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The Shame of the Nation

The Restoration of Apartheid Schooling in America
Narrated by: Dean Robertson
Length: 10 hrs and 8 mins
4 out of 5 stars (120 ratings)

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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)

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • 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.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Tears, tears, and more tears!

I was a student in, an educator of, and the parent of two students that has and will attend, a deeply segregated school in one of the United States most liberal cities-- the New York City public schools system. I was recently told by an admissions aide in a district 11 Family Welcome center, a NYCDOE center that allows parents to register their children to district 8 and 11 schools, that I could not enroll my son, who is a soon-to-be kindergarten student, in a school that was much closer to my home. This school reserved a waitlist that was highly selective to families of whom resided in the private homes of Morris Park, unlike myself who lives in Parkchester. Parkchester children are all dumped in P.S. 106. For me to get my child in PS/MS 498 the principal would have to meet me and sign off on it. But I'm Black, so I am a victim of New York City's apartheid school system!

This book is a sad reminder that NOTHING has changed! In fact, schools are more segregated now then ever before. I recommend this book for everyone. Whether you're an educator, a pastor, a racist, a saint, or a cynic, this book is for you!

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very academic reading

I started out listening to this book for a class. However, I finished reading it because I found it very interesting an in-depth information about the national education system and how it works for and against certain people.

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important and informative

Wow, what an important and informative read. I highly recommend this book, we need to be paying attention to this issue as a nation.

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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
    2 out of 5 stars

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 11 people found this review helpful