36 Children, by Herbert Kohl; Death at an Early Age, by Jonathan Kozol
Firsthand reports from the classrooms of the inner city are fast becoming a new literary genre in America: The writer is a teacher or—more commonly—an ex-teacher, and the characters are tough but (usually) sympathetic kids, callous administrators, and a collection of fearful school types spouting hate through their pieties and educational nonsense through their apathy. The writer-protagonist is part anthropologist fascinated by the ghetto, part muckraking journalist, and part teacher struggling manfully to work with the children placed in his care. Ultimately he quits or is fired for being too successful, innovative, or defiant.
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