The chapter begins with Kozol providing a brief history of Elio’s troubled school life, describing how Miss Rosa had to tell his mother about his having to repeat first grade. He then proceeds to describe how he came to meet Elio some eight months later. It comes across clearly that Elio is a very determined boy, who despite the set backs, is ready and willing to work hard in order to achieve his ambitions. He clearly does not let having to repeat dampen his optimism about what the future holds. It is clear throughout the chapter that Kozol in a way sympathizes with Elio, as well as the rest of the children, as he seems to believe that they are victims of a flawed education system that is not really fair in terms of evaluation. He does however ironically highlights his belief that the optimism shown by the children is well founded when he claims that “look continually for reasons to be hopeful. [We] just want them to be genuine” (P.155). Although one could argue that this is an indictment of his belief that the education system is flawed ands thus the children might be mistaken for being so optimistic. It is clear that this optimism rubs off him and perhaps these are his true feelings.
In this chapter Kozol describes their reunion with Elio, after being apart for a while, he gives an account of how he goes to his classroom and protocol is thrown out the window due to what is a mixture of excitement and shyness on the part of Elio. He then proceeds to describe how, Miss Duke conducted her class after the pleasantries had been taken care of. The class itself was actually about reading a story book which Kozol describes as “a fable about animals”.
Kozol highlights the lack of discipline when it comes to following the set protocol for introducing visitors in Elementary schools, as well as perhaps a lack of proper guidance from the teacher involved. He then concludes the chapter by highlighting the lack of materials for teaching; such as text books, all factors one can deduce result in the poor quality of education. These factors highlighted add to a long list that Kozol provides on what he believes are the problems of the U.S education system, contributing to the lack of quality and thus unprepared graduates or students. This chapter serves to build his argument that the education system is flawed.
Kozol brings to light the notable differences in our education system today which are mainly brought about by ethnic differences. He compares two schools in the same region and clearly shows that parents with more time to devote to their children assist in improving the quality of education for their children. However, while the author argues his point he does no0t not put into consideration other important factors that may have caused differences in the two school. As he refers to parental control and school differences as the pineapple takes, he assumes that all children have equal opportunities. For instance it is essential to note that students who join p.s 30 rather that p.s 65 is purely because their parents were not financially stable to enroll them to p.s 65, while the truth may be they did not perform well in elementary school. Kozol’s analyses in this chapter are purely one sided on issues of financial and ethnic differences while judging quality of school, he puts too much emphasizes on students and teachers behavior while he visited the school but fails to evaluate the actual school academic performance.