Mahatma Kozol

Pray for Jonathan Kozol, who today enters the 70th day of his "partial fast" in protest over NCLB and, one assumes, to promote his new book. What is a "partial fast"? Kozol has been "taking only small amounts of mostly liquid foods each day." When his stomach hurts, though, the partial fast allows him to have "other forms of nourishment" (steak frites?) so he won't damage his aging heart. A good move--Kozol's heart is already burdened enough, of course, by the legions of teachers who telephone him nightly. "Some call me in the evenings," he writes, "on the verge of tears, to tell me of the maddening frustration that they feel at being forced to teach in ways that make them hate themselves." Tonight, Kozol sits by the fireplace, carefully pressing cans of V-8 to his parched lips and weeping softly, his phone ringing off the hook. But lo, here enters his assistant: "Mahatma Kozol, Mahatma Kozol--Ted Kennedy just called. The Republicans have put down their torches; the fighting in Washington has stopped!"

"Why I am Fasting: An Explanation to My Friends," by Jonathan Kozol, The Huffington Post, September 10, 2007

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