False Prophet Who’s to blame for urban teacher flight: George W. Bush or Jonathan Kozol? By Sol Stern, City Journal 1 October 2007But if teachers are dispirited in inner-city schools, it's likely to be the kids themselves causing it, by verbally and physically abusing the teachers. Here's the what Joshua Kaplowitz, who used to be idealistic, wrote in 2003:
Jonathan Kozol has a new education book out, which means that he hasn’t been eating. Kozol’s books always come backed by a PR campaign portraying him as someone who courageously exposes the racism of America’s inner-city public schools and even suffers physically alongside the people he writes about. For example, when Amazing Grace, Kozol’s 1995 book about poor minority kids trapped in lousy schools in the South Bronx, first appeared, the author had ”lost 30 pounds and had begun suffering from asthma, like so many of the people who live” in the neighborhood, the New York Times reported.
With his new book, Letters to a Young Teacher–consisting of letters to a (possibly imaginary) first-grade Boston public school instructor–Kozol is again winning press plaudits, this time by actually fasting. In a glowing Boston Globe profile, columnist Sam Allis observed that Kozol ”has been on a partial fast since the Supreme Court in late June all but banned voluntary school desegregation plans. His belt is working overtime to keep his pants up. I tell him he should eat.” A few weeks later, though, Kozol’s fans and friends received a somewhat different spin on the fast. In a Huffington Post article, Kozol described his refusal to eat solid food as a ”personal act of protest” against George W. Bush’s ”racially punitive” No Child Left Behind education law. Kozol claimed to have shed 29 pounds so far.
Numerous new friends and acquaintances who have taught in D.C.’s inner-city schools—some from Teach for America, some not—report the same outrageous discipline problems that turned them from educators into U.N. peacekeepers.
I’ve learned that an epidemic of violence is raging in elementary schools nationwide, not just in D.C. A recent Philadelphia Inquirer article details a familiar pattern—kindergartners punching pregnant teachers, third-graders hitting their instructors with rulers.
Pennsylvania and New Jersey have reported nearly 30 percent increases in elementary school violence since 1999, and many school districts have established special disciplinary K-6 schools. In New York City, according to the New York Post, some 60 teachers recently demonstrated against out-of-control pupil mayhem, chanting, ”Hey, hey, ho, ho; violent students must go.” [Stop The Violence' : Fearful Teachers Protest Students' Reign Of Terror,By Carl Campanile Education Reporter Date: November 23, 2002]Kids who stab each other, use teachers as shields in fights, bang on doors to disrupt classes, and threaten to ”kick out that baby” from a pregnant teacher have created a ”climate of terror,” the Post reports.
[How I Joined Teach for America—and Got Sued for $20 Million, City Journal, Winter 2003]