Education in America: Class, Race and Gender Inequality

Jonathan Kozol explores the problems affecting youngsters, particularly in their pursuit of education, in the video "Education in America." Jonathan addresses a number of issues, such as social injustice, inequality in educational standards and infrastructure, and social difference. Even though Jonathan received his education at Harvard, he confesses in the film that he was unable to teach when given the opportunity to do so, more specifically that he was unable to deal with youngsters from underprivileged neighborhoods. In his essay "Education in America," he presents his perception of the stark differences in educational levels between children from wealthy and poor homes. The type of schools is also shown as being different and when Jonathan admits that he had to teach a huge class of about 35 children which implies that there are schools in America where the number of children in the class is significantly lower. The fact that some American children are given money to pay for their education while others are not able to access the basic education for lack of finances demonstrates that there is a form of injustice towards the poor. Jonathan Kozol has become an advocate for these poor children who cannot afford education and he makes a strong appeal by saying that denying these children education is a form of social injustice that is irreversible “Education in America”. There is also the mention of the children who have to face challenges of epidemics in the poor environments and yet they go to school. This means the government is not keen on ensuring the children get proper healthcare so as not to affect their education.

The three points that I found interesting in this video are the nature of teachers who are taken to teach the children of the poor Black and Latino, the social difference between the rich and the poor villagers in the suburbs, and the role of teachers and preachers in the education of the poor. It is interesting to note the confession of how Jonathan got into teaching and the qualifications that were considered before he was allowed to teach the children in the poor suburbs. He is given an opportunity to teach before he is actually trained meaning that the period prior to his full training he gave services that were unsatisfactory “Education in America”. It surprises that within the same country there are two different categories of education standards.

The other point of interest is the social difference between the rich and the poor. Although Rogers is inspired by Jonathan Kozol’s book, he is shown in the speech as completely surprised that there are some children who live the life described in Jonathan’s book. While education is essentially a right for every citizen, Jonathan Kozol brings in his speech a category of people who need constant motivation and encouragement meaning they work under extremely difficult circumstances “Education in America”. While the preachers are known to encourage others, Jonathan says in this video that he has had to encourage both teachers and preachers from these poor communities just to keep their hope alive.

While I expect America as a developed world to exhibit equality in aspects of education, I am surprised that there exists such a great difference in standards and delivery. The film is generally informative and objective. I liked the way Jonathan Kozol is brave in discussing the educational inequalities in America.

Work cited

Kozol, Jonathan. “Jonathan Kozol: Education in America [Full].” YouTube, YouTube, 12 Aug. 2014,

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