Savage Inequalities by Jonathan Kozol Analysis

Kozol feels that the way in which we fund public schools is arcane and unfair. Since most areas in the US rely on property tax in order to fund education, the poorer districts are at a disadvantage over the wealthy districts because of lack of income. This is a problem because the wealthy schools keep getting wealthier and the poor schools keep getting poorer. For example Kozol points to the inner city schools of Chicago in comparison with a suburban high school (New Trier). He states that the schools like New Trier receive about $90000 more dollars a year than the inner city schools, when the inner city schools could really use that money to fix up the facilities, improve the curriculum, and provide the teachers with better salaries and resources. If you take a look at the arguments being made on pages 54-56 you will see that Kozol points specifically to the property tax as a problem in education funding. “The very poor communities place high priority on education, and they often tax themselves at higher rates than do the very.

The problem with this is that even though the lower class is taking more money and trying to put it towards education, it is not going to even out because the suburbs have more money coming back to them that they can throw at schools in order to finance education. He also states on these pages that consistent inequality of education will lead to continued inequality all through the loves of children of urban areas. I have to agree with Kozol and his findings with respect to property tax because of how I was raised. I have never been in a situation where I had to settle for the “second best” when it came to education. I was fortunate enough to attend a school system that offered a wide array of opportunities and had lots of property tax money to distribute among the schools and curriculums to keep it interesting, innovative, and exciting. I agree that there is an unfair burden that hangs over those not only in really urban areas, but also in extremely rural cases as in the school district 20 minutes down the street from me.

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This is an issue that appeared a lot in Kozol’s discussion and will be brushed upon again here and there later on in the The second thing that is discussed that directly relates to what Kozol targeted as the problems with education and funding, is the possible things that we can do to change the way that things are handled in these situations. He suggests that a property tax is not the solution to the problem because it is not doing anything for the poor districts except setting them farther behind the really wealthy districts. He feels that if we can offer more money to the really poor districts to help them along, then they might be able to stand a chance against the schools that are already so far ahead.

A property tax only takes the poorer districts and sets them farther and farther behind the richer districts giving them no way of really catching up and Kozol is saying that financing education in a way that helps the urban schools compete in the “great education race” is something not something that should be done, but something that has to be done. The third and fourth issues that I have to deal with both tie in with one another. They relate to the great debate of Liberal versus Conservative. The things that Kozol suggests about what should be done reflects upon the idea that he is a bleeding heart liberal. A bleeding heart liberal is someone that will give to every cause in some way, shape, or form in order to help them solve the problems that they are faced with and more importantly get the message out about their cause. He wants what is the best for everyone, not just one specific group.

Everyone is fundamentally entitled to an education that provides them with great opportunities for when they are faced with problems in the “real world”. His view is on that most Liberals share with respect to education and education finance. The liberals believe that things should benefit everyone in society as a whole regardless of race, creed, education, income, where you love, and so on. They believe that equal funding is absolutely necessary in order to ensure everyone to the same kind of education. The Liberal motto could be best summarized as “I have this money and I need to spend it to help better society.” The Conservative on the other hand is the total opposite. They do not really give a care about what is good for society, they only care about what is best for themselves. They feel that a legislation such as property tax is not a bad thing because everyone benefits from it even if it is not in the most equal ways. Their motto could essentially reflect something along the lines of “I have money and it is all mine, nothing really matters except my The final point that I have to discuss is my opinion on the ideas that Kozol presents.

First off I have to admit that I have read this book about five times and love it. It is a coffee table book at my house. Just by telling you that piece of information and by hearing what I have had to discuss with respect to the issues at hand in Savage Inequalities I can honestly tell you that I am a Liberal. There is nothing that any Conservative could say to me that could make me change my mind about the way that I feel education should be funded. The idea of voucher systems in which parents can obtain a slip of paper that will take their child out of a poor school and put them into a private school or a better public school is ridiculous. This system takes away money from the districts that actually need it and gives it back to the districts that would not hurt one bit if they had to go without an extra $50000 a year or so.

Another thing that I also see as a big problem with education in urban areas is the idea of magnet schools. As quoted by Kozol from the Chicago Tribune magnet schools are essentially “private school systems operated within the public schools.” The idea of a magnet school is to take the students that are from richer areas and send them to a school that provides them with a better atmosphere and a greater chance for success. The poorer students in the city have to settle for the poor schools because they are not usually included in the magnet school system, nor are they included in the arcane voucher system. In conclusion through the reading of the selected sections of Savage Inequalities as well as through my personal experience in the education system, I have demonstrated the problem with the education system today and what has to be done.


  1. Kozol, Johnathon. Savage Inequalities. Harper Collins: New York 1991.

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