Synopses & Reviews
In these affectionate letters to Francesca, a first grade teacher at an inner-city school in Boston, Jonathan Kozol vividly describes his repeated visits to her classroom while, under Francesca's likably irreverent questioning, also revealing his own most personal stories of the years that he has spent in public schools.
Letters to a Young Teacher reignites a number of the controversial issues that Kozol has powerfully addressed in recent years: the mania of high-stakes testing that turns many classrooms into test-prep factories where spontaneity and critical intelligence are no longer valued, the invasion of our public schools by predatory private corporations, and the inequalities of urban schools that are once again almost as segregated as they were a century ago.
But most of all, these letters are rich with the happiness of teaching children, the curiosity and jubilant excitement children bring into the classroom at an early age, and their ability to overcome their insecurities when they are in the hands of an adoring and hard-working teacher.
"Kozol provides another tract on the politics of education, slightly disguised as an ongoing (albeit one-way) dialogue with a young teacher named Francesca from Boston. Each letter provides long, extensive discussions about public education as well as the specifics of Francesca's classroom and his own classes in the past. Drawing upon a lifetime of experience and research, Kozol addresses a wide range of issues, including standardized testing, voucher programs, school segregation, student creativity, objective outcomes and recess. Drummond performs the role of doting and inspiring senior quite well. His elderly voice brims with hope and concern for the next generation of teachers and the battles they will have to face inside and outside the classroom. However, the sound editing for this audiobook is particularly poor, with Drummond's voice shifting abruptly every couple of tracks. Drummond's voice sounds audibly different on these rerecorded tracks, which significantly disrupts the listener's experience. Simultaneous release with the Crown hardcover (Reviews, June 4)." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
These affectionate letters to Francesca, a first grade teacher at an inner-city school in Boston, are rich with the happiness of teaching children, the curiosity and jubilant excitement children bring into the classroom at an early age, and their ability to overcome their insecurities when they are in the hands of an adoring and hard-working teacher.
About the Author
Jonathan Kozol is a well-known activist and National Book Award-winning author who has focused his writings and efforts on ending illiteracy, improving the economic conditions of the poverty-stricken, and pricking the consciences of affluent Americans for over forty years. Since his early account of teaching at a public school in Roxbury, Death at an Early Age, many of his writings have pertained to his career as a public school advocate and educator and his experience as an activist on education issues. In Free Schools, he recounted his experiences in setting up a free school in Boston. Illiterate America, a seminal work in Kozol's exploration of illiteracy, draws on the author's background as a grass-roots organizer to outline his proposal for dealing with the problem of illiteracy in the United States. In Rachel and Her Children: Homeless Families in America, Kozol looked closely at homeless families living in a shelter in New York City. In 1991 he returned to the subject of education in the bestselling Savage Inequalities: Children in America's Schools, in which he pointed out the gross inequalities in school quality from community to community. With Amazing Grace: The Lives of Children and the Conscience of a Nation and Ordinary Resurrections: Children in the Years of Hope, Kozol put a human face on the conditions experienced by residents of Mott Haven, the poorest neighborhood in New York City. David Drummond has made his living as an actor for over twenty-five years, appearing on stages large and small throughout the country and in Seattle, Washington, his hometown. He has narrated over sixty audiobooks for Tantor, in genres ranging from current political commentary to historical nonfiction, from fantasy to military, and from thrillers to humor. He received an AudioFile Earphones Award for his first audiobook, Love 'Em or Lose 'Em: Getting Good People to Stay. When not narrating, David keeps busy writing plays and stories for children.