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Death at an Early Age by Jonathan Kozol
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Death at an Early Age

by Jonathan Kozol

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I think the subtitle says it all; a nonfiction account of a first-time fourth grade teacher in a less than stellar school system in Roxbury, Massachusetts. "They had desks and a teacher, but they really did not have a class" (p 29). While Kozol is talking about a physical space (he had to share a large auditorium with three, sometimes four other activities (including drama and band practices), I really think he was also referring to the lack of togetherness as a group. There wasn't a sense of community. There wasn't a unified eagerness to learn. Nothing bound them to the reason they were there. This is to say nothing of the lack of support Kozol received as an educator from his peers and administration. He was constantly criticized for the amount of time, resources and energy he gave to "the Negro student." Death at an Early Age is a continuous report of the different instances of abuse and neglect the students endured, culminating with Kozol's unjustified dismissal after the inclusion of a Langston Hughes poem, "The Landlord." ( )
  SeriousGrace | Nov 7, 2011 |
A hero of education. Too bad we can't listen to him and his kind to get something going with regard to education in this country. When will we ever learn that improving the lives of the least fortunate through authentic education is the answer to most ofl ( )
  Debielk | Jun 26, 2011 |
This book is as much about people's ability to deceive themselves as it is about conditions in the Boston Public Schools for black children during the 1960s. I enjoyed the psychological profiles of the Reading Teacher and the school superintendent and members of the school committee. ( )
  patience_crabstick | Dec 9, 2008 |
The experiences of a young idealistic teacher in the Boston Public school system. This was one of the books that influenced my decision to become a teacher; it is powerfully written, sure in its assumptions, and often hits the nail on the head. It is a heartbreaking book to read in some ways, especially to see how the black students in the system were so subject to a policy of benign neglect designed to make them acceptive of their lot in life, or at least desirous of bettering themselves without rocking the boat. ( )
  burnit99 | Feb 4, 2007 |
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A young teacher offers a firsthand account of the destructive effects of segregated Boston schools and their teachers on the African American children who attend them.

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