Education: “Savage Inequalities” by Jonathan Kozol

Topic: Education Issues
Words: 899 Pages: 3


The work being criticized is the book “Savage and Inequalities,’’ written by Jonathan Kozol. Kozol discusses in the book the inequalities within America’s education system. His thesis is that significant inequalities in funding between affluent suburban and urban schools are morally unforgivable and chiefly accountable for the immense gap present in academic accomplishment by children in urban and suburban schools. The suburban schools have wealthy resources, staffing, and overall safety comprising white and upper/middle-class students, unlike urban school districts, which primarily comprise minority and poor students. The steps that will be used to prove arguments being raised regarding the book written by Jonathan Kozol will include a summary, argumentative claims, evidence, refutation, and evaluation.

Summary of the Work

In the book “Savage and Inequalities,’’ Kozol compared the urban schools, primarily black, Hispanic, and Asian, with suburban schools, mainly white, and the inequality between these different institutions. The author illuminates the vast differences in income inequality and racial inequality. He argues that the school funding and resources are widely unequal, and it’s because public education is being funded by local real estate, which white people primarily own. Therefore, the author’s principal argument entails numerous educational opportunities among poor and affluent communities deepened by racial and ethnic prejudice. Kozol asserts that while discrimination might be prohibited in the United States, the economic factors have developed a tiered educational system that prepares prosperous learners for success while the remaining struggle to get out of poverty.

Kozol (2012) argues that American learning institutions suffer due to their location in disadvantaged neighborhoods like East St. Louis, an overcrowded and polluted region without optimism for development. Kozol illustrates how the communities are impacted by crime and economic problems, just like pollution from sewage from industrial firms seeping through schools and playgrounds.

He also researches different school systems, such as North Lawndale and Winnetka, neighborhoods in the greater Chicago area. In North Lawndale, he perceives a miserable future for elementary students where he anticipates that most learners are more likely to go to prison than graduate schools (Kozol, 2012). The deficiencies in the school were aggravated by magnet programs where parents could send their kids to better-performing schools. The system permitted only privileged persons to escape from disadvantaged learning institutions rather than advancing them to become better.

Main Argument

Considering competition is an essential aspect of education in American life, Kozol perceives that the education system provides unfair privileges and merits to specific groups depending on their ethnicity and socio-economic class. Poorer schools are affected by the issue of job training more than those that are wealthier because these schools tend to underscore job skills over academic preparation for higher learning. People in poor schools only believe that their learners will benefit most from those job skills. However, the belief only presumes that those learners are less probable than their peers and deserve the provision of fewer resources and attention.

With this mentality, black students become prone to problems. It prevents them from economic enhancement opportunities such as colleges as it makes them harder to get into the best tertiary levels with their poor high school education background.

The author argued that overcrowding and crumbling infrastructure in schools were unfair competition associated with larger patterns of unequal allocation of public resources. However, Kozol fails to refer to sociological wealth knowledge that explains educational inequalities or association of school, society, and institutional factors add to demerits students face from disadvantaged backgrounds. The author does not present the essential role of underfinancing schools, urban politics, less skilled teachers, and curriculum tracking for quality education but instead focuses on unbalanced funding. Kozol fails to join demographic and sociological factors that impact educational quality and instead challenges readers to formulate a broader perspective on available ways to resolve the issues.

Although the author’s analysis is difficult to prove, I can still relate to my perspective on how poor communities are disadvantaged. Being a black immigrant and living in a humble family, I was up to pursuing my higher education. My mother was responsible for working and supporting the family, and the language barrier prevented my family from helping me out with homework. Like East St, Louis city described by Kozol (2012), poor economic conditions discourage learning. It is why in our neighborhood, nobody cared if, after high school, one should pursue a college education. Kozol believed that competition has failed in the present academic system due to resources not being equally allocated to schools and students to facilitate equity and a better learning environment. He reiterates that the issues affecting education systems are not getting resolved anytime because winners will always be among groups and losers in different groups.


In conclusion, the book describes that the educational system still experiences inequalities that impact learning, and students’ race is often perceived as an indicator of resource allocation. The author argues that there is no achievement of equity in the educational system due to the complex issues and values of particular communities. The variation of the education system has also been contributed by cultures among communities in which those who create and put advanced educational opportunities achieve more excellence than those who are cynical. Increasing funds cannot change the culture of a community, and withdrawal of funds hinders competition and school development. Further studies can be conducted to understand how other factors influence the educational system besides overcrowding and funds.


Kozol, J. (2012). Savage inequalities: Children in America’s schools. Crown.

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