Friday, July 10, 2009


Dinova C. Castaneda
English 170W Summer 2009


Savage inequalities a book written by a teacher that when expose to teaching in the public school system was devastated to see how segregated the classrooms were. The whole book gives multiple examples of the poverty of the communities and the unfortunate conditions that he experience when visiting and teaching in a lower income neighborhood.

Jonathan Kozol was assigned to teach a fourth grade classroom with 35 children that had a string of substitutes all year around. When he have them their first test the results were seen. The children had a second grade reading level and first grade math ability. In effort to resuscitate their interest, he decided to read them poetry and he was fired because he didn’t follow the list of poems that fourth grade teachers were obligated to follow. According to school official the poems he read were very advanced. He then started teaching in a suburban system west of Boston and quoted that the shock of going from one of the poorest schools to one of the wealthiest cannot be overstated.

From a Marxist point of view we could critic the social impact the children could have by receiving education in such poor conditions, analyze what role they will play in our future society and how the differences in class have such great influence in our society. Quoted from Antonio Gramsci all men are intellectuals, one could therefore say: but not all men have in society the function of intellectuals. In the case of these children we could argue that any individual good be smart, but don’t necessary have the right place is society to make it.
In 1988 while in a two year journey, Jonathan Kozol visited schools and spoke with children in approximately 30 neighborhoods from Illinois to D.C and from New York to San Antonio. He quoted, what startled me most-although it puzzles me that I was not prepare for this-was the remarkable degree of racial segregation that persisted almost everywhere. Most of the urban schools that he visited were 95 to 99 percent nonwhite. We could intrepid that when Kozol was puzzle by the degree of segregation that persisted makes us realize and connect what Marx quoted; that it is not the consciousness of men that determine their existence, but their social existence that determine their consciousness.
The way East St. Louis, Illinois is described in the book really gives you a sense of the lack of interest and funds giving to a poor community. East St. Louis might suggest another world. The City of 98 percent blacks, has no obstetric services, no regular trash collection, and few jobs. The city, which by night and day is clouded by the fumes that pour chemical plants. It is crystal clear that the amount of poverty and neglected that children in this neighborhoods are facing are not setup to help them be the next generation of intellectuals. Quoted from Antonio Gramsci; in the modern world, technical education, closely bound to industrial labour even at the most primitive and unqualified level, must form the basis of the new type of intellectual. We could intrepid how Gramsci express himself about primitive and unqualified level in the modern world as the new intellectuals and make a connection between the children receiving such poor, limited education and living in poverty communities also almost a another world.

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