Oct 23, 2018 in Research

Free Review of “Savage Inequalities” By Kozol Jonathan Sample

In summary, “Savage Inequalities” is a book that was writer by Jonathan Kozol in 1991. In this book, the author Jonathan Kozol offers insight on the disparities surrounding the American educational system. From Kozol’s illustrations, the title “Savage Inequalities” fits the situation in American’s different schools; this is not only a result of class, but also the profound racial difference in the cosmopolitan American society. Consequently, in a bid to backup his claim, Kozol managed to visit both public schools with high per capita spending as well as those with low per capita spending. Most of the schools in the inner-city are characterized by overcrowding, unsanitary, understaffed, and lack of teaching resources. Surprising, there is higher taxation on Americans which is yet to elevate minority Americans in inner-city schools with horrible educational conditions. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to conduct a general review of “Savage Inequalities” by Jonathan Kozol in view of the strength of his book, arguments, assumptions, and new insights offered to the readers.    

The Strength of the Book Using Examples – Reasons For Liking “Savage Inequalities”

One of the strongest points that Kozol managed to convey in his book “savage inequalities” is the fact that low academic performance among inner-city children is caused by injustice and uncaring spirit within the society. This is typical of the common outcry that is ruining the contemporary society. In a bid to justify his claim, Kozol (1991) offered concrete examples on societal injustice thereby making his claim practical both in the ancient and contemporary society. For instance, aspects such as high rates of school dropout, problems of discipline in schools and low levels of transition from high school to college are critical demographic information that openly communicates the prevailing societal condition (Kozol, 1991). Consequently, through the above examples, it is evident that the author must have convinced the readers on the effects of vices in our human society. 

On the other hand, the fact that Kozol offered relevant examples to justify why he accused the society of lowering academic performance; is an emphasis that was deserved (Kozol, 1991). Generally, the society has not only lost its moral values, but has also hindered every single attempt by institutions such as schools from inculcating virtues that are required for the wellbeing of the society. For instance, the overcrowding in ghetto high school besides others schools is a scenario that has value. It is of great interest that Kozol managed to explore and present such scenario without fear unlike other cases where authors would mostly not dare mention such a topic (Kozol, 1991).  Naturally, the human society has lost its role not only to inculcate moral values, but also to empower educational institutions to accord knowledge to its members. However, through Kozol’s work, the readers are offered varied phenomena that serve as authoritative voices for easy understanding of the injustice and uncaring attitudes within the society’s inner-city.             

The other stride that “savage inequalities” offer to the readers is the solution to low performance in the inner-city schools. According to Kozol (1991), performance in inner-city schools can only be enhanced by bridging the gap between the poor and the rich. Such assertion is in-line with the fact that varied injustices rooted in human societies are as a result of the gap between the rich and the poor. It is true that inner-city schools are not performing well academically. However, the reason behind such low academic performance can only be understood by reading Kozol’s “savage inequalities” (Kozol, 1991). For instance, disparities such as overcrowding, old buildings, shortage of learning and teaching resources and low salaries in inner-city schools are barriers to good performance. Out of such illustration, the readers are automatically convinced that good performance is an element of varied components working together for a common good. In other words, resolving such injustice begins with a strategy which would accord both the poor and minority children an equal opportunity similar to the rich.     

Although Kozol has vividly supported his perspective on the despair that facing the inner-city, his assertions are imperfect. This is particularly owed to the fact that improving performance of the students is a complex issue. Therefore it would be unprecedented for an author like Kozol to think that such stride can merely be obtained by investing much of the tax payers’ money to educate children. Kozol should have noted that parents have a critical role on performance improvement. That is, the much interest and effort parents place in their children’s education, the much progress would such children realize in their education. Moreover, as much as Kozol admits that equalization system is aimed at using tax to support poor children in schools, the author neither offers examples of instances of equalization to justify his claims nor does he discuss other alternative remedies that are probably designed to hence performance at inner-city schools. 

Ideally, the fact that the author in one way or the other did not recognize the parents as important drivers of educational performance of children in inner-city schools is a ground for the audience to doubt the authenticity of the information presented in “savage inequalities”. Nonetheless, there is little outranging on the inequality that is presented by Kozol in his book. This is owed to the fact that that the same whistle blower ended up fighting the same stereotypes of disparities in various schools through race and societal class. For instance, the author has presented his voice such that the readers are able to comprehend both the inner-city teenagers and the studious. At the same time Kozol’s work is a reflection of farfetched assumptions which are not in agreement with popular assumptions thereby promoting much debate.           

Authors Thinking Assumption- Personal Thought On the Subject

I do concur with Kozol’s assumption that inequality in American educational schools are propagated both the American law and the racial difference. First and foremost, it would be hard for the Supreme Court to rule educational cases in favour of an equal, but separate educational opportunity for the inner-city schools and township schools if American law does not offer such categorization. Similarly, in my view, the author is justified to assume that inequality in American education is further propagated by racial difference between the white natives and non-natives. This is probably why even white children see no importance of increasing tax payment to help support education inefficiency, quality, and learning resources in inner-city schools. The fact that senior high schools students in suburban Rye, New York, did not support tax increment to promote academic opportunity and performance of other children because such move was not going to benefit them is an astonishing thought to be perceived in the society.        

Major Points of Argument in Comparison/Contrast with Current Issues

Myth of America as the Land of Opportunity: One of the major points that Kozol is arguing about in “savage inequalities” is the myth of America as the land of opportunity for the young generation. Kozol cites that from the outside, the society is made to believe that all children in American schools have a similar share of educational opportunities. However, the situation is far much above the truth as evidenced by the comparison between the neighbouring schools. For instance, Kozol (1991) cites that schools such as Martin Luther King Junior High had experienced frequent closing due to sewage while students at DuSabe High School were forced to wait for more than 16 weeks before they could learn basic skills in mechanics due to lack of an instructor.  The American opportunity mythology presented by Kozol in his book “savage inequalities” is a similar scenario that has been fostered the Americans to work so hard in a bid to realize the American dream of opportunity (Kozol, 1991). Although such a dream was created by the Americans, it is remained a dream in the contemporary society. However, very few people are cautions about such a myth; in the long run everyone in the world still envies America and strives to obtain permanent residence in the US without knowing that resources available in their native countries could be harnessed to facilitate more economic advancement than America.    

Racial Segregation: From Kozol’s argument, racial segregation is vice that is not only rooted in the American society, but also in its single institution (Kozol, 1991). For instance, there is inequality in the distribution of funds meant for various school actives. However, such disparity does not seem to bother white students; based on their perception, they have no reason to care about the inner-city students who are not receiving the best educational services. Since racial segregation has taken root in America, white students are very negative about payment of extra tax to accord inner-city schools equal educational opportunity since they would not benefit from such move (Kozol, 1991). Kozol cites that such uncaring spirit has not only promoted racial segregation in the American educational institutions, but also in the America society where even the Supreme Court admit that all children living in America should be accorded equal opportunity in a separate system. According to such worldview, money has been perceived to be an instrument of progress thereby creating a notion that giving the poor money could uplift their status. 

In a similar scenario, the contemporary society has become perverted especially on educational issues and upward mobility. For instance, it is believed that increasing opportunities for the younger generation is solely depended on according such families additional income. However, this is far much beyond the truth as far as class mobility in America is concerned. Various researches have showed that additional income in the family is neither a means of eliminating poverty or climbing the status ladder in the United States. Consequently, poverty and rise in economic status can only be realized if those in the low class are accorded equal educational opportunities with the both the middle and upper class. In other words, it is only through equality in all aspects that American would be able to eliminate racial segregation as opposed to the long standing government’s continued free support to the minority.       

Important Fact and Lessons Learnt from “Savage Inequalities”- new view/notion/view

“Savage inequalities” by Kozol offers varied insight on the myth that has for a very long time labelled America as a land of opportunity for the young generation. Based on the author’s research and justification of the injustice and uncaring attitude among the inner-city schools, the book is placed as an important resource both for those who have perceived America as a land of opportunity for the young generation and those in need of statistics to refute the belief that America is a land of opportunity for the younger generation.    

“Savage inequalities” by Kozol is an interesting book which triggered a number of lessons and assumptions in the course of my reading. First and foremost, it is evident to refute possible generational progress in America since most children in inner-city schools are experiencing low academic performance. In other words, it is unjustified for anyone to think that one generation can do better than the past one especially in the wake of disparity in education between the poor and the rich. The America society can only realize steady progress if all educational institution are accorded equal educational opportunity. 

Secondly, it is both astonishing and heart breaking to realize that racial segregation in America is propagated by both the judiciary and the society at large. It is until I read “savage inequalities” that I realized the magnitude of racial segregation in America. According to Kozol (1991), educational inequality cases have been brought to court in a bid for the inner-city schools to obtain justice. However, in all such accusations, the Supreme Court’s ruling has encourage equal but separate system; typically, such ruling seem to be the genesis of racial segregation and hindrance to upward mobility of non-white Americans.  

Besides insightful lesson, reading “savage inequalities” by Kozol has left a new thought on how the American government can boost opportunity among the inner-city schools. That is, all ineffective educational programs should be eliminated and replaced with programs that focus on empowering the disadvantaged, offering better teachers and resources in inner-city schools. In addition to this strategy, the federal government should be ensure that resources are relocated from affluent elderly to the young struggling families living in the inner-city to help them equip educational institutions and increase their productivity. However, such strategy should not be perceived to imply that the government’s efforts to combat educational inequality in America have failed, but rather it implies that there are certain misplaced priorities such as fraud, abuse and waste in education which need to be addressed. 

In conclusion, it is much astonishing that the inequalities are presently stronger in American than they were during the time when Kozol wrote “savage inequalities”. In view of such scenario, there is truth in Kozol’s assertion that "In certain ways, "it's harder now because in those days it was a clear enemy you had to face, a man in a hood and not a statistician. NO one could persuade you that you were to blame. Now the choices seem like they are left to you and, if you make the wrong choice, you are made to understand you are to blame" (Kozol, 1991, p. 26). The America society seems to have inculcated a culture two separate nations where children are being trained to lead two separate lifestyles despite the fact that they are all living in America. However, with people such as Kozol and the insights brought through “savage inequalities” the profound segregation and inequality that has existed in America can courageously be challenged, fought, and changed for the good of the entire Americans.  


  1. Kozol, J. (1991). Savage inequalities: Children in America’s schools. New York: Broadway Paperbacks. 

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