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Renowned educator and author Jonathan Kozol to discuss "Education Under Siege: Race, Poverty, and the Mania of Testing in Our Public Schools," November 3, 2011.

POUGHKEEPSIE, NY—Jonathan Kozol, the acclaimed educator and author who the Chicago Sun-Times described as “today’s most eloquent spokesman for America’s disenfranchised,” will discuss "Education Under Siege: Race, Poverty, and the Mania of Testing in our Public Schools," on Thursday, November 3, at 5:30pm in the Vassar Chapel. Kozol is presenting the college’s biennial Elaine Lipschutz Lecture on Multicultural Issues, which is free and open to the public.
Kozol is a Harvard University graduate and Rhodes Scholar who in the 1960s abandoned plans for an academic career to become a Boston Public School teacher, chronicling his first classroom year in the milestone book Death at an Early Age. He has since devoted nearly half a century to the increasingly complex and urgent issues facing public education, and through such further titles as Savage Inequalities, Amazing Grace, and (most recently) Letters to a Young Teacher he has become the most widely read and highly honored education writer in the United States. Kozol is also the founder of the Cambridge Institute for Public Education and is working to influence policymakers to revise the punitive aspects of the federal “No Child Left Behind” law.
"Jonathan Kozol will describe the structural inequalities that have created immense challenges to public schools for decades, and that have become even more pronounced during the past decade due No Child Left Behind," explained Christopher Bjork, chair of the Vassar Education Department. Drawing from work conducted in 60 schools in 11 states over a five-year period, Kozol will present compelling evidence that, despite the promise of the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case Brown v. Board of Education of more than 50 years ago, many of today’s schools serving black and Hispanic children are spiraling backward to the segregation and inequities of the pre-Brown era.  
Kozol’s books include “Death at an Early Age (1967), the 1968 National Book Award in Science, Philosophy, and Religion; Rachel and Her Children (1988), a study of homeless mothers and their children, which received the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award for 1989 and the Conscience in Media Award of the American Society of Journalists and Authors; Savage Inequalities: Children in America’s Schools (1991), a New England Book Award winner and finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in 1992; the best-seller Amazing Grace: The Lives of Children and the Conscience of a Nation (1995), which described his visits to the South Bronx of New York, the poorest congressional district of America; The Shame of the Nation: The Restoration of Apartheid Schooling in America (2005), an exposé of the conditions he found in visiting and revisiting nearly 60 public schools around the country; and, his most recent work, Letters to a Young Teacher (2007), a correspondence with a first-year teacher at a Boston inner-city school.
Elaine Lipschutz was instrumental in the study that led in to the creation of Vassar's Department of Education in 1972. Vassar’s biennial lecture established in her name focuses on a timely topic in education, and previous speakers have included Betty Reardon (2009), Neal H. Shultz (2007), William Ayers (2005), and Carl A. Grant (2003). Lipschutz joined the Vassar faculty part-time in 1966 under the auspices of the 5 College Project, an innovative program to develop a model for teacher education in small liberal arts colleges. At the time, Lipschutz was a teacher in the nearby Arlington public school district. In 1979 she retired from the Arlington district and went on to teach full-time at Vassar until 1992.  
Jonathan Kozol’s lecture is funded by the Office of the Dean of the Faculty, and co-sponsored by Education, Religious & Spiritual Life, Sociology, Political Science, Psychology, Urban Studies, and American Culture, in partnership with the Justice for All Speakers Forum (a Hudson Valley coalition of congregations and community organizations).  

Individuals with disabilities requiring accommodations or information on accessibility should contact the Campus Activities Office at (845) 437-5370. Without sufficient notice, appropriate space and/or assistance may not be available. Directions to the campus can be found at http://www.vassar.edu/directions.

Vassar College is a highly selective, coeducational, independent, residential, liberal arts college founded in 1861

Posted by Office of Communications Monday, October 17, 2011