Last updated on: 6/7/2012 | Author:

Jonathan Kozol Biography

Education writer and activist
Con to the question "Do Standardized Tests Improve Education in America?"

“The poisonous essence of this law [No Child Left Behind] lies in the mania of obsessive testing it has forced upon our nation’s schools and, in the case of underfunded, overcrowded inner-city schools, the miserable drill-and-kill curriculum of robotic ‘teaching to the test’ it has imposed on teachers, the best of whom are fleeing from these schools because they know that this debased curriculum would never have been tolerated in the good suburban schools that they, themselves, attended.

…There are some mediocre teachers in our schools (there are mediocre lawyers, mediocre senators, and mediocre presidents as well), but hopelessly dull and unimaginative teachers do not suddenly turn into classroom wizards under a regimen that transforms their classrooms into test-prep factories…”

“Why I Am Fasting: An Explanation to My Friends,”, Sep. 10, 2007

Involvement and Affiliations:
  • Member, Editorial Board, Greater Good (online magazine)
  • Founder, Education Action! (network of education activists)
  • Founder and former Co-Director, Storefront Learning Center
  • Winner, Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, 1996
  • Winner, New England Book Award, 1992
  • Finalist, National Book Critics Circle Award, 1992
  • Winner, Christopher Award, 1988
  • Conscience in Media Award, American Society of Journalists and Authors, 1988
  • Winner, Robert F. Kennedy Book Award, 1988
  • Guggenheim Fellow, 1970 and 1984
  • Rockefeller Fellow, 1978 and 1983
  • Ford Foundation Fellow, 1974
  • Field Foundation Fellow, 1972
  • Winner, National Book Award in Science, Philosophy, and Religion, 1968
  • Former fourth grade teacher, Roxbury, MA
  • Rhodes Scholarship, Magdalen College, University of Oxford, 1959
  • BA, English Literature, summa cum laude, Harvard University, 1958
  • Graduated, Noble and Greenough School, Dedham, MA, 1954
  • Recipient, Sexton Fellowship in Creative Writing from Harper & Row, 1962
  • Winner, Olympia Award, 1962
  • Born in Boston, MA in 1936
  • “Shortly after he began teaching in the public school system, Kozol was fired for reading from a book of poetry by Langston Hughes that was not on the approved curriculum list.”
    “Biography – Jonathan Kozol,” Brandeis University Libraries website, 1999
Quoted in:
Pro & Con Quotes: Do Standardized Tests Improve Education in America?