October 19, 2004
Director of Media Relations
AMHERST, Mass.-Jonathan Kozol, public school teacher, award-winning writer and educational activist, will speak about "The Artificial Meritocracy: The Silence of our Academic Leaders on the Savage Inequalities and Deepening Resegregation of the U.S. Public Schools" on Thursday, Nov. 11, at 8 p.m. in Johnson Chapel at Amherst College. Sponsored by the Office of the President and the Victor S. Johnson Lecture Fund, Kozol's talk is free and open to the public.
A working activist and also a perceptive theorist, Kozol documented his first year as a teacher in Death at an Early Age: The Destruction of the Hearts and Minds of Negro Children in the Boston Public Schools (1967), for which he received the National Book Award in 1968. He speaks from first-hand experiences that humanize social issues. For 40 years, Kozol has worked to expose racial inequalities in the education system and speak against the plight of disadvantaged children, bringing the plight of students in under-funded urban schools to the attention of the nation.
His literary work addresses the major educational problems connected to poverty, hunger and illiteracy. Kozol has written several award-winning books, including The Night is Dark and I am Far from Home (1975), Children of the Revolution: A Yankee Teacher in the Cuban Schools (1978), Illiterate America (1985) and Amazing Grace: the Lives of Children and the Conscience of a Nation (1995).