What Year Is It?

Illiteracy in any land as well-informed and wealthy as the U.S.A. … is not an error. It is not an accident. There is no way that it could be an accident or error. Illiteracy among the poorest people in our population is a logical consequence of the kinds of schools we run, the cities that starve them, the demagogues who segregate them, and the wealthy people who escape them altogether to enroll their kids in better funded, up-to-date, and more proficient institutions. It is a consequence, too, of pedagogic class selection which for many decades has regarded certain sectors of the population as the proper persons to perform those unattractive labors which no man or woman would elect to do if he or she received the preparation for more lucrative and challenging employment. Finally, it is the consequence of the illiterate conditions of the parents of poor children – parents, in turn, who have been denied all recourse for self-liberation by the absence of a conscientious government initiative on their behalf.

Jonathan Kozol, Illiterate America (1985)


One Comment to “What Year Is It?”

  1. “What Year is it?”

    From the close of the (Civil) war until 1876, was the period of uncertain groping and temporary relief. There were army schools, missions schools and schools of the Freeman’s Bureau in chaotic disarrangement seeking system and cooperation.
    W.E.B. DuBois, The Souls of Black Folk (1903)


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