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Still Separate, Still Unequal

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In Jonathan Kozol, “Still Separate, Still Unequal”, he explains to a managerial audience how our school systems today may be more segregated than at any time since 1954. With this segregation comes two different educational lifestyles. In order for the author to express the unsatisfactory educational conditions in predominantly black schools he uses several different modes. The most common mode that he used were pathos. In the very beginning he used the word “disheartening” on page 203 to describe the location of some of these underprivileged schools. I think it opens the readers’ eyes immediately to show them that the problem is spread out and not just in the most common areas that one would think. The author also uses a lot of testimony from the kids themselves through letters and interviews.

One letter from a child read, “ we do not have the things you have. you have Clean things. We do not have. you have a clean bathroom. We do not have that. you have Parks and we do not have Parks. you have all the thing and we do not have all the thing. Can you help us?” (206). This really pulls on the heart of the reader, thinking of ways that they can help. Kozol goes on to explain the conditions of one of the schools he visited, “requires. of the limited number of bathrooms that are working in the school, “only one or two…are open and unlocked for girls to use.” long lines of girls are “waiting to use the bathrooms,” which are generally “unclean” and “lack basic supplies,” including toilet paper” (215).

He uses descriptions like this to make the reader think of how unfair these conditions are to these kids and then expect them to go learn in a classroom. The author uses ethos as well. On page 214 he tells the reader that in order to really understand these conditions and what is provided for them the best thing to do is to actually go spend some time with the kids. Without directly stating it, he also uses logos mode by presenting statistics. On page 208 he explains the educational value that these students were getting was about $8,000 compared to $12,000 and $18,000 in predominately white schools. This logically proves that predominately white schools are getting a better education than the African American schools. On page 216 he also explains how the white schools offer more classes to help the students grow.

As the reader I felt Kozol did a great job in persuading his audience that in fact the schools are still separated today and are very much unequal when it comes to the value of their education. I feel if Kozol was writing to teachers he could have touched more on the teaching methods and given them ideas on how to teach and make the kids feel as if they are important in these poorer environments. I think if the author wrote to the parents he may want to include what they could be doing at home to improve their education. I think overall the most important audience would be politicians. Politicians could change the schools. They could bring in more money, more training, and even start to blend the schools. If Kozols was writing to the politicians I feel he should load it with testimonies from the kids. When they hear the problems coming from the kids that want to learn and want to make a difference but are held back maybe there would be a change.

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