his claim practical both in the ancient and contemporary society. For instance, such aspects as the high rates of school dropout, the problems of discipline at schools and the low levels of transition from high school to college are the critical demographic information that openly communicates in the prevailing societal condition (Kozol, 1991). Consequently, through the above examples, it is evident that the author must have convinced readers on the effects of vices in our human society.

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On the other hand, the fact that Kozol offered the relevant examples to justify why he had accused the society of the decreasing academic performance is an emphasis that was deserved (Kozol, 1991). Generally, the society has not only lost its moral values, but has also hindered every single attempt by such institutions as schools from inculcating virtues required for the well-being of the society. For instance, the overcrowding in ghetto high schools except other schools is a scenario that has its value. It is of the great interest that Kozol managed to explore and present such scenario without any fear unlike other cases where the authors would mostly not dare to mention such topic (Kozol, 1991). Naturally, the human society has lost its role not only to inculcate moral values, but also to empower educational institutions to accord the knowledge to its members. However, through Kozol’s work, the readers are offered the varied phenomena that serve as the authoritative voices for an easy understanding of injustice and uncaring attitudes within the society’s inner-city.            

The other stride that Savage Inequalities offers to readers is the solution to the low performance at the inner-city schools. According to Kozol (1991), the performance at the inner-city schools can only be enhanced by bridging the gap between the poor and the rich people. Such assertion is in-line with the fact that the varied injustices rooted in human societies are a result of gap between the rich and the poor ones. It is true that the inner-city schools are not performing well academically. However, the reason behind such low academic performance can only be understood by reading Kozol’s Savage Inequalities (Kozol, 1991). For instance, such disparities as overcrowding, old buildings, the shortage of learning and teaching resources and low salaries at the inner-city schools are the barriers to a good performance. Out of such illustration, the readers are automatically convinced that the good performance is an element of some varied components working together for a common goal. In other words, resolving such injustice begins with a strategy which would accord both the poor and the minority children an equal opportunity similarly to the rich people.    

Although Kozol has vividly supported his perspective on the despair of facing the inner-city, his assertions are imperfect. This is particularly owed to the fact that improving the performance of students is a complex issue. Therefore, it would be unprecedented for such author like Kozol to think that such stride can merely be obtained by investing much of the taxpayers’ money to educate children. Kozol should have noted that parents have a critical role on the performance improvement. That is, the much interest and efforts the parents put into their children’s education, the much progresswould such children realize in their education. Moreover, as much as Kozol admits that the equalization system is aimed at using taxes to support poor children at schools, the author neither offers the examples of equalization to justify his claims nor does he discuss other alternative remedies being probably designed to hence the performance at the inner-city schools.

Ideally, the fact that the author in one way or the other one did not recognize parents as important drivers of the educational performance of children at the inner-city schools is a ground for the audience to doubt on the authenticity of information presented in Savage Inequalities. Nonetheless, there is the little outranging on the inequality presented by Kozol in his book. This is owed to the fact that the same whistle blower ended up fighting the same stereotypes of disparities at various schools through the race and societal class. For instance, the author has presented his voice such that the readers are able to comprehend both the inner-city teenagers and the studious. At the same time, Kozol’s work is a reflection of some farfetched assumptions which are not in the agreement with popular assumptions, thereby promoting many debates.          

Author’s Thinking Assumption- Personal Thought on the Subject

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One may agree with Kozol’s assumption that the inequality at the American educational schools is propagated both by the American law and the racial difference. First and foremost, it would be hard for the Supreme Court to rule the educational cases in favour of the equal, but separate educational opportunity for the inner-city schools and township schools if the American law does not offer such categorization. Similarly, the author is justified to assume that the inequality in the American education is further propagated by a racial difference between the white natives and non-natives. This is probably the reason why even white children see no importance of increasing the tax payment to help supporting the education inefficiency, quality, and learning resources at the inner-city schools. The fact that senior high schools’ students in suburban Rye, New York have not supported the tax increment to promote the academic opportunity and performance of other children as such move was not going to benefit them as an astonishing thought to be perceived in the society.        

Major Points of Argument in the Comparison/Contrast with Current Issues

The myth of America as the land of opportunity isone of the major points that Kozol is arguing about in Savage Inequalities. This is the myth of America as the land of opportunity for the young generation. Kozol cites that from the outside, the society is made to believe that all children at the American schools have a similar share of educational opportunities. However, the situation is far much above the truth as evidenced by the comparison between the neighbouring schools. For instance, Kozol (1991) cites that such schools as Martin Luther King Junior’s High School had experienced a frequent closing due to the sewage, while the students at DuSabe High School were forced to wait for more than 16 weeks before they could learn the basic skills in mechanics due to the lack of instructor. The American opportunity mythology presented by Kozol in his book Savage Inequalities is a similar scenario that has been fostering the Americans to work so hard in a bid to realize the American dream of opportunity (Kozol, 1991). Although such dream has been created by Americans, it is remained thea dream in the contemporary society. However, very few people are cautions about such myth; in the long run, everyone in the world still envies America and strives to obtain the permanent residence in the US without knowing that the resources available in their native countries could be harnessed to facilitate more economic advancement than in America.   

Racial segregation, from Kozol’s argument, is a vice that is not only rooted in the American society, but also in its single institution (Kozol, 1991). For instance, there is the inequality in the distribution of funds meant for various school actives. However, such disparity does not seem to bother white students. Based on their perception, they have no reason to care about the inner-city students that are not receiving the best educational services. Since the racial segregation has taken its roots in America, white students are very negative about the payment of extra tax to accord inner-city schools equal educational opportunity since they would not benefit from such move (Kozol, 1991). Kozol cites that such uncaring spirit has not only promoted the racial segregation in the American educational institutions, but also in the American society, where even the Supreme Court admits that all children living in America should be accorded with the equal opportunity in the separate system. According to such worldview, money has been perceived to be an instrumennt of progress, thereby creating a notion of giving to the poor people money that could uplift their status.

According to the similar scenario, the contemporary society has become perverted especially concerning the educational issues and upward mobility. For instance, it is believed that the increasing opportunities for a younger generation solely depend on such families’ additional income. However, this is far much beyond the truth as far as the class mobility in America is concerned. Various researches have showed that the additional income in the family is neither a means of eliminating poverty or climbing up the status ladder in the United States. Consequently, the poverty and rise in the economic status can only be realized if those in the low class are accorded with the equal educational opportunities within both the middle and upper classes. In other words, it is only through the equality in all aspects that Americans would be able to eliminate the racial segregation as opposed to the long standing government’s free support to the minorities.      

Important Facts and Lessons Learnt from Savage Inequalities- New Views

Savage Inequalities by Kozol offers the different insight on the myth that has for a very long time labelled America as the land of opportunity for the young generation. Based on the author’s research and justification of injustice and uncaring attitude among the inner-city schools, the book is placed as the important resource both for those that have perceived America as the land of opportunity for the young generation, and those being in need for the statistics to refute the belief that America is the land of opportunity for the younger generation.   

Savage Inequalities by Kozol is the interesting book which has triggered a number of lessons and assumptions in the course of reading. First and foremost, it is evident to refute the possible generational progress in America, since many children at the inner-city schools are experiencing the low academic performance. In other words, it is unjustified for anyone to think that one generation can do better than the past one, especially in the wake of disparity in education between the poor and the rich people. The American society can only realize a steady progress if all educational institutions are accorded with the equal educational opportunity.

Secondly, it is both astonishing and heart breaking to realize that the racial segregation in America is propagated by both the judiciary and the society, at large. The magnitude of the racial segregation in America is evident. According to Kozol (1991), the educational inequality’s cases have been brought to court in a bid for the inner-city schools to obtain justice. However, in all such accusations, the Supreme Court’s ruling has encourages the equal but separate system. Typically, such ruling seems to be the genesis of racial segregation and the hindrance to the upward mobility of the non-white Americans. 

Except the insightful lesson, reading Savage Inequalities by Kozol has left a new thought on how the American government can boost the opportunity among the inner-city schools. That is, all ineffective educational programs should be eliminated and replaced with the programs that focus on empowering the disadvantaged and offering better teachers and resources to the inner-city schools. In addition to this strategy, the federal government should be ensured that resources are relocated from affluent elderly people to the young struggling families living in the inner-cities to help them equipping their educational institutions and increasing their productivity. However, such strategy should not be perceived to imply that the government’s efforts s combating with the educational inequality in America have failed, but rather it implies that there are the certain misplaced priorities such as fraud, abuse and waste in education which need to be addressed.

In conclusion, it is much astonishing that the inequalities are presently stronger in America than they were during the time while Kozol was writing his Savage Inequalities. In the view of such scenario, there is the truth in Kozol’s assertion is that "In certain ways, it's harder now because in those days it was a clear enemy you had to face, a man in a hood and not a statistician. NO one could persuade you that you were to blame. Now the choices seem like they are left to you and, if you make the wrong choice, you are made to understand you are to blame" (Kozol, 1991). The American society seems to have inculcated the culture into two separate nations where children are being trained to lead two separate lifestyles despite the fact that they are all living in one America. However, with such people as Kozol and the insights brought through Savage Inequalities the profound segregation and inequality existing in America can courageously be challenged, fought, and changed for the good of the entire American nation. 

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