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Savage Inequalities by Jonathan Kozol



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    . Kozol feels that the way in which we fund public schools is arcane and unfair (54). 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. 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.

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


    Savage Inequalities by Jonathan Kozol. (2018, Jul 04). Retrieved from

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