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The Elusive Ideal: Equal Educational Opportunity and the Federal Role in Boston's Public Schools, 1950-1985
by Adam R. Nelson
University of Chicago Press, 2005
Paper: 978-0-226-57190-4 | Cloth: 978-0-226-57189-8
Library of Congress Classification LC213.23.B67N45 2005
Dewey Decimal Classification 379.260974461

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ABOUT THIS BOOK
In recent years, federal mandates in education have become the subject of increasing debate. Adam R. Nelson's The Elusive Ideal—a postwar history of federal involvement in the Boston public schools—provides lessons from the past that shed light on the continuing struggles of urban public schools today. This far-reaching analysis examines the persistent failure of educational policy at local, state, and federal levels to equalize educational opportunity for all. Exploring deep-seated tensions between the educational ideals of integration, inclusion, and academic achievement over time, Nelson considers the development and implementation of policies targeted at diverse groups of urban students, including policies related to racial desegregation, bilingual education, special education, school funding, and standardized testing.

An ambitious study that spans more than thirty years and covers all facets of educational policy, from legal battles to tax strategies, The Elusive Ideal provides a model from which future inquiries will proceed. A probing and provocative work of urban history with deep relevance for urban public schools today, Nelson's book reveals why equal educational opportunity remains such an elusive ideal.

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