Part primer, part polemic, part petition -- Kozol's book is a clear-eyed and hard-headed description of the Free School...

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FREE SCHOOLS

Part primer, part polemic, part petition -- Kozol's book is a clear-eyed and hard-headed description of the Free School program in which he has been actively engaged in the last six years -- what they should not be (cf. the hang-loose dilletantism of Bhaerman and Denker's No Particular Place to Go), what they should be (small, decentralized, localized even if vulnerable to appropriation by special interests) and what they should offer (a ""child centered"" ""open structured"" ""individualized"" ""unoppressive"" experience cum education). There are the peripheral problems such as harassment by local Building Code representatives; there is the much more basic one of health, and non-existent medical facilities in the ghetto environment; always there is the practical if perhaps limited ideal of what a school can achieve within these givens -- Kozol's ""issue for the children that I have in mind is not success: it is survival."" The hard skills -- reading, writing, numbers -- still count and in almost all cases can be taught (without gerbils and macrame). And almost the last third of the book deals with the question of Free School funding, subsidies, and franchises with an all too wary realization of the self-interested provenance of most handouts whether it's big business or bigger foundation money. It is not as susceptibly personal (i.e. potentially popular) a book as Death at an Early Age. But Kozol's thinking has been indurated since then and it sharpens the discussion which never lets you forget for a minute those ""real-life"" exigencies and tempers his idealism with pragmatism. ""There is a certain kind of revolutionary courage, I believe, in fighting for a new world and still helping men to live without ordeal within the one they are stuck with."" The courage is his -- so is the sustained commitment.

Pub Date: Feb. 29, 1972

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1972