Jonathan Kozol, an author, educator and activist, is one of public education's most vocal critics. In his book, The Shame of the Nation, Kozol compares the current state of the American school system to South African apartheid.
"We are now operating a school system in America that's more segregated than at any time since the death of Martin Luther King," he says. "Racial segregation has come back to public education with a vengeance."
According to Kozol, the average African-American and Latino 12th grader currently reads at the same level as the average white seventh grader.
"I think it's the number one moral shame that this nation faces today," he says. "I believe we need a national amendment which will guarantee every child in America the promise of not just an equal education but a high-quality equal education."