College of Education

Acting for Equity in Education: Starting the Conversation with Jonathan Kozol


Recognizing the profound impact of poverty on the lives of children and their families, faculty from across the university have worked within their disciplines and in their pre-professional and graduate programs  to prepare the next generation of JMU students to enter the workforce ready to “be the change” they want to see in the world.  But the structural inequalities that create conditions of poverty are deeply embedded in the institutions and society in which our graduates will work.  How do we prepare our JMU students to be critical, engaged citizens?  What is the responsibility of the university to confront these inequities and work to address structural change?  How do we critique the system?  How do we face the shame and violence experienced by our most vulnerable citizens in ways that move us towards justice and peace?  How do we uncover and make visible the inherent inequities in our “nice” communities?  How do we engage all participants in working for more sustainable ways of living together?

Because each of us is an educator, the College of Education faculty is reaching out to connect with our colleagues across the campus and in the community to begin a  critical conversation that we hope will lead to greater collaboration as together we seek to work in ethical and caring ways to prepare our students to enter a challenging world.  To start this conversation, we have invited Jonathan Kozol to join us in conversation and offer his wisdom based on his extensive work as educator and journalist.  His works, Savage Inequalities and Shame of the Nation speak to the harsh realities in which far too many people live.  His Letters to a Young Teacher give us pause to consider what it means to be an “effective educator” in challenging schools.  Fire in the Ashes presents stories of Jonathan’s “children” over the 25 years he has known them.  In our time together, we have attempted to create space for critical conversations about what is going on right now in our country and in the world  -- using Kozol’s expertise and research to frame these conversations.  We invite you to join us.

Published: Friday, September 9, 2016

Last Updated: Thursday, January 4, 2018

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