Jonathan Kozol, a nationally recognized expert on education and New York Times bestselling author, will deliver a lecture at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 7, in Herrick Chapel. The lecture is free and open to the public.
Kozol has devoted most of his life to the challenge of providing equal opportunity within our public schools to every child, of whatever racial origin or economic level. He is considered by many to be the most widely read and highly honored education writer in America.
Kozol’s lecture will address the continuing and growing resegregation of minority children in America’s schools, and how the rising charter school movement actually exacerbates these trends. He also will explain why meeting the needs of poor students of all races is fundamental to the future of our country. In addition, he will discuss why his work matters in predominantly white communities like Grinnell.
“Mr. Kozol has broad and deep experience with the United States education system, and it will be a privilege to hear his insights,” says Grinnell College Life Trustee Penny Bender Sebring ’64. “I am pleased to welcome him to Grinnell.”
Sebring is co-founder of the Grinnell Careers in Education Professions program, which sponsors Kozol’s lecture along with the Office of the President and the Rosenfield Program in Public Affairs, International Relations, and Human Rights.
After graduating from Harvard and studying at Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar in the 1960s, Kozol taught school in a poor black neighborhood of Boston. He won the 1968 National Book Award for his first book, Death at an Early Age, which was based on the journal kept during his first year as a teacher.
His 1995 bestseller, Amazing Grace: The Lives of Children and the Conscience of a Nation, received the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award in 1996, an honor Kozol shares with Langston Hughes (1954 winner) and Martin Luther King Jr. (1955).
Ten years later, Kozol exposed the conditions he found in nearly 60 public schools in 30 different districts in The Shame of the Nation, which appeared on the New York Times bestseller list the week it was published. In this book, he concluded that inner-city children were more isolated racially than at any time since federal courts began dismantling the landmark ruling in Brown v. Board of Education.
His latest book, Fire in the Ashes, has drawn widespread critical acclaim. This book tracks inner-city children from infancy to young adulthood, showcasing stories of triumph and tragedy.
Grinnell welcomes and encourages the participation of people with disabilities. Accommodation requests may be made to Conference Operations at 641-269-3235 or calendar[at]grinnell[dot]edu.