Award-winning author, teacher, and social critic Jonathan Kozol will speak on "Social Justice in Our Nation’s Separate and Unequal Schools" at 10 a.m. on Saturday, April 4 at Occidental College as a part of the Phi Beta Kappa Speakers Series, underwritten by the Ruenitz Trust Endowment.

Kozol’s talk in Alumni Auditorium (Johnson Hall, Room 200) is free and open to the public. His speech will focus on the racial and economic inequities present in our K-12 public school system, the challenges they present to teachers, and the implications for America’s standing as a global leader.

Kozol is best known for his books, most notably Death at an Early Age, the best-selling Amazing Grace: Lives of Children and the Conscience of a Nation, and The Shame of the Nation, which have chronicled the often negligible effects of anti-segregation legislation through the years in public education. The Chicago Sun-Times has called the former Rhodes Scholar "today’s most eloquent spokesman for America’s disenfranchised."

His work has had a profound effect on teaching strategy at all levels. Kozol speaks out against "teaching to the test", arguing that students should be challenged critically and not treated like numbers. Many schools and universities issue Kozol’s books as required reading for future teachers.

Kozol’s works have been awarded the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award, the Conscience in Media Award of the American Society of Journalists and Authors, and the National Book Award in Science, Philosophy, and Religion.

Additionally, Amazing Grace was awarded the Ainsfield-Wolf Book Award, previously given to the works of Dr. Martin Luther King and Langston Hughes. Amazing Grace, about Kozol’s visits to the South Bronx, was hailed by scholars as a classic and praised by Nobel Laureates Toni Morrison and Elie Wiesel.