Top 100

Top 80 Jonathan Kozol Quotes (2023 Update)

Jonathan Kozol Quote: “False hope is worse than despair.”
Jonathan Kozol Quote: “Pick battles big enough to matter, small enough to win.”
Jonathan Kozol Quote: “During the decades after Brown v. Board of Education there was terrific progress. Tens of thousands of public schools were integrated racially. During that time the gap between black and white achievement narrowed.”
Jonathan Kozol Quote: “The cause of homelessness is lack of housing.”
Jonathan Kozol Quote: “The first ten, twelve or fifteen years of life are excavated of inherent moral worth in order to accommodate a regimen of basic training for the adult years that many of the poorest children may not even live to know.”
Jonathan Kozol Quote: “A dream does not die on its own. A dream is vanquished by the choices ordinary people make about real things in their own lives...”
Jonathan Kozol Quote: “Childhood is not merely basic training for utilitarian adulthood. It should have some claims upon our mercy, not for its future value to the economic interests of competitive societies but for its present value as a perishable piece of life itself.”
Jonathan Kozol Quote: “Apartheid does not happen spontaneously, like bad weather conditions.”
Jonathan Kozol Quote: “An awful lot of people come to college with this strange idea that there’s no longer segregation in America’s schools, that our schools are basically equal; neither of these things is true.”
Jonathan Kozol Quote: “I encourage teachers to speak in their own voices. Don’t use the gibberish of the standards writers.”
Jonathan Kozol Quote: “I wrote the first book, and I thought people would say: ‘Separate and unequal schools in the City of Boston? I didn’t know that. Let’s go out and fix it.’”
Jonathan Kozol Quote: “Equity, after all, does not mean simply equal funding. Equal funding for unequal needs is not equality.”
Jonathan Kozol Quote: “More money is put into prisons than into schools. That, in itself, is the description of a nation bent on suicide. I mean, what is more precious to us than our own children? We are going to build a lot more prisons if we do not deal with the schools and their inequalities.”
Jonathan Kozol Quote: “East St. Louis-which the local press refers to as “an inner city without an outer city”-has some of the sickest children in America. Of 66 cities in Illinois, East St. Louis ranks first in fetal death, first in premature birth, and third in infant health.”
Jonathan Kozol Quote: “Unless we have the wealth to pay for private education, we are compelled by law to go to public school – and to the public school in our district. Thus the state, by requiring attendance but refusing to require equity, effectively requires inequality. Compulsory inequity, perpetuated by state law, too frequently condemns our children to unequal lives.”
Jonathan Kozol Quote: “The ones I pity are the ones who never stick out their neck for something they believe, never know the taste of moral struggle, and never have the thrill of victory.”
Jonathan Kozol Quote: “When I was teaching in the 1960s in Boston, there was a great deal of hope in the air. Martin Luther King Jr. was alive, Malcolm X was alive; great, great leaders were emerging from the southern freedom movement.”
Jonathan Kozol Quote: “Young children give us glimpses of some things that are eternal.”
Jonathan Kozol Quote: “If you grow up in the South Bronx today or in south-central Los Angeles or Pittsburgh or Philadelphia, you quickly come to understand that you have been set apart and that there’s no will in this society to bring you back into the mainstream.”
Jonathan Kozol Quote: “Now, I don’t expect what I write to change things. I think I write now simply as a witness. This is how it is. This is what we have done. This is what we have permitted.”
Jonathan Kozol Quote: “Children sometimes understand things that most grown-ups do not see.”
Jonathan Kozol Quote: “Racial segregation has come back to public education with a vengeance.”
Jonathan Kozol Quote: “Political struggle is the most important thing any of us can do as a citizen in a democracy; and that means the old joining the young to fight for elemental kinds of justice.”
Jonathan Kozol Quote: “I feel, in the end, as if everything I’ve done has been a failure.”
Jonathan Kozol Quote: “The greatest difference between now and 1964, when I began teaching, is that public policy has pretty much eradicated the dream of Martin Luther King.”
Jonathan Kozol Quote: “Separate and unequal didn’t work 100 years ago. It will not work today.”
Jonathan Kozol Quote: “You need massive recruitment to tell the poorest of the poor what is possible.”
Jonathan Kozol Quote: “Children long for this – a voice, a way of being heard – but many sense that there is no one in the world to hear their words, so they are drawn to ways of malice. If they cannot sing, they scream. They are vessels of the spirit but the spirit sometimes is entombed; it can’t get out, and so they smash it!”
Jonathan Kozol Quote: “I find I like to talk with her as often as I can. It feels to me as if I’m standing with her on a very solid piece of ground after a tornado’s passed. Strength, it seems, in somebody who had a lot of courage to begin with, can at last renew itself.”
Jonathan Kozol Quote: “We know that segregation is evil. We know that the sickest children should not go to the worst hospitals.”
Jonathan Kozol Quote: “At that time, I had recently finished a book called Amazing Grace, which many people tell me is a very painful book to read. Well, if it was painful to read, it was also painful to write. I had pains in my chest for two years while I was writing that book.”
Jonathan Kozol Quote: “If there are amazing graces on this earth, I believe that they are these good children sent to us by God and not yet soiled by the knowledge that their nation does not love them.”
Jonathan Kozol Quote: “Like grain in a time of famine, the immense resources which the nation does in fact possess go not to the child in the greatest need but to the children of the highest bidder-the child of parents who, more frequently than not, have also enjoyed the same abundance when they were schoolchildren.”
Jonathan Kozol Quote: “One would not have thought that children in America would ever have to choose between a teacher or a playground or sufficient toilet paper. Like grain in a time of famine, the immense resources which the nation does in fact possess go not to the child in the greatest need but to the child of the highest bidder – the child of parents who, more frequently than not, have also enjoyed the same abundance when they were schoolchildren.”
Jonathan Kozol Quote: “I went to Washington to challenge the soft bigotry of low expectations.”
Jonathan Kozol Quote: “People who know but do not act do evil too. I don’t know if I would call them evil but they’re certainly not thinking about heaven.”
Jonathan Kozol Quote: “A culture in which guilt is automatically assumed to be neurotic and unhealthy has devised a remarkably clever way of protecting its self-interest.”
Jonathan Kozol Quote: “Still, I think it grieves the heart of God when human beings created in His image treat other human beings like filthy rags.”
Jonathan Kozol Quote: “If Americans had to discriminate directly against other people’s children, I believe most citizens would find this morally abhorrent. Denial, in an active sense, of other people’s children is, however, rarely necessary in this nation. Inequality is mediated for us by a taxing system that most people do not fully understand and seldom scrutinize.”
Jonathan Kozol Quote: “Many suburban legislators representing affluent school districts use terms such as “sinkhole” when opposing funding for Chicago’s children. “We can’t keep throwing money,” said Governor Thompson in 1988, “into a black hole.” The Chicago Tribune notes that, when this phrase is used, people hasten to explain that it is not intended as a slur against the race of many of Chicago’s children. “But race,” says the Tribune, “never is far from the surface...”
Jonathan Kozol Quote: “I do get scared about the physical danger from drug dealers. But it’s not in the same league as the danger I feel eating an $80 lunch with my privileged friends to discuss hunger and poverty. That’s when my soul feels imperiled.”
Jonathan Kozol Quote: “Hypersegregated inner-city schools – in which one finds no more than five or ten white children, at the very most, within a student population of as many as 3,000 – are the norm, not the exception, in most northern urban areas today.”
Jonathan Kozol Quote: “The recklessness with which we sacrifice our sense of decency to maximize profit in the factory farming process sets a pattern for cruelty to our own kind.”
Jonathan Kozol Quote: “Children are not simply commodities to be herded into line and trained for the jobs that white people who live in segregated neighborhoods have available.”
Jonathan Kozol Quote: “I think a moment of critical energy has suddenly emerged. But moments like this come and go unless we seize them at their height.”
Jonathan Kozol Quote: “So long as these kinds of inequalities persist, all of us who are given expensive educations have to live with the knowledge that our victories are contaminated because the game has been rigged to our advantage.”
Jonathan Kozol Quote: “In the book, I write about children in first grade who were taught to read by reading want ads. They learned to write by writing job applications. Imagine what would happen if anyone tried to do that to children in a predominantly white suburban school.”
Jonathan Kozol Quote: “I believe that the wilderness is where God is found.”
Jonathan Kozol Quote: “I write books to change the world. Perhaps I can only change one little piece of that world. But if I can empower teachers and good citizens to give these children, who are the poorest of the poor, the same opportunity we give our own kids, then I’ll feel my life has been worth it.”
Jonathan Kozol Quote: “On Mondays and Fridays in early May, nearly 18,000 children-the equivalent of all the elementary students in suburban Glencoe, Wilmette, Glenview, Kenilworth, Winnetka, Deerfield, Highland Park and Evanston-are assigned to classes with no teacher.”
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