False Prophet Whoâ€™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 hasnâ€™t been eating. Kozolâ€™s books always come backed by a PR campaign portraying him as someone who courageously exposes the racism of Americaâ€™s inner-city public schools and even suffers physically alongside the people he writes about. For example, when Amazing Grace, Kozolâ€™s 1995 book about poor minority kids trapped in lousy schools in the South Bronx, first appeared, the author had â€?lost 30 pounds and had begun suffering from asthma, like so many of the people who liveâ€? in the neighborhood, the New York Times reported.
With his new book, Letters to a Young Teacherâ€”consisting of letters to a (possibly imaginary) first-grade Boston public school instructorâ€”Kozol is again winning press plaudits, this time by actually fasting. In a glowing Boston Globe profile, columnist Sam Allis observed that Kozol â€?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.â€? A few weeks later, though, Kozolâ€™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 â€?personal act of protestâ€? against George W. Bushâ€™s â€?racially punitiveâ€? 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.â€™s inner-city schoolsâ€“some from Teach for America, some notâ€“report the same outrageous discipline problems that turned them from educators into U.N. peacekeepers.
Iâ€™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 patternâ€“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, â€?Hey, hey, ho, ho; violent students must go.â€? [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 â€?kick out that babyâ€? from a pregnant teacher have created a â€?climate of terror,â€? the Post reports.
[How I Joined Teach for Americaâ€“and Got Sued for $20 Million, City Journal, Winter 2003]