Education: Making Freedom Trivial

Eight months into a public school-teaching career in Boston, Jonathan Kozol was fired in 1965 for reading an angry poem by Black Poet Langston Hughes to his class in the Roxbury ghetto. He detailed his frustrating experiences in Death at an Early Age, and set out to reform U.S. education by helping to found "free" schools: small private schools where parents are "free" to decide what their children should be taught. He concentrated first on Roxbury and later on such cities as New York, Chicago and St. Louis. His target was the ghetto, but the idea caught on with middle-class liberals....