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 First reaction to Savage Ineqalities 
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I have just started Kozol’s Savage Inequalities, and I love it. My first reaction has been how can we have such discrepancies in our school systems and not do anything about it? The book has also struck a cord with me because I grew up in the suburbs of Chicago. My sister lives in the city, and we often talk about what she will do when she has children (she and her husband don’t make much money; they can not afford private school). She has said, I will never send them to the public schools here. It reminded me of the section in the book about the Mayor and city officials making similar remarks about their own children. Honestly, I don’t think I would want to send my kids to an environment of desolation as the schools in the city are described. So… what do we do then to make these poverty stricken schools better? How do we address the racial segregation this economic division creates in the schools?

I think one of the main problems is that as long as you’re not in the situation you ignore it. I asked my husband (he is from the Chicago suburbs also) if he had heard of East St. Louis. He said, “The high school has a really good football team, but the town is run down and kind of seedy.â€

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April Eichmiller


Thu Aug 24, 2006 6:59 am
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Oh April...I totally agree with you. I was just able to get the book yesterday, and I started reading it today at work, and I think I'm really going to like it. I read the first page and a half and was furious (yeah, I guess that's the sign of a good book). Thirteen teachers in a year!? Are you kidding me?! I don't care what year it was, how can that possibly be acceptable? How can teachers and administrators, who are educated to educate, ever stand for that type of environment in a school?

I admit I'm not posting much more than ranting, because since I'm at work, I haven't gotten very far yet. However, I had to share my first thoughts, especially when I remembered what you had written. I think this is going to be a very eye opening, albeit depressing, book. I am anxious to see what else he has to say, because he got my attention imediately!

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Nicki Boyette


Fri Aug 25, 2006 1:03 pm
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I finished the first chapter last night and I am speechless. Maybe I'm just that naive, but I can not believe that this was in the United States. Like Safir Ahmed, the reporter, said - I could understand these circumstances in Calcutta. I've been to Bolivia twice - I could understand things like this happening there. Not condone, certainly, but at least understand. I know that we have some terrible things happening in cities in this country, but I never imagined that things could be like that here. There are no words to describe the shock, dismay, outrage, depression - the wealth of emotions that those conditions bring out in me. Frustration, because what can be done to change it? Frustration because it was allowed to get that terrible in the first place.
Again, I will be the first to admit that perhaps I've been looking at our country through rose colored glasses. I knew that just because we are the US doesn't make us strangers to abhorrent living conditions, but I did not know that things were this bad.

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Nicki Boyette


Sat Aug 26, 2006 2:03 pm
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I believe "out of sight, out of mind" is a proper phrase to attach to what we're discovering as a result of Kozol's book. I didn't realize it because I don't see it every day. In fact, I read this book in undergrad so I knew the facts. Working in public education for nine years since that time, it has still been "out of sight, out of mind." I think educators are so overworked that it's hard to see the big picture sometimes. It's hard to look beyond our classroom walls - or the walls of our school or school district - to realize how unfair public education can be.

One thing that I do see everyday is that principals will fight tooth and nail within a school district to ensure equity for their respective schools ... and normally, it's all about money (i.e. "School A has three reading specialists, why do I only get two?"). And, I think that's a valiant fight. It's just a shame that we have to spend our time doing that. Scarce resources cause a great deal of stress.

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Rena Powers


Sun Aug 27, 2006 12:37 pm
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