Writer Jonathan Kozol to speak at IU East

Jonathan Kozol’s first nonfiction book, “Death at an Early Age,” was an idealistic and angry account of the year he spent teaching fourth grade in a poor black community in Boston.

Forty-five years later, Kozol is no longer young but he’s still idealistic and still outraged by injustice and inequality. And his subject remains the same: The devastation that’s visited on America’s children by poverty, segregation and neglected schools.

JonathanKozol-IUE_blogKozol will be at Indiana University East on April 3 to kick off a community conversation about education and social justice. His lecture, “Children and Teachers under Siege: Race, Poverty and the Public Schools,” will take place at 7 p.m. in Vivian Auditorium, located in Whitewater Hall.

The talk is likely to appeal to an audience well beyond the campus – especially to teachers, social workers and others who care about schools and children.

“Through this visit,” IU East sociologist Wazir Mohamed said in a campus news release, “we hope to begin a conversation among the people and all the interest groups in the community on the quality of public education and how we can begin as a community to understand the problems faced by poor households, and address needs with regard to accessing the best educational resources.”

Kozol is the author of “Rachel and Her Children,” “Savage Inequalities,” “Amazing Grace,” “Ordinary Resurrections,” “The Shame of a Nation” and “Letter to a Young Teacher.” His latest book, “Fire in the Ashes,” continues a chronicle that began in the 1990s, when Kozol befriended and began writing about a small group of young children in New York’s South Bronx. Some have overcome the obstacles they faced; many have not.

“Most of all,” Chuck Leddy writes in the Boston Globe, “’Fire in the Ashes’ is an account of struggle, about kids trying to get good educations and good jobs that will lift them out of some of this nation’s worst neighborhoods, like Mott Haven in the Bronx … Throughout, Kozol connects with these kids and young adults on a human level, refusing to step on to some political soapbox.”


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