An End to Inequality

Breaking Down the Walls of Apartheid Education in America

An eloquent and passionate call for educational reparations, from the New York Times bestselling author

“Segregation is back, and only a writer of Jonathan Kozol’s wisdom and passion can assess its terrible price, one child at a time.” —Barbara Ehrenreich

When Jonathan Kozol’s Death at an Early Age appeared in 1967, it rocked the education world. Based on the Rhodes Scholar’s first year of teaching in Boston’s Black community, the book described the abuse and neglect of children for no reason but the color of their skin. Since that National Book Award–winning volume, Kozol has spent more than fifty years visiting with children and working with their teachers in other deeply troubled and unequal public schools.

Now, in the culminating work of his career, Kozol goes back into the urban schools, where racial isolation is at the highest level since he became a teacher and is now compounded by a new regime of punitive instruction and coercive uniformity that is deemed to be appropriate for children who are said to be incapable of learning in more democratic ways, like children in more privileged communities.

Kozol believes it’s well past time to batter down the walls between two separate worlds of education and to make good, at long last, on the “promissory note” that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. described on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in 1963. Sure to resonate with current-day arguments for reparations in a broad array of areas, this is a book that points us to a future in which children learn together, across the lines of class and race, in schools where every child is accorded a full and equal share of the riches in this wealthiest of nations.


“An inspired and insightful analysis of race-based challenges in the American school system.”
Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“For over fifty years, Jonathan Kozol has been calling our attention to the gross injustices perpetrated against children in our nation’s racially separate and unequal schools. Now, in An End to Inequality, he reminds us that when children lose, we all lose, and our futures are imperiled. Thank you, Jonathan, for once again bringing your compassionate voice and critical perspective to this shameful American dilemma.”
—Pedro Noguera, dean, School of Education, University of Southern California
“Heart-wrenching examples and astute argumentation. . . . This is Kozol at his best.”
—Bob Peterson, founding editor, Rethinking Schools
“Kozol’s critical insights about our nation’s schools, if we have the will to act on them politically, can help us to reconceive what public education ought to be in a fragile and increasingly endangered American democracy.”
—David C. Berliner, Regents professor of Education, Arizona State University
“An unapologetic cri de coeur about the shortcomings of the schools that serve poor Black and Hispanic children, and thus, the moral failure of the nation to end the inequality [Kozol] has documented for decades.”
The New York Times
“Jonathan Kozol’s voice remains as fresh as ever, not least when he is examining the ongoing failure of the 1954 decision outlawing the lie of separate but equal. As he illustrates with numerous painful examples, the lie lives on in far too many schools where ‘the shadow of plantation days is still a presence . . .’ and the abusive treatment of young children an accepted practice. Jonathan spells out what we can do, and need to do, in order to move this nation towards a more perfect union.”
—Charlayne Hunter-Gault, journalist and author most recently of My People: Five Decades of Writing About Black Lives
“In An End to Inequality, Kozol has relentlessly confronted an unfiltered reality. Why, after all these years, do millions of Black and brown children remain in segregated schools where squalor and dysfunctional facilities degrade them intellectually and physically? For Kozol’s transformative proposals, I urge you to read this jolting book.”
—Ralph Nader, Center for the Study of Responsive Law
“A powerful and provocative cutting-edge analysis. . . . Should be required reading for advocates, educators, students, and their teachers.”
—Iván Espinoza-Madrigal, executive director, Lawyers for Civil Rights
“In this vigorous polemic, National Book Award winner Kozol . . . [offers] an impassioned indictment of elementary school education in the U.S. and a cri de cœur for racial equity.”
Publishers Weekly

News and Reviews

Here & Now

Listen to an interview with Jonathan Kozol about An End to Inequality and the anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education on NPR’s Here & Now

The New York Times

Read a profile of An End to Inequality author Jonathan Kool in the New York Times.

The Nation

Read an excerpt adapted from An End to Inequality in The Nation about the desolation of our public schools.

Goodreads Reviews