Themes

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Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 230

A central theme in Savage Inequalities by Jonathan Kozol is the quality of education in the United States. The author focuses on different school districts in the U.S. and looks at the quality of education that they offer. According to the author, quality of education varies vastly, which explains why some regions in the U.S. perform better than others. The author notes that there are schools that lack basic lab equipment, educational materials, and proper playgrounds— all which affect the performance of students.

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Another theme that is highlighted in the book is economic inequality. Kozol notes that school districts that offer quality education are found in affluent neighborhoods. Conversely, schools in low class districts offer low quality education due to the lack of resources due to lack of investment. The author notes that the underlying factor is economic disparity. School districts that have quality education are financially supported by local real estate taxes. Wealthy districts pay more taxes due to the value of their real estate property. On the contrary, real estate in poor districts is not as valuable; therefore, the money generated from real estate taxes in these regions is not as much. However, poor people living within areas with the lowest annual budgets have a higher individual taxation rate.

Racism and racial segregation are tied into economic inequality and are also important themes in the book.

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