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Author to speak on challenges in education

Published: Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2012 5:30 a.m. CDT

For nearly 50 years, Jonathan Kozol has dedicated his life to addressing the complex issues that face public education. He is among the most respected writers and speakers on public education, has written a number of bestsellers and has been the recipient of many national awards, including the National Book Award and the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award.

Kozol will speak at 7 p.m. Sept. 26 in the auditorium at DeKalb High School. The title of his talk is “Fire In the Ashes: The Deepening Crisis in Our Public Schools – Victims and Survivors.” The presentation is free and open to all.

Kozol’s first book, “Death At an Early Age,” a description of his first year as a teacher in one of the poorest of Boston’s public schools, was published in 1967 and received the 1968 National Book Award in Science, Philosophy and Religion. This book is regarded as a classic by educators and has sold more than 2 million copies.

Kozol’s latest book, “Fire in the Ashes,” is about a group of inner-city children he has known for many years. Kozol returns to the scene of three previous prize-winning books and to the children he so vividly portrayed to share their journeys and unexpected victories. The book tells the stories of young men and women who have come of age in one of the most destitute communities in the United States. Some never recover from the battering they undergo in their early years, but many battle back to overcome the obstacles they face.

Kozol talks about the challenges of education and politics, the struggles of public schools, the pressures on public educators, disparities in education and complicated ethical challenges facing parents, children and educators.

“We hope anyone who is involved with children and adolescents in any way or who cares about education and teachers comes out to hear what Mr. Kozol has to say,” Dan Kenney, DeKalb District 428 teacher and coordinator of the event, said in a news release. “We seldom have an opportunity to hear the perspective of someone with the kind of experiences Jonathan Kozol has had. He has long been the conscience of U.S. public education. He will have much to add to our conversation about education in our local schools at all levels.”

Copies of Kozol’s books will be available for purchase after the talk. He will be available to sign copies of books purchased the night of the event.

For more information, call 815-793-0950.

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