Synopses & Reviews
Over the last 15 years, the state of inner-city public schools has been in a steep and continuing decline. Since the federal courts began dismantling the landmark ruling in Brown v. Board of Education, segregation of black children has reverted to its highest level since 1968. In many inner-city schools, a stick-and-carrot method of behavioral control traditionally used in prisons is now used with students. Meanwhile, as high-stakes testing takes on pathological and punitive dimensions, liberal education has been increasingly replaced by culturally barren and robotic methods of instruction that would be rejected out of hand by schools that serve the mainstream of society.
Filled with the passionate voices of children, principals, and teachers, and some of the most revered leaders in the black community, The Shame of the Nation pays tribute to those undefeated educators who persist against the odds, but directly challenges the chilling practices now being forced upon our urban systems by the Bush administration. In their place, Kozol offers a humane, dramatic challenge to our nation to fulfill at last the promise made some 50 years ago to all our youngest citizens.
"A call for activism, The Shame of the Nation firmly grounds school-reform issues in the thorny context of race and concludes that the nation has failed to deliver the promise of Brown." Washington Post
"Segregation is back, and only a writer of Jonathan Kozol's wisdom and passion can assess its terrible price, one child at a time. It isn't easy, but before we can craft a solution, we have to feel the shame." Barbara Ehrenreich, author of Nickel and Dimed
"Shines a spotlight on poor, minority children, sabotaged and isolated by an educational system tilted to slight them....His outrage ought to infect us." Los Angeles Times
"A vividly written account from the frontlines of 'apartheid education.' It is impossible not to share Kozol's outrage." Chicago Tribune
"This story of Sumner High School in Kansas City, Kansas is a very welcome addition to the education literature. It provides a solid history lesson on effective schooling for blacks in that city for five generations, more than seventy years. It is rich with comments and assessments from graduates who credit their sound learning base at Sumner for their subsequent successes in higher education, in negotiating the ways in the world, and in the career ladders that they chose. Cognitive mastery was their core; that, coupled with infusions of proper values and attitudes, made Sumner's graduates competent and capable as they moved into adult life. Every Kansas school and library should add this book to their collection. Today's students need to understand the value of education, motivation, and school related connections to their lives and future well being. Kansas should be quite proud of Sumner High School and its graduates. This book helps to fill the void that exists regarding the successful education of blacks in this nation, despite the imposed limitations of legal racial segregation." -- Faustine C. Jones-Wilson, Ed.D., Professor Emerita Howard University , Washington, D.C.
"Contemporary educators, policymakers and parents have much to learn from THE SUMNER STORY about school quality, community cohesiveness and--in a word--excellence! Sumner High School was staffed with exceptionally credentialed principals and teachers who possessed superior knowledge about the education and socialization of children and youth. These legendary educators' strategic equations yielded consistent fruit--generations of graduates who had an intellectual competitive edge and a moral compass which enabled them to be professionally successful, independent and proud, and contributing citizens in their communities despite Jim Crow and its vestiges. My parents are graduates of the famed Sumner High School and Dunbar High School (Washington, DC). Growing up I was regaled with stories about Sumner and Dunbar and the lessons my parents learned from their teachers. More than a historical tome, this research volume affirms what can and should be achieved in our nation's schools." -- Leslie T. Fenwick, Ph.D. , Dean, School of Education, Howard University, Washington, D.C
"The writers touch on intangible benefits of the Sumner experience, such as the clear and present caring and personal sacrifice of teachers and administrators; the sense of togetherness due to both internal and external prompts felt by the students; and the pride of the whole community in the beauty of the school. They explore carefully the tangible factors impacting the school’s prolonged success: the faculty, curricula, co-curricular programs, and evidence of high standards and expectations. Can students be admonished to "BE THE BEST" outside of a segregated setting? Certainly, the Sumner organizing principle, that "Education is serious business--it is imperative!" could be in place in an integrated setting--but would the students of color know they were included? How can the success of Sumner and the other historically segregated schools that are studied, be resurrected for today's students? All who care about the highest quality of public education for today's African American students should thoroughly digest this powerful study of Sumner--and act upon it! -- Ramona H. Edelin, Ph. D., Executive Director, D.C. Public Charter School Association, Washington, D.C.
After visiting nearly 60 public schools, the author discovers that conditionshave grown worse for inner-city children in the 20 years since federal courtsbegan dismantling the landmark ruling in Brown v. Board of Education.
Established in 1875, Sumner High School, the first high school for African-Americans west of the Mississippi River, thrived as a safe-haven nurturing the great aspirations of thousands of African-American youths and their families. Noting such alumni as Tina Turner, tennis legend Arthur Ashe, actor Robert Guillaume, and rock and roll architect Chuck Berry, Sumner High School provided a powerful springboard to limitless possibilities in an otherwise oppressive, segregated world. The Sumner Story: Capturing Our History/Preserving Our Legacy, examines the illustrious history of this unique school, illuminates the outstanding successes of its alumni, and illustrates the lessons of achievement as they apply to the modern classroom. It does all this through the words of those who experienced it first-hand: students, instructors, and administrators.
Since the early 1980s, when the federal courts began dismantling the landmark ruling in Brown v. Board of Education, segregation of black children has reverted to its highest level since 1968. In many inner-city schools, a stick-and-carrot method of behavioral control traditionally used in prisons is now used with students. Meanwhile, as high-stakes testing takes on pathological and punitive dimensions, liberal education has been increasingly replaced by culturally barren and robotic methods of instruction that would be rejected out of hand by schools that serve the mainstream of society.
Filled with the passionate voices of children, principals, and teachers, and some of the most revered leaders in the black community, The Shame of the Nation pays tribute to those undefeated educators who persist against the odds, but directly challenges the chilling practices now being forced upon our urban systems. In their place, Kozol offers a humane, dramatic challenge to our nation to fulfill at last the promise made some 50 years ago to all our youngest citizens.
About the Author
Dr. Wilma F. Bonner, Director of Teacher Education at Howard University, worked thirty-seven years in the District of Columbia Public Schools. She served as principal, Assistant Superintendent of Senior High Schools and Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction. She supervised the adoption of standards in reading, mathematics, social studies and science and spearheaded the development of new promotion and graduation requirements for the District.
Sandra Freelain, earned her MA in Public Administration. She served as Desk Officer and Enforcement Analyst for the Dept. of Housing and Urban Development for 20 years. As part of the Sumner Writing Team she gained a much deeper respect and renewed gratitude for the contributions of those who founded, and sustained Sumner High School. Sandra is enjoying her recent retirement.
Dwight D. Henderson, was elected president of the class of 1963. He received a basketball scholarship to Kansas State Teacher’s College. Dwight received his law degree from the University of Kansas with a specialization in contract and labor law and worked as project attorney for Standard/Amoco/British Petroleum Oil Company until his retirement.
Johnnieque Blackmon "Johnnie" Love's professional career spans forty-three years of public education. A former president of the Sumner High School Alumni Association, published writer of articles assessing diversity in the academic library, and dedicated historian of Sumner High School, Love lives in Beltsville, Maryland with her family.
Eugene M. Williams’ professional career spans 40+ years as a language arts instructor on the high school and college level and as administrator of two federal programs (Teacher Corps and Upward Bound). For the District of Columbia Public schools, Williams served as Co-Director of Values Education. He also served as educational consultant with the Saudi Arabian government in both Riyadh, SA as well as at the Saudi Embassy in Washington, D. C. More recently, has worked as career transition counselor for the Geo-Spatial Administration (GSA) and the U. S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) in Washington, D. C.