Author of Classroom Texts Jonathan Kozol to Visit Scripps

By Berenice Villela '12Staff Writer

I have been counting down the days to Jonathan Kozol’s visit to campus since his agency replied to my inquiry with an indication that he would be interested in giving a talk at Scripps College. Kozol will be giving a talk on April 26, at 7 p.m. in Garrison Theater, Scripps College Performing Arts Center. He will be speaking as part of the Alexa Fullerton

Hampton Speaker Series: Voice and Vision, as well as part of this semester’s Humanities Institute and the Munroe

Center for Social Inquiry’s seminar on “Schooling in Mass Society.”

As the Programming Associate at the Malott Commons Office, it was my responsibility to design and implement one big event (as a shameless plug, the application deadline to be next year’s programming associate is April 8). Last year’s Programming Associate, Ariel Bloomer (’12) invited Ariel Levy, author of “Female Chauvinist Pigs,” to campus.

I chose Jonathan Kozol. His books, such as “Savage Inequalities,” “Amazing Grace,” “Shame of the Nation,” and, my favorite, “Letters to a Young Teacher,” spoke to me as someone who identifies as an aspiring educator. I don’t think his relevance is exhausted there, however. At this point, I invoke Ellen Browning Scripps’s mission for Scripps. She said,

“The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.” Also fundamental to Scripps and its students is a responsibility to our community. Kozol’s talk promises to do just that, to inspire in 5C students and community members the ability to better understand our educational system and, from there, decide our role in the matter.

Scripps students benefit from being at a privileged institution, where incredible resources are at our disposal to further our education and career. Kozol will surely inspire all of us to reflect on our comfortable lives and will spark conversation and dialogue on how to actualize our responsibility to the next generation.

As a long-time fan, I am beyond excited for Jonathan Kozol’s visit to campus. I see this event stirring up the community: a Scripps alumna, who is in her second year teaching through Teach For America in Los Angeles, is actually bringing her students and a group of teachers as a registered field trip. The total count: 40. It is flooring to see so many people joining in me in my countdown, both on campus and off campus. (There are, as of the publication of this article, 20 days left in the countdown.)

I only hope that we as a community take to heart what Kozol has to share with us. Because the truth is, most—if not all—of the students he’s worked with are not in our classrooms, not in our bubble and not afforded the opportunity to pursue a college education—much less graduate from high school. His visit will provide a much-needed dose of perspective; it’s time to recognize who’s missing in our student body.