Thursday, June 19, 2008

From Jonathan Kozol: Public Policy, Education, War

In doing some research for possible places I might submit work, I came across a favorite writer of mine whose words never fail to inspire and challenge me: Jonathan Kozol. Are you familiar with him?

As devoted, non-ordained-nun; as teacher; as lover; as Catholic; as Buddhist; as Citizen; as Critical Thinker; as Agent-of-change; as deep questioner and examiner of my own experience in and around generational poverty; as traveler to places of wealth and poverty; as woman whose own modeling of Parental Love I recognize as rare gift, of God; as woman who knows deep privilege - I am drawn to Kozol's work.

These two articles from Mr. Kozol might equally inspire you, or provide you with fodder for more reflective and compassionate inquiry as you examine the marketplace, the voting public, our place in global society, and as we navigate or discern a just course of action in places like Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Darfur, China, Haiti, Somalia, Zimbabwe.

What is going on right here in our own United States? How are Kozol's depictions of everyday classrooms a kind of First Front where Militaristic dollars might easily and just as effectively be spent?
What is the difference between an Iraqi regime of terror and an American regime of terror?
How are our urban and rural classrooms the same breeding grounds for "al-qaeda" equivalents?
What does good teaching look like?
Where are the exemplars of emancipated living? Of love?
Have you ever personally encountered terror? Been traumatized? What did that look like? Feel like? How did you respond? What was the result?
Where does liberation from terror, from fears begin?
Who are we? What are our responsibilities? As individuals? Citizens? Followers of God? Of Christ?

Kozol is the Author of "Savage Inequalities," "Amazing Grace" and "Shame of the Nation: The Restoration of Apartheid Schooling in America." He rocks. But check him out for yourself.

Peace, Love,
Melissa

2 comments:

Jill Timmer Teehan said...

Melissa,

I love Jonathan Kozol.

If anyone wants to know how American schools are funded, or NOT funded, for that matter, he is the premier American authority. He writes with compassion and frankness about our faultering system, and offers possible solutions or questions as least.


Reading what he writes will break your heart at times though because of the children he follows through the best and worst of American schools.

Jill Timmer Teehan
Newbury Park, CA

Emily Lilja said...

I am heartbroken this week over two former students who have been charged with multiple sexual assaults IN SCHOOL. Kozol is for real - our schools do not have the resources they need to battle the psychoses of the streets that our kids bring in with them. We need more help. Our schools of poverty will be breeding grounds for violence until the segregation ends... Sigh.