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Publisher's Summary

Over the past several years, Jonathan Kozol has visited nearly 60 public schools. Virtually everywhere, he finds that conditions have grown worse for inner-city children in the 15 years since federal courts began dismantling the landmark ruling in Brown v. Board of Education. First, a state of nearly absolute apartheid now prevails in thousands of our schools. The segregation of black children has reverted to a level that the nation has not seen since 1968. Few of the students in these schools know white children any longer. Second, a protomilitary form of discipline has now emerged, modeled on stick-and-carrot methods of behavioral control traditionally used in prisons but targeted exclusively at black and Hispanic children. And third, as high-stakes testing takes on pathological and punitive dimensions, liberal education in our inner-city schools has been increasingly replaced by culturally barren and robotic methods of instruction that would be rejected out of hand by schools that serve the mainstream of society.

Filled with the passionate voices of children and their teachers and some of the most revered and trusted leaders in the black community, The Shame of the Nation is a triumph of firsthand reporting that pays tribute to those undefeated educators who persist against the odds, but directly challenges the chilling practices now being forced upon our urban systems by the Bush administration. In their place, Kozol offers a humane, dramatic challenge to our nation to fulfill at last the promise made some 50 years ago to all our youngest citizens.

©2005 Jonathan Kozol; (P)2005 Books on Tape, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"Respected author Kozol delivers a scathing indictment of public education and public policy....Compelling." (Booklist)
"Sharp and poignant." (Publishers Weekly)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
  • Sierra
  • Owatonna, MN, United States
  • 01-27-11

Thank You

I found this book to be extremely inspiring. I live in a middle classtown in Minnesota,far from inner-city schools and totally unnaware tha issues such as these still managed to exist. Mr. Kozol does a wonderful job of illustrating the innocence and wonder of the children most affected by inequality and I would reccommend this book to anyone.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Changed my life.

This book changed my life. I teach its message to my college students. I will carry it with me until the shameful flame of injustice has been annihilated. My only criticism is the reader was very one note and it needed some variation.

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  • Eleanor
  • New England, USA
  • 08-24-12

Get the ABRIDGED version!

Kozol has some excellent points to make, but he repeats himself over and over in order to make them. This book did not need to be this long! It could have been one-third the length and the point would have been much better made!

My primary complaint is that Kozol's own narrative overshadows that of the students that he is advocating for. He spends far too much of the book berating the reader when he could be letting us hear what the students themselves have to say.

Again, the overall point is very important - the de facto segregation of our urban schools. But it is so poorly written, rambling along without clear chapter topics, and LOOOOONNNNNGGGGG, that I wouldn't recommend this to anyone in its complete form. If it's available in an abridged form, get that version!

  • Overall

Enough bad mouthing our school systems

I think Jonathan Kozol should spend more time providing suggestions and recommendations instead of just ripping the educators who work so hard to get their students the best education possible.

1 of 9 people found this review helpful