On his first visit back to his alma mater in more than 50 years, author and activist Jonathan Kozol told the assembled student body that he knew that reading his books (which include "Death at an Early Age," "Rachel and Her Children," "Savage Inequalities," and "Shame of the Nation") sometimes made students like them feel guilty.
It did seem a bit jarring to see Kozol – who has made a career of studying and writing about the very poorest schools in the United States and the children who attend them – standing in the posh auditorium of Noble and Greenough School, one of Boston's most prestigious private institutions, a school with a 9-to-1 student-faculty ratio, an average class size of only 13, and a 187-acre campus which includes a castle built by famed architect H.H. Richardson.
But Kozol spoke of his own education at Nobles (as the school is known) with nothing but affection. "Nobles prepared me for the work of the world," he told his young audience. "It gave me the courage" to "turn my back on privilege."