In the passion of the civil rights campaigns of 1964 and 1965, Jonathan Kozol gave up the prospect of a promising and secure career within the academic world, moved from Harvard Square into a poor black neighborhood of Boston, and became a fourth grade teacher.
Jonathan Kozol has since devoted nearly his entire life to the challenge of providing equal opportunity within our public schools to every child, of whatever racial origin or economic level. Jonathan is, at the present time, the most widely read and highly honored education writer in America.
Among the major works that Jonathan Kozol has written is “Rachel and Her Children,” a study of homeless mothers and their children, which received the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award for 1989 and Savage Inequalities, which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in 1992.
Jonathan Kozol’s 1995 best-seller, “Amazing Grace: The Lives of Children and the Conscience of a Nation,” was featured on the Oprah Winfrey Show and received the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award in 1996, an honor previously granted to the works of Langston Hughes and Dr. Martin Luther King. Nobel Laureate Toni Morrison wrote that “Amazing Grace” was “good in the old-fashioned sense: beautiful and morally worthy.” Elie Wiesel said, “Jonathan’s struggle is noble. His outcry must shake our nation out of its guilty indifference.”
When he is not with children and teachers in their classrooms, or at universities speaking to our future teachers, Jonathan Kozol is likely to be found in Washington, where he has spent much of the past two years attempting to convince his friends within the Senate leadership to radically revise the punitive federal testing law No Child Left Behind.
Jonathan Kozol received a summa cum laude degree in English literature from Harvard in 1958, after which he was awarded a Rhodes scholarship to Oxford University. He has been called “today’s most eloquent spokesman for America’s disenfranchised.” Though Jonathan believes that children speak most eloquently for themselves and in his book, “Death at an Early Age, Savage Inequalities,” we hear their testimony.