AASL at ALA Annual Conference
AASL Membership Meeting & President's Program
Featuring Jonathan Kozol
Saturday, June 29
10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
In the passion of the civil rights campaigns of 1964 and 1965, Jonathan Kozol gave up the prospect of a promising and secure career within 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 within our public schools to every child, of whatever racial origin or economic level. He is, at the present time, the most widely read and highly honored education writer in America.
In August 2012, Jonathan published Fire in the Ashes, the major book of his career, a powerful and stirring culmination of the stories he has told over a quarter-century about the children of the poorest urban neighborhood in the United States. Fire in the Ashes follows these children out of their infancy, through the struggles of their adolescence, into their young adulthood. Some of their stories are painful and heart-breaking, but others are thrilling and dramatic tributes to the courage and audacity of fascinating children who refuse to be defeated by the gross inequalities of U.S. education and arrive at last at gloriously unpredictable and triumphal victories. Fire in the Ashes is a sweeping narrative but the stories are interwoven with the crisis in our public schools and the decency of teachers who fight against the odds to defend the dignity of kids who are largely written off by our society.
When he is not with children and teachers in their classrooms, or at universities speaking to our future teachers, Jonathan is likely to be found in Washington, where he has spent much of the past two years attempting to convince his friends within the Senate leadership to radically revise the punitive federal testing law No Child Left Behind.
Jonathan received a summa cum laude degree in English literature from Harvard in 1958, after which he was awarded a Rhodes scholarship to Oxford University. He has been called “today’s most eloquent spokesman for America’s disenfranchised.” But he believes that children speak most eloquently for themselves; and in his newest book, so full of the vitality of youth, we hear their testimony.
A brief membership meeting will precede Jonathan's presentation.