THE NIGHT IS DARK AND I AM FAR FROM HOME by Jonathan Kozol

THE NIGHT IS DARK AND I AM FAR FROM HOME

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

Jonathan Kozol was one of those few eloquent, anguished teachers of the late '60's who forced our awareness of the early death our educational system deals to ghetto youngsters. How sad then, with none of the conditions he protested changed, that his unabated pain and outrage here, his need to remind us again and again that our schools are structured to serve the state and perpetuate the status quo, will be seen as shrill, naive and more than a little tiresome. Kozol literally cannot sit in a well-appointed dining room, public or private, without agonizing over the misery and poverty that subsidize his hosts, and he remains incredulous that the rest of us can relax nightly in our segregated havens after a day spent teaching and ""caring"" about ghetto children or researching social injustice. Except for his obsessive documentation of grief, pain and hunger in the slums, most of this is about the systematic desensitizing of the children of the privileged so that they will not question or upset the existing balance. (The ""joylessness"" of their education does not concern him and he is especially bitter about the open classroom and other reforms which are merely more sophisticated and devious means of manipulation and about the classroom ""research projects"" and ""discussions"" of issues which are just a conscience-soothing way to avoid action. Kozol seems to believe that if these children were to undergo a more humanizing education they would voluntarily give up their privilege, and that in fact they now have the power to end injustice simply by refusing en masse to accept the superior college, medical and other facilities because these are not available to the poor. He's right of course about our lobotomized moral sense and probably has no choice but to keep on screaming, even if his upper-case and italicized accusations of EVIL fall on anesthetized ears.

Pub Date: Oct. 6th, 1975
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin