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Educators from across the region are invited to a presentation by education writer and public school advocate Jonathan Kozol on March 22 at St. Bonaventure University.
Kozol, who has been working with children in inner-city schools for nearly 50 years, will be the keynote speaker at the 2017 Education Forum hosted by the university’s School of Education. Kozol will discuss “Beyond the Testing Mania: Joy and Justice in the Classrooms of the Poor” at 6 p.m. Wednesday, March 22, in Dresser Auditorium of the John J. Murphy Professional Building on campus.
The event is free, but space is limited so reservations are required by registering at www.sbu.edu/EdForum or by calling (716) 375-2313.
“St. Bonaventure University’s School of Education’s commitment to social justice is strong. We believe that all children deserve equal opportunities for education. Kozol’s work — and the message he will bring to SBU — is that we cannot be complacent in a world where income, geography, race or any other factor puts children at risk of poor educational opportunities,” said Dr. Nancy Casey, dean of the School of Education. “I hope and expect that Mr. Kozol will inspire our students, faculty and community members to fight for better opportunities for all children.”
In the passion of the civil rights campaigns of 1964 and 1965, Kozol gave up the prospect of a promising career in the academic world, moved from Harvard Square into a poor black neighborhood of Boston, and became a fourth-grade teacher. He has since devoted nearly his entire life to the challenge of providing equal opportunity to every child in our public schools.
His book “Death at an Early Age,” a description of his first year as a teacher, received the 1968 National Book Award in Science, Philosophy, and Religion. Among his other major works are “Rachel and Her Children,” a study of homeless mothers and their children, which received the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award, and “Savage Inequalities,” which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in 1992. His 1995 bestseller, “Amazing Grace: The Lives of Children and the Conscience of a Nation,” received the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award in 1996, an honor previously granted to the works of Langston Hughes and Dr. Martin Luther King.
Ten years later, in “The Shame of the Nation,” a description of conditions that he found in nearly 60 public schools, Kozol wrote that inner-city children were more isolated racially than at any time since federal courts began dismantling the landmark ruling in Brown v. Board of Education. “The Shame of the Nation” appeared on The New York Times bestseller list the week that it was published.
Kozol’s most recent book on childhood and education is “Fire in the Ashes,” a sweeping narrative that follows a group of children in a destitute community out of their infancy and elementary grades, through their secondary years, into their late teens and beyond.
DURING HIS VISIT to St. Bonaventure, Kozol will also visit education classrooms and speak to the campus community about “Public Education as an Endangered Civil Right” at 4 p.m. March 23 in Dresser Auditorium. That program is also open to the public.
As a follow-up to Kozol’s visit, the Cattaraugus-Allegany Teachers’ Resource Center and the university’s School of Education are co-sponsoring a March 30 poverty simulation, an experience designed to help participants begin to understand what it might be like to live in a typical low-income family trying to survive from month to month. The simulation will be conducted by the Far West Network of Teacher Centers from 4 to 7 p.m. March 30 in the San Damiano Room at Francis Hall on campus. The facilitators will also share local poverty statistics.
For more information or to register, visit www.cateachercenter.org/poverty-simulation. The registration deadline is March 20.
The university’s annual Education Forum is funded by an anonymous gift to St. Bonaventure. Kozol’s visit is also sponsored by the School of Education, the IDEAL campaign, Visiting Scholars Committee, and the Diversity Action Committee.
About the University: The nation’s first Franciscan university, we believe in the goodness of every person and in the ability of every person to do extraordinary things. St. Bonaventure University cultivates graduates who are confident and creative communicators, collaborative leaders and team members, and innovative problem solvers who are respectful of themselves, others, and the diverse world around them. Named the #6 best college value in the North by U.S. News and World Report, we are establishing pathways to internships, graduate schools and careers in the context of our renowned liberal arts tradition.
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