A Wel Rounded Perspective Of Jonathan Kozol's "Savage Inequalities"

3974 words - 16 pages

This article, "Savage Inequalities", by Jonathan Kozol presents an extremely controversial issue. Educational Inequality is a familiar topic in most sociologists' and ordinary citizens' thoughts and conversations. Some people, most likely those who are subject to the effects of the inequality, are activists who are trying to boost equality for children in our educational system. Many others, however, are not directly affected by the social inequalities that so pervade out society. These people, subsequently, cannot grasp the idea that thousands of children are deprived of most, if not all, of the things that we take for granted. Jonathan Kozol traveled around the country and visited and ...view middle of the document...

Rye, New York is the site of Kozol's next observation. This is a suburb of New York City whose average teacher earns $70,000 compared with the $10,000 salaries of permanent substitutes in East St. Louis. Students here are aware of the inequalities that the poor students suffer from, but feel as though it is their families' own fault for not finding a better place to live. Students at Rye High School believe that busing kids from surrounding poorer areas into their school will not help the problem because they think only of the detriment to themselves, not the benefit to the other children.Social Inequality in schools is an exceptionally touching issue that may or may not have a solution. In this paper I will analyze the data collected by Jonathan Kozol from many social theorists' positions. These theorists come from all perspectives of sociology and have different views of situations like this one. I will do my best to thoroughly describe how each one would react to "Savage Inequalities."Talcott Parsons is a functional sociologist whose emphasis is on the maintenance of the system as a whole rather than on the individuals within the system. If he were to read this article and analyze it he would probably use his AGIL scheme to describe what is happening in the two different school systems. In East St. Louis, there is a lack of all of the essential parts, adaptation, goal attainment, integration, and latency, of a functional action system. Although they are lacking the essentials for a functional society the community takes an alternate route for the persistence of their dysfunctional society (although Parsons would not recognize that it is dysfunctional). All of the parts of the AGIL scheme must work in accordance with one another for the action system to survive.East St. Louis and Rye have found ways to meet these societal needs, although differently.Adaptation is the ability for individuals to adapt to the environment and the environment to adapt to them. In East St. Louis the children, parents, teachers and town employees have learned to adapt in a dysfunctional manner to their environment. Many of the children that Kozol encountered like Serena, Smokey and Little Sister, have adapted to their environment in a way that has become harmful to their health without them being aware of it. They play in sewage filled fields and go to school in facilities without sufficient science labs, no study hall monitors, and eat unsanitary food in the cafeteria without thinking twice about it. This is the place they have always known and they know no other. The Board of Education has eliminated many teaching positions that are imperative to the students learning and who were the closest thing they had to gaining equality with other students like those from Rye, New York.Parson's next vital part of a functional system is Goal attainment. In order for a society to carry on there must be goals set for the future. These goals must be defined clearly in order to...

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