The challenge of overcoming educational inequality in the United States can sometimes appear overwhelming, and great controversy exists as to whether or not elementary schools are up to the task, whether they can ameliorate existing social inequalities and initiate opportunities for economic and civic flourishing for all children. This book shows what can happen when you rethink schools from the ground up with precisely these goals in mind, approaching educational inequality and its entrenched causes head on, student by student.
Drawing on an in-depth study of real schools on the South Side of Chicago, Elizabeth McGhee Hassrick, Stephen W. Raudenbush, and Lisa Rosen argue that effectively meeting the challenge of educational inequality requires a complete reorganization of institutional structures as well as wholly new norms, values, and practices that are animated by a relentless commitment to student learning. They examine a model that pulls teachers out of their isolated classrooms and places them into collaborative environments where they can share their curricula, teaching methods, and assessments of student progress with a school-based network of peers, parents, and other professionals. Within this structure, teachers, school leaders, social workers, and parents collaborate to ensure that every child receives instruction tailored to his or her developing skills. Cooperating schools share new tools for assessment and instruction and become sites for the training of new teachers. Parents become respected partners, and expert practitioners work with researchers to evaluate their work and refine their models for educational organization and practice. The authors show not only what such a model looks like but the dramatic results it produces for student learning and achievement.
The result is a fresh, deeply informed, and remarkably clear portrait of school reform that directly addresses the real problems of educational inequality.
Drawing on the latest research on development among toddlers and preschoolers, At a Loss for Words lays out the importance of getting parents, policy makers, and child care providers to recognize the role of early literacy skills in reducing the achievement gap that begins before three years of age. Readers are guided through home and classroom settings that promote language, contrasting them with the "merely mediocre" child care settings in which more and more young children spend increasing amounts of time. Too many of our young children are not receiving the level of input and practice that will enable them to acquire language skills—the key to success in school and life. Bardige explains how to build better community support systems for children, and better public education, in order to ensure that toddlers learn the power of language from their families and teachers.
Fifty years ago, students who were parents were a rarity in college classrooms, but by the beginning of the twenty-first century, over a quarter of all undergraduate students were parents. In Back in School, A. Fiona Pearson explores how these student parents navigate cultural norms and institutional resources, forging pathways as they journey to become better parents and successful students. Back in School examines how policy makers, professors, college administrators, counselors, and social workers provide or deny access to child care, tutoring, financial aid, or other campus- or community-based resources. Pearson further explores how social norms and governmental and organizational policies influence access to these resources and student parents’ experiences on campus and at home.
Just as Americans least disadvantaged by racism are most likely to call their country post‐racial, Indians who have benefited from upper-caste affiliation rush to declare their country a post‐caste meritocracy. Ajantha Subramanian challenges this belief, showing how the ideal of meritocracy serves the reproduction of inequality in Indian education.
A series of policy shifts over the past decade promises to change how Americans decide where to send their children to school. In theory, the boom in standardized test scores and charter schools will allow parents to evaluate their assigned neighborhood school, or move in search of a better option. But what kind of data do parents actually use while choosing schools? Are there differences among suburban and urban families? How do parents’ choices influence school and residential segregation in America? Choosing Homes, Choosing Schools presents a breakthrough analysis of the new era of school choice, and what it portends for American neighborhoods. The distinguished contributors to Choosing Homes, Choosing Schools investigate the complex relationship between education, neighborhood social networks, and larger patterns of inequality. Paul Jargowsky reviews recent trends in segregation by race and class. His analysis shows that segregation between blacks and whites has declined since 1970, but remains extremely high. Moreover, white families with children are less likely than childless whites to live in neighborhoods with more minority residents. In her chapter, Annette Lareau draws on interviews with parents in three suburban neighborhoods to analyze school-choice decisions. Surprisingly, she finds that middle- and upper-class parents do not rely on active research, such as school tours or test scores. Instead, most simply trust advice from friends and other people in their network. Their decision-making process was largely informal and passive. Eliot Weinginer complements this research when he draws from his data on urban parents. He finds that these families worry endlessly about the selection of a school, and that parents of all backgrounds actively consider alternatives, including charter schools. Middle- and upper-class parents relied more on federally mandated report cards, district websites, and online forums, while working-class parents use network contacts to gain information on school quality. Little previous research has explored what role school concerns play in the preferences of white and minority parents for particular neighborhoods. Featuring innovative work from more than a dozen scholars, Choosing Homes, Choosing Schools adroitly addresses this gap and provides a firmer understanding of how Americans choose where to live and send their children to school.
Sternberg's book convincingly indicts the SAT and ACT exams. A single test lasting a few hours, he writes, "ends up having a weight equal" to the product of "years of effort and dedication" in high school.
American students vary in educational achievement, but white students in general typically have better test scores and grades than black students. Why is this the case, and what can school leaders do about it? In The Color of Mind, Derrick Darby and John L. Rury answer these pressing questions and show that we cannot make further progress in closing the achievement gap until we understand its racist origins.
Telling the story of what they call the Color of Mind—the idea that there are racial differences in intelligence, character, and behavior—they show how philosophers, such as David Hume and Immanuel Kant, and American statesman Thomas Jefferson, contributed to the construction of this pernicious idea, how it influenced the nature of schooling and student achievement, and how voices of dissent such as Frederick Douglass, Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, and W. E. B. Du Bois debunked the Color of Mind and worked to undo its adverse impacts.
Rejecting the view that racial differences in educational achievement are a product of innate or cultural differences, Darby and Rury uncover the historical interplay between ideas about race and American schooling, to show clearly that the racial achievement gap has been socially and institutionally constructed. School leaders striving to bring justice and dignity to American schools today must work to root out the systemic manifestations of these ideas within schools, while still doing what they can to mitigate the negative effects of poverty, segregation, inequality, and other external factors that adversely affect student achievement. While we cannot expect schools alone to solve these vexing social problems, we must demand that they address the dignitary injustices associated with how we track, discipline, and deal with special education that reinforce long-standing racist ideas. That is the only way to expel the Color of Mind from schools, close the racial achievement gap, and afford all children the dignity they deserve.
Seeing the consequences of competitive school choice policy through students’ eyes
While policymakers often justify school choice as a means to alleviate opportunity and achievement gaps, an unanticipated effect is increased competition over access to coveted, high-performing schools. In A Contest without Winners, Kate Phillippo follows a diverse group of Chicago students through the processes of researching, applying to, and enrolling in public high school. Throughout this journey, students prove themselves powerful policy actors who carry out and redefine competitive choice.
Phillippo’s work amplifies the voices of students—rather than the parents, educators, public intellectuals, and policymakers who so often inform school choice research—and investigates how students interact with and emerge from competitive choice academically, developmentally, and civically. Through students’ experiences, she shows how competitive choice legitimates and exacerbates existing social inequalities; collides with students’ developmental vulnerability to messages about their ability, merit, and potential; and encourages young people’s individualistic actions as they come to feel that they must earn their educational rights. From urban infrastructure to income inequality to racial segregation, Phillippo examines the factors that shape students’ policy enactment and interpretation, as policymakers and educators ask students to compete for access to public resources.
With competitive choice, even the winners—the lucky few admitted to their dream schools—don’t outright win. A Contest without Winners challenges meritocratic and market-driven notions of opportunity creation for young people and raises critical questions about the goals we have for public schooling.
Since the end of legal segregation in schools, most research on educational inequality has focused on economic and other structural obstacles to the academic achievement of disadvantaged groups. But in Contesting Stereotypes and Creating Identities, a distinguished group of psychologists and social scientists argue that stereotypes about the academic potential of some minority groups remain a significant barrier to their achievement. This groundbreaking volume examines how low institutional and cultural expectations of minorities hinder their academic success, how these stereotypes are perpetuated, and the ways that minority students attempt to empower themselves by redefining their identities. The contributors to Contesting Stereotypes and Creating Identities explore issues of ethnic identity and educational inequality from a broad range of disciplinary perspectives, drawing on historical analyses, social-psychological experiments, interviews, and observation. Meagan Patterson and Rebecca Bigler show that when teachers label or segregate students according to social categories (even in subtle ways), students are more likely to rank and stereotype one another, so educators must pay attention to the implicit or unintentional ways that they emphasize group differences. Many of the contributors contest John Ogbu's theory that African Americans have developed an "oppositional culture" that devalues academic effort as a form of "acting white." Daphna Oyserman and Daniel Brickman, in their study of black and Latino youth, find evidence that strong identification with their ethnic group is actually associated with higher academic motivation among minority youth. Yet, as Julie Garcia and Jennifer Crocker find in a study of African-American female college students, the desire to disprove negative stereotypes about race and gender can lead to anxiety, low self-esteem, and excessive, self-defeating levels of effort, which impede learning and academic success. The authors call for educational institutions to diffuse these threats to minority students' identities by emphasizing that intelligence is a malleable rather than a fixed trait. Contesting Stereotypes and Creating Identities reveals the many hidden ways that educational opportunities are denied to some social groups. At the same time, this probing and wide-ranging anthology provides a fresh perspective on the creative ways that these groups challenge stereotypes and attempt to participate fully in the educational system.
Over the past thirty-five years, federal courts have dramatically retreated from actively promoting school desegregation. In the meantime, state courts have taken up the mantle of promoting the vision of educational equity originally articulated in Brown v. Board of Education. Courts and Kids is the first detailed analysis of why the state courts have taken on this active role and how successful their efforts have been.
Since 1973, litigants have challenged the constitutionality of education finance systems in forty-five states on the grounds that they deprive many poor and minority students of adequate access to a sound education. While the plaintiffs have won in the majority of these cases, the decisions are often branded “judicial activism”—a stigma that has reduced their impact. To counter the charge, Michael A. Rebell persuasively defends the courts’ authority and responsibility to pursue the goal of educational equity. He envisions their ideal role as supervisory, and in Courts and Kids he offers innovative recommendations on how the courts can collaborate with the executive and legislative branches to create a truly democratic educational system.
In Divergent Paths to College, Megan M. Holland examines how high schools structure different pathways that lead students to very different college destinations based on race and class. She finds that racial and class inequalities are reproduced through unequal access to key sources of information, even among students in the same school and even in schools with well-established college-going cultures. As the college application process becomes increasingly complex and high-stakes, social capital, or relationships with people who can provide information as well as support and guidance, becomes much more critical. Although much has been written about the college-bound experience, we know less about the role that social capital plays, and specifically how high schools can serve as organizational brokers of social ties. The relationships that high schools cultivate between students and higher education institutions by inviting college admissions officers into their schools to market to students, is a particularly critical, yet unexplored source of college information.
Research frequently neglects the important ways that race and gender intersect within the complex structural dynamics of STEM. Diversifying STEM fills this void, bringing together a wide array of perspectives and the voices of a number of multidisciplinary scholars. The essays cover three main areas: the widely-held ideology that science and mathematics are “value-free,” which promotes pedagogies of colorblindness in the classroom as well as an avoidance of discussions around using mathematics and science to promote social justice; how male and female students of color experience the intersection of racist and sexist structures that lead to general underrepresentation and marginalization; and recognizing that although there are no quick fixes, there exists evidence-based research suggesting concrete ways of doing a better job of including individuals of color in STEM. As a whole this volume will allow practitioners, teachers, students, faculty, and professionals to reimagine STEM across a variety of educational paradigms, perspectives, and disciplines, which is critical in finding solutions that broaden the participation of historically underrepresented groups within the STEM disciplines.
Education and Equality
Danielle Allen University of Chicago Press, 2016 Library of Congress LC213.2.A55 2016 | Dewey Decimal 379.26
American education as we know it today—guaranteed by the state to serve every child in the country—is still less than a hundred years old. It’s no wonder we haven’t agreed yet as to exactly what role education should play in our society. In these Tanner Lectures, Danielle Allen brings us much closer, examining the ideological impasse between vocational and humanistic approaches that has plagued educational discourse, offering a compelling proposal to finally resolve the dispute.
Allen argues that education plays a crucial role in the cultivation of political and social equality and economic fairness, but that we have lost sight of exactly what that role is and should be. Drawing on thinkers such as John Rawls and Hannah Arendt, she sketches out a humanistic baseline that re-links education to equality, showing how doing so can help us reframe policy questions. From there, she turns to civic education, showing that we must reorient education’s trajectory toward readying students for lives as democratic citizens. Deepened by commentaries from leading thinkers Tommie Shelby, Marcelo Suárez-Orozco, Michael Rebell, and Quiara Alegría Hudes that touch on issues ranging from globalization to law to linguistic empowerment, this book offers a critical clarification of just how important education is to democratic life, as well as a stirring defense of the humanities.
Education, Justice, and Democracy
Edited by Danielle Allen and Rob Reich University of Chicago Press, 2013 Library of Congress LC213.2.E39 2013 | Dewey Decimal 379.26
Education is a contested topic, and not just politically. For years scholars have approached it from two different points of view: one empirical, focused on explanations for student and school success and failure, and the other philosophical, focused on education’s value and purpose within the larger society. Rarely have these separate approaches been brought into the same conversation. Education, Justice, and Democracy does just that, offering an intensive discussion by highly respected scholars across empirical and philosophical disciplines.
The contributors explore how the institutions and practices of education can support democracy, by creating the conditions for equal citizenship and egalitarian empowerment, and how they can advance justice, by securing social mobility and cultivating the talents and interests of every individual. Then the authors evaluate constraints on achieving the goals of democracy and justice in the educational arena and identify strategies that we can employ to work through or around those constraints. More than a thorough compendium on a timely and contested topic, Education, Justice, and Democracy exhibits an entirely new, more deeply composed way of thinking about education as a whole and its importance to a good society.
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.
As classrooms across the globe become increasingly more diverse, it is imperative that educators understand how to meet the needs of students with varying demographic backgrounds. Emerging Issues and Trends in Education presents case studies from academics who have all at one point been teachers in K–12 classrooms, addressing topics such as STEM as well as global issues related to race, gender education, education policy, and parental engagement. The contributors take an international approach, including research about Nigerian, Chinese, Native American, and Mexican American classrooms. With a focus on multidisciplinary perspectives, Emerging Issues and Trends in Education is reflective of the need to embrace different ways of looking at problems to improve education for all students.
Math and science hold powerful places in contemporary society, setting the foundations for entry into some of the most robust and highest-paying industries. However, effective math and science education is not equally available to all students, with some of the poorest students—those who would benefit most—going egregiously underserved. This ongoing problem with education highlights one of the core causes of the widening class gap.
While this educational inequality can be attributed to a number of economic and political causes, in Empowering Science and Mathematics Education in Urban Communities, Angela Calabrese Barton and Edna Tan demonstrate that it is augmented by a consistent failure to integrate student history, culture, and social needs into the core curriculum. They argue that teachers and schools should create hybrid third spaces—neither classroom nor home—in which underserved students can merge their personal worlds with those of math and science. A host of examples buttress this argument: schools where these spaces have been instituted now provide students not only an immediate motivation to engage the subjects most critical to their future livelihoods but also the broader math and science literacy necessary for robust societal engagement. A unique look at a frustratingly understudied subject, Empowering Science and Mathematics Education pushes beyond the idea of teaching for social justice and into larger questions of how and why students participate in math and science.
What does “fairness” mean internationally in terms of access to higher education? Increased competition for places in elite universities has prompted a worldwide discussion regarding the fairness of student admission policies. Despite budget cuts from governments—and increasing costs for students—competition is fierce at the most prestigious institutions. Universities, already under stress, face a challenge in balancing institutional research goals, meeting individual aspirations for upward social mobility, and promoting the democratic ideal of equal opportunity.
Fair Access to Higher Education addresses this challenge from a broad, transnational perspective. The chapters in this volume contribute to our thinking and reflection on policy developments and also offer new empirical findings about patterns of advantage and disadvantage in higher education access. Bringing together insights drawn from a variety of fields, including philosophy, linguistics, social psychology, sociology, and public policy, the book sheds light on how “fairness” in university admissions has been articulated worldwide.
Today, over 75 percent of high school seniors aspire to graduate from college. However, only one-third of Americans hold a bachelor’s degree, and college graduation rates vary significantly by race/ethnicity and parental socioeconomic status. If most young adults aspire to obtain a college degree, why are these disparities so great? In From High School to College, Charles Hirschman analyzes the period between leaving high school and completing college for nearly 10,000 public and private school students across the Pacific Northwest.
Hirschman finds that although there are few gender, racial, or immigration-related disparities in students’ aspirations to attend and complete college, certain groups succeed at the highest rates. For example, he finds that women achieve better high school grades and report receiving more support and encouragement from family, peers, and educators. They tend to outperform men in terms of preparing for college, enrolling in college within a year of finishing high school, and completing a degree. Similarly, second-generation immigrants are better prepared for college than first-generation immigrants, in part because they do not have to face language barriers or learn how to navigate the American educational system.
Hirschman also documents that racial disparities in college graduation rates remain stark. In his sample, 35 percent of white students graduated from college within seven years of completing high school, compared to only 19 percent of black students and 18 percent of Hispanic students. Students’ socioeconomic origins—including parental education and employment, home ownership, and family structure—account for most of the college graduation gap between disadvantaged minorities and white students. Further, while a few Asian ethnic groups have achieved college completion rates on par with whites, such as Chinese and Koreans, others, whose socioeconomic origins more resemble those of black and Hispanic students, such as Filipinos and Cambodians, also lag behind in preparedness, enrollment, and graduation from college.
With a growing number of young adults seeking college degrees, understanding the barriers that different students encounter provides vital information for social scientists and educators. From High School to College illuminates how gender, immigration, and ethnicity influence the path to college graduation.
Recent studies show that, either consciously or unconsciously, teachers are not practicing gender equity in the classroom. Boys are called on more in class than girls and are encouraged to pursue careers from which girls are excluded because they are thought to be less capable.
Serious questions arise for educators and counselors in this time of increasing awareness of the implications of gender bias, such as what comprises a gender-fair education and how can gender equity become part of the classroom curriculum? Guidance counselors and teachers share an important responsibility in seeking answers to these questions in order to avoid limiting students’ potential because of gender.
To achieve this end, Beverly A. Stitt has compiled an annotated bibliography of hundreds of books, articles, videos, classroom activities, and curriculum and workshop guides to help provide the tools needed for educators to become more gender conscious and to develop a gender–fair educational system.
The bibliography is divided into twenty-three categories under the headings of Agriculture and Industry, Business, Career Guidance, Communications, Computers, Discrimination, Displaced Homemakers/Reentry Women, Elementary Education, Family and Work Issues, Gender Role Stereotyping, History, Home Economics, In-service Training, Legislation, Male Focus, Math and Science, Nontraditional Careers, Pregnant and Parenting Teens, Recruitment, Special Needs, Teaching, Vocational Education, and Women’s Studies.
Each entry’s annotation provides a short description of the content, the age group to which the resource applies, and ordering information. The book concludes with an index in which entries are cross-referenced under various categories to further aid the reader’s research.
Many advocates of all-black male schools (ABMSs) argue that these institutions counter black boys’ racist emasculation in white, “overly” female classrooms. This argument challenges racism and perpetuates antifeminism.
Keisha Lindsay explains the complex politics of ABMSs by situating these schools within broader efforts at neoliberal education reform and within specific conversations about both "endangered” black males and a “boy crisis” in education. Lindsay also demonstrates that intersectionality, long considered feminist, is in fact a politically fluid framework. As such, it represents a potent tool for advancing many political agendas, including those of ABMSs supporters who champion antiracist education for black boys while obscuring black girls’ own race and gender-based oppression in school. Finally, Lindsay theorizes a particular means by which black men and other groups can form antiracist and feminist coalitions even when they make claims about their experiences that threaten bridge building. The way forward, Lindsay shows, allows disadvantaged groups to navigate the racial and gendered politics that divide them in pursuit of productive—and progressive—solutions.
Far-thinking and boldly argued, In a Classroom of Their Own explores the dilemmas faced by professionals and parents in search of equitable schooling for all students—black boys and otherwise.
For over twenty-five years, Charles C. Ragin has developed Qualitative Comparative Analysis and related set-analytic techniques as a means of bridging qualitative and quantitative methods of research. Now, with Peer C. Fiss, Ragin uses these impressive new tools to unravel the varied conditions affecting life chances.
Ragin and Fiss begin by taking up the controversy regarding the relative importance of test scores versus socioeconomic background on life chances, a debate that has raged since the 1994 publication of Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray’s TheBell Curve. In contrast to prior work, Ragin and Fiss bring an intersectional approach to the evidence, analyzing the different ways that advantages and disadvantages combine in their impact on life chances. Moving beyond controversy and fixed policy positions, the authors propose sophisticated new methods of analysis to underscore the importance of attending to configurations of race, gender, family background, educational achievement, and related conditions when addressing social inequality in America today.
Though colleges and universities are arguably paying more attention to diversity and inclusion than ever before, to what extent do their efforts result in more socially just campuses? Intersectionality and Higher Education examines how race, ethnicity, class, gender, sexuality, sexual orientation, age, disability, nationality, and other identities connect to produce intersected campus experiences. Contributors look at both the individual and institutional perspectives on issues like campus climate, race, class, and gender disparities, LGBTQ student experiences, undergraduate versus graduate students, faculty and staff from varying socioeconomic backgrounds, students with disabilities, undocumented students, and the intersections of two or more of these topics. Taken together, this volume presents an evidence-backed vision of how the twenty-first century higher education landscape should evolve in order to meaningfully support all participants, reduce marginalization, and reach for equity and equality.
Educators and policymakers who share the goal of equal opportunity in schools often hold differing notions of what entails a just school in multicultural America. Some emphasize the importance of integration and uniform treatment for all, while others point to the benefits of honoring cultural diversity in ways that make minority students feel at home. In Just Schools, noted legal scholars, educators, and social scientists examine schools with widely divergent methods of fostering equality in order to explore the possibilities and limits of equal education today. The contributors to Just Schools combine empirical research with rich ethnographic accounts to paint a vivid picture of the quest for justice in classrooms around the nation. Legal scholar Martha Minow considers the impact of school choice reforms on equal educational opportunities. Psychologist Hazel Rose Markus examines culturally sensitive programs where students exhibit superior performance on standardized tests and feel safer and more interested in school than those in color-blind programs. Anthropologist Heather Lindkvist reports on how Somali Muslims in Lewiston, Maine, invoked the American ideal of inclusiveness in winning dress-code exemptions and accommodations for Islamic rituals in the local public school. Political scientist Austin Sarat looks at a school system in which everyone endorses multiculturalism but holds conflicting views on the extent to which culturally sensitive practices should enter into the academic curriculum. Anthropologist Barnaby Riedel investigates how a private Muslim school in Chicago aspires to universalist ideals, and education scholar James Banks argues that schools have a responsibility to prepare students for citizenship in a multicultural society. Anthropologist John Bowen offers a nuanced interpretation of educational commitments in France and the headscarf controversy in French schools. Anthropologist Richard Shweder concludes the volume by connecting debates about diversity in schools with a broader conflict between national assimilation and cultural autonomy. As America's schools strive to accommodate new students from around the world, Just Schools provides a provocative and insightful look at the different ways we define and promote justice in schools and in society at large.
Kids Don't Want to Fail
Angel L. Harris Harvard University Press, 2011 Library of Congress LC2717.H37 2011 | Dewey Decimal 371.82996073
Kids Don’t Want to Fail uses empirical evidence to refute the widely accepted hypothesis that the black-white achievement gap in secondary schools is due to a cultural resistance to schooling in the black community. The author finds that inadequate elementary school preparation—not negative attitude—accounts for black students’ underperformance.
How to handle affirmative action is one of the most intractable policy problems of our era, touching on controversial issues such as race-consciousness and social justice. Much has been written both for and against affirmative action policies—especially within the realm of educational opportunity. In this book, philosopher Michele S. Moses offers a crucial new pathway for thinking about the debate surrounding educational affirmative action, one that holds up the debate itself as an important emblem of the democratic process.
Central to Moses’s analysis is the argument that we need to understand disagreements about affirmative action as inherently moral, products of conflicts between deeply held beliefs that shape differing opinions on what justice requires of education policy. As she shows, differing opinions on affirmative action result from different conceptual values, for instance, between being treated equally and being treated as an equal or between seeing race-consciousness as a pernicious political force or as a necessary variable in political equality. As Moses shows, although moral disagreements about race-conscious policies and similar issues are often seen as symptoms of dysfunctional politics, they in fact create rich opportunities for discussions about diversity that nourish democratic thought and life.
In a radically unequal United States, schools are often key sites in which injustice grows. Ansley T. Erickson’s Making the Unequal Metropolis presents a broad, detailed, and damning argument about the inextricable interrelatedness of school policies and the persistence of metropolitan-scale inequality. While many accounts of education in urban and metropolitan contexts describe schools as the victims of forces beyond their control, Erickson shows the many ways that schools have been intertwined with these forces and have in fact—via land-use decisions, curricula, and other tools—helped sustain inequality.
Taking Nashville as her focus, Erickson uncovers the hidden policy choices that have until now been missing from popular and legal narratives of inequality. In her account, inequality emerges not only from individual racism and white communities’ resistance to desegregation, but as the result of long-standing linkages between schooling, property markets, labor markets, and the pursuit of economic growth. By making visible the full scope of the forces invested in and reinforcing inequality, Erickson reveals the complex history of, and broad culpability for, ongoing struggles in our schools.
If free market advocates had total control over education policy, would the shared public system of education collapse? Would school choice revitalize schooling with its innovative force? With proliferating charters and voucher schemes, would the United States finally make a dramatic break with its past and expand parental choice?
Those are not only the wrong questions—they’re the wrong premises, argue philosopher Sigal R. Ben-Porath and historian Michael C. Johanek in Making Up Our Mind. Market-driven school choices aren’t new. They predate the republic, and for generations parents have chosen to educate their children through an evolving mix of publicly supported, private, charitable, and entrepreneurial enterprises. The question is not whether to have school choice. It is how we will regulate who has which choices in our mixed market for schooling—and what we, as a nation, hope to accomplish with that mix of choices. Looking beyond the simplistic divide between those who oppose government intervention and those who support public education, the authors make the case for a structured landscape of choice in schooling, one that protects the interests of children and of society, while also identifying key shared values on which a broadly acceptable policy could rest.
In 1968 over 10,000 Chicana/o high school students in East Los Angeles walked out of their schools in the first major protest against racism and educational inequality staged by Mexican Americans in the United States. They ignited the Mexican-American civil rights movement, which opened the doors to higher education and equal opportunity in employment for Mexican Americans and other Latinos previously excluded. Marching Students is a collaborative effort by Chicana/o scholars in several fields to place the 1968 walkouts and Chicana and Chicano Civil Rights Movement in historical context, highlighting the contribution of Chicana/o educators, students, and community activists to minority education. Contributors: Alejandro Covarrubias, Xico González, Eracleo Guevara, Adriana Katzew, Lilia R. De Katzew, Rita Kohli, Edward M. Olivos, Alejo Padilla, Carmen E. Quintana, Evelyn M. Rangel-Medina, Marianna Rivera, Daniel G. Solórzano, Carlos Tejeda
Discuss real estate with any young family and the subject of schools is certain to come up—in fact, it will likely be a crucial factor in determining where that family lives. Not merely institutions of learning, schools have increasingly become a sign of a neighborhood’s vitality, and city planners have ever more explicitly promoted “good schools” as a means of attracting more affluent families to urban areas, a dynamic process that Maia Bloomfield Cucchiara critically examines in Marketing Schools, Marketing Cities.
Focusing on Philadelphia’s Center City Schools Initiative, she shows how education policy makes overt attempts to prevent, or at least slow, middle-class flight to the suburbs. Navigating complex ethical terrain, she balances the successes of such policies in strengthening urban schools and communities against the inherent social injustices they propagate—the further marginalization and disempowerment of lowerclass families. By asking what happens when affluent parents become “valued customers,” Marketing Schools, Marketing Cities uncovers a problematic relationship between public institutions and private markets, where the former are used to leverage the latter to effect urban transformations.
Pointing to the disparities between wealthy and impoverished school districts in areas where revenue depends primarily upon local taxes, reformers repeatedly call for the centralization of school funding. Their proposals meet resistance from citizens, elected officials, and school administrators who fear the loss of local autonomy.
Bryan Shelly finds, however, that local autonomy has already been compromised by federal and state governments, which exercise a tremendous amount of control over public education despite their small contribution to a school system's funding. This disproportionate relationship between funding and control allows state and federal officials to pass education policy yet excuses them from supplying adequate funding for new programs. The resulting unfunded and underfunded mandates and regulations, Shelly insists, are the true cause of the loss of community control over public education.
Shelly outlines the effects of the most infamous of underfunded federal mandates, the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB), and explores why schools implemented it despite its unpopularity and out-of-pocket costs. Shelly's findings hold significant implications for school finance reform, NCLB, and the future of intergovernmental relations.
In 1981, when Raymond Abbott was a twelve-year-old sixth-grader in Camden, New Jersey, poor city school districts like his spent 25 percent less per student than the state’s wealthy suburbs did. That year, Abbott became the lead plaintiff in a landmark class-action lawsuit demanding that the state provide equal funding for rich and poor schools. Over the next twenty-five years, as the non-profit law firm representing the plaintiffs won ruling after ruling from the New Jersey Supreme Court, Abbott dropped out of school, fought a cocaine addiction, and spent time in prison before turning his life around.
Raymond Abbott’s is just one of the many human stories that have too often been forgotten in the policy battles New Jersey has waged for two generations over equal funding for rich and poor schools. Other People’s Children, the first book to tell the story of this decades-long school funding battle, interweaves the public story—an account of legal and political wrangling over laws and money—with the private stories of the inner-city children who were named plaintiffs in the state’s two school funding lawsuits, Robinson v. Cahill and Abbott v. Burke. Although these cases have shaped New Jersey’s fiscal and political landscape since the 1970s, most recently in legislative arguments over tax reform, the debate has often been too abstract and technical for most citizens to understand. Written in an accessible style and based on dozens of interviews with lawyers, politicians, and the plaintiffs themselves, Other People’s Children crystallizes the arguments and clarifies the issues for general readers.
Beyond its implications for New Jersey, this book is an important contribution to the conversations taking place in all states about the nation’s responsibility for its poor, and the role of public schools in providing equal opportunities and promising upward mobility for hard-working citizens, regardless of race or class.
The steady expansion of college enrollment rates over the last generation has been heralded as a major step toward reducing chronic economic disparities. But many of the policies that broadened access to higher education—including affirmative action, open admissions, and need-based financial aid—have come under attack in recent years by critics alleging that schools are admitting unqualified students who are unlikely to benefit from a college education. In Passing the Torch, Paul Attewell, David Lavin, Thurston Domina, and Tania Levey follow students admitted under the City University of New York’s “open admissions” policy, tracking its effects on them and their children, to find out whether widening college access can accelerate social mobility across generations.
Unlike previous research into the benefits of higher education, Passing the Torch follows the educational achievements of three generations over thirty years. The book focuses on a cohort of women who entered CUNY between 1970 and 1972, when the university began accepting all graduates of New York City high schools and increasing its representation of poor and minority students. The authors survey these women in order to identify how the opportunity to pursue higher education affected not only their long-term educational attainments and family well-being, but also how it affected their children’s educational achievements. Comparing the record of the CUNY alumnae to peers nationwide, the authors find that when women from underprivileged backgrounds go to college, their children are more likely to succeed in school and earn college degrees themselves. Mothers with a college degree are more likely to expect their children to go to college, to have extensive discussions with their children, and to be involved in their children’s schools. All of these parenting behaviors appear to foster higher test scores and college enrollment rates among their children. In addition, college-educated women are more likely to raise their children in stable two-parent households and to earn higher incomes; both factors have been demonstrated to increase children’s educational success.
The evidence marshaled in this important book reaffirms the American ideal of upward mobility through education. As the first study to indicate that increasing access to college among today’s disadvantaged students can reduce educational gaps in the next generation, Passing the Torch makes a powerful argument in favor of college for all.
How being “nice” in school and university settings works to reinforce racialized, gendered, and (dis)ability-related inequities in education and society
Being nice is difficult to critique. Niceness is almost always portrayed and felt as a positive quality. In schools, nice teachers are popular among students, parents, and administrators. And yet Niceness, as a distinct set of practices and discourses, is not actually good for individuals, institutions, or communities because of the way it maintains and reinforces educational inequity.
In The Price of Nice, an interdisciplinary group of scholars explores Niceness in educational spaces from elementary schools through higher education to highlight how this seemingly benign quality reinforces structural inequalities. Grounded in data, personal narrative, and theory, the chapters show that Niceness, as a raced, gendered, and classed set of behaviors, functions both as a shield to save educators from having to do the hard work of dismantling inequity and as a disciplining agent for those who attempt or even consider disrupting structures and ideologies of dominance.
Contributors: Sarah Abuwandi, Arizona State U; Colin Ben, U of Utah; Nicholas Bustamante, Arizona State U; Aidan/Amanda J. Charles, Northern Arizona U; Jeremiah Chin, Arizona State U; Sally Campbell Galman, U of Massachusetts; Frederick Gooding Jr., Texas Christian U; Deirdre Judge, Tufts U; Katie A. Lazdowski; Román Liera, U of Southern California; Sylvia Mac, U of La Verne; Lindsey Malcolm-Piqueux, California Institute of Technology; Giselle Martinez Negrette, U of Wisconsin–Madison; Amber Poleviyuma, Arizona State U; Alexus Richmond, Arizona State U; Frances J. Riemer, Northern Arizona U; Jessica Sierk, St. Lawrence U; Bailey B. Smolarek, U of Wisconsin–Madison; Jessica Solyom, Arizona State U; Megan Tom, Arizona State U; Sabina Vaught, U of Oklahoma; Cynthia Diana Villarreal, U of Southern California; Kristine T. Weatherston, Temple U; Joseph C. Wegwert, Northern Arizona U; Marguerite Anne Fillion Wilson, Binghamton U; Jia-Hui Stefanie Wong, Trinity College; Denise Gray Yull, Binghamton U.
In Realizing Educational Rights, Anne Newman examines two educational rights questions that arise at the intersection of political theory, educational policy, and law: What is the place of a right to education in a participatory democracy, and how can we realize this right in the United States? Tracking these questions across both philosophical and pragmatic terrain, she addresses urgent moral and political questions, offering a rare, double-pronged look at educational justice in a democratic society.
Newman argues that an adequate K–12 education is the right of all citizens, as a matter of equality, and emphasizes that this right must be shielded from the sway of partisan and majoritarian policy making far more than it currently is. She then examines how educational rights are realized in our current democratic structure, offering two case studies of leading types of rights-based activism: school finance litigation on the state level and the mobilization of citizens through community-based organizations. Bringing these case studies together with rich philosophical analysis, Realizing Educational Rights advances understanding of the relationships among moral and legal rights, education reform, and democratic politics.
In the 1960s and 1970s, minority and women students at colleges and universities across the United States organized protest movements to end racial and gender inequality on campus. African American, Chicano, Asia American, American Indian, women, and queer activists demanded the creation of departments that reflected their histories and experiences, resulting in the formation of interdisciplinary studies programs that hoped to transform both the university and the wider society beyond the campus.
In The Reorder of Things, however, Roderick A. Ferguson traces and assesses the ways in which the rise of interdisciplines—departments of race, gender, and ethnicity; fields such as queer studies—were not simply a challenge to contemporary power as manifest in academia, the state, and global capitalism but were, rather, constitutive of it. Ferguson delineates precisely how minority culture and difference as affirmed by legacies of the student movements were appropriated and institutionalized by established networks of power.
Critically examining liberationist social movements and the cultural products that have been informed by them, including works by Adrian Piper, Toni Cade Bambara, Jhumpa Lahiri, and Zadie Smith, The Reorder of Things argues for the need to recognize the vulnerabilities of cultural studies to co-option by state power and to develop modes of debate and analysis that may be in the institution but are, unequivocally, not of it.
Many localities in America resisted integration in the aftermath of the Brown v. Board of Education rulings (1954, 1955). Virginia’s Prince Edward County stands as perhaps the most extreme. Rather than fund integrated schools, the county’s board of supervisors closed public schools from 1959 until 1964. The only formal education available for those locked out of school came in 1963 when the combined efforts of Prince Edward’s African American community and aides from President John F. Kennedy’s administration established the Prince Edward County Free School Association (Free School). This temporary school system would serve just over 1,500 students, both black and white, aged 6 through 23.
Drawing upon extensive archival research, Resisting Brown presents the Free School as a site in which important rhetorical work took place. Candace Epps-Robertson analyzes public discourse that supported the school closures as an effort and manifestation of citizenship and demonstrates how the establishment of the Free School can be seen as a rhetorical response to white supremacist ideologies. The school’s mission statements, philosophies, and commitment to literacy served as arguments against racialized constructions of citizenship. Prince Edward County stands as a microcosm of America’s struggle with race, literacy, and citizenship.
While powerful gender inequalities remain in American society, women have made substantial gains and now largely surpass men in one crucial arena: education. Women now outperform men academically at all levels of school, and are more likely to obtain college degrees and enroll in graduate school. What accounts for this enormous reversal in the gender education gap? In The Rise of Women: The Growing Gender Gap in Education and What It Means for American Schools, Thomas DiPrete and Claudia Buchmann provide a detailed and accessible account of women’s educational advantage and suggest new strategies to improve schooling outcomes for both boys and girls. The Rise of Women opens with a masterful overview of the broader societal changes that accompanied the change in gender trends in higher education. The rise of egalitarian gender norms and a growing demand for college-educated workers allowed more women to enroll in colleges and universities nationwide. As this shift occurred, women quickly reversed the historical male advantage in education. By 2010, young women in their mid-twenties surpassed their male counterparts in earning college degrees by more than eight percentage points. The authors, however, reveal an important exception: While women have achieved parity in fields such as medicine and the law, they lag far behind men in engineering and physical science degrees. To explain these trends, The Rise of Women charts the performance of boys and girls over the course of their schooling. At each stage in the education process, they consider the gender-specific impact of factors such as families, schools, peers, race and class. Important differences emerge as early as kindergarten, where girls show higher levels of essential learning skills such as persistence and self-control. Girls also derive more intrinsic gratification from performing well on a day-to-day basis, a crucial advantage in the learning process. By contrast, boys must often navigate a conflict between their emerging masculine identity and a strong attachment to school. Families and peers play a crucial role at this juncture. The authors show the gender gap in educational attainment between children in the same families tends to be lower when the father is present and more highly educated. A strong academic climate, both among friends and at home, also tends to erode stereotypes that disconnect academic prowess and a healthy, masculine identity. Similarly, high schools with strong science curricula reduce the power of gender stereotypes concerning science and technology and encourage girls to major in scientific fields. As the value of a highly skilled workforce continues to grow, The Rise of Women argues that understanding the source and extent of the gender gap in higher education is essential to improving our schools and the economy. With its rigorous data and clear recommendations, this volume illuminates new ground for future education policies and research.
We live at a time when the need for resistance has come front and center to international consciousness. Rise Up! Activism as Education works to advance theory and practice-oriented understandings of multiple forms of and relationships between racial justice activism and diverse and transnational educational contexts. Here contributors provide detailed accounts and examinations—historical and contemporary, local and international—of active resistance efforts aimed at transforming individuals, institutions, and communities to dismantle systems of racial domination. They explore the ways in which racial justice activism serves as public education and consciousness-raising and a form of education and resistance from those engaged in the activism. The text makes a case for activism as an educational concept that enables organizers and observers to gain important learning outcomes from on-the-ground perspectives as it explores racial justice activism, specifically in the context of community and campus activism, intersectional activism, and Black diasporic liberation. This volume is an essential handbook for preparing both students and activists to effectively resist.
In School Choice and the Future of American Democracy, Scott Franklin Abernathy shows what is lost in the school choice debate. Abernathy looks at parents as citizens who exert power over the educational system through everything from their votes on school budgets to their membership on school boards. Challenging the assumption that public schools will improve when confronted with market-based reforms, Abernathy examines the possibility that public schools will become more disconnected and isolated as civic life is privatized.
"Scott Abernathy takes up big questions and provides answers grounded in the complex reality of policy and politics. School Choice and the Future of American Democracy is a book written for those who understand that the world does not fit the simple explanations too often put forward."
--Clarence Stone, Professor Emeritus, University of Maryland, and Research Professor, George Washington University
"Will school choice revive or eviscerate democratic processes and institutions? Will it narrow or exacerbate the range of educational inequities? This book takes several differently angled slices into these questions and draws intriguing answers."
--Jeffrey R. Henig, Teachers College, Columbia University, and author of Rethinking School Choice: Limits of the Market Metaphor
"Through extensive research and refreshingly impartial analysis, Scott Abernathy probes how the use of market principles to reform public schools affects democratic citizenship. Treating citizens first and foremost as customers, he finds, threatens civic engagement and the well-being of schools, especially in the nation's neediest communities. This thoughtful and balanced appraisal is must-reading for those concerned about the future of American education and democracy."
--Suzanne Mettler, Alumni Associate Professor, Syracuse University, and author of Soldiers to Citizens: The G.I. Bill and the Making of the Greatest Generation
Scott Franklin Abernathy is Assistant Professor of Political Science, University of Minnesota
While white residents of antebellum Boston and New Haven forcefully opposed the education of black residents, their counterparts in slaveholding Baltimore did little to resist the establishment of African American schools. Such discrepancies, Hilary Moss argues, suggest that white opposition to black education was not a foregone conclusion. Through the comparative lenses of these three cities, she shows why opposition erupted where it did across the United States during the same period that gave rise to public education.
As common schooling emerged in the 1830s, providing white children of all classes and ethnicities with the opportunity to become full-fledged citizens, it redefined citizenship as synonymous with whiteness. This link between school and American identity, Moss argues, increased white hostility to black education at the same time that it spurred African Americans to demand public schooling as a means of securing status as full and equal members of society. Shedding new light on the efforts of black Americans to learn independently in the face of white attempts to withhold opportunity, Schooling Citizens narrates a previously untold chapter in the thorny history of America’s educational inequality.
In 1959, Virginia’s Prince Edward County closed its public schools rather than obey a court order to desegregate. For five years, black children were left to fend for themselves while the courts decided if the county could continue to deny its citizens public education. Investigating this remarkable and nearly forgotten story of local, state, and federal political confrontation, Christopher Bonastia recounts the test of wills that pitted resolute African Americans against equally steadfast white segregationists in a battle over the future of public education in America.
Beginning in 1951 when black high school students protested unequal facilities and continuing through the return of whites to public schools in the 1970s and 1980s, Bonastia describes the struggle over education during the civil rights era and the human suffering that came with it, as well as the inspiring determination of black residents to see justice served. Artfully exploring the lessons of the Prince Edward saga, Southern Stalemate unearths new insights about the evolution of modern conservatism and the politics of race in America.
The circumstances affecting many African American males in schools and society remain complex and problematic. In spite of modest gains in school achievement and graduation rates, conditions that impede the progress of African American males persist: high rates of school violence and suspensions, overrepresentation in special education classes, poor access to higher education, high incidence of crime and incarceration, gender and masculine identity issues, and HIV/AIDS and other health crises.
The essays gathered here focus on these issues as they exist for males in grades K-12 and postsecondary education in Michigan. However, the authors intend their analyses and policy recommendations to apply to African American males nationally.
Although it recognizes the current difficulties of this population overall, this is an optimistic volume, with a goal of creating policies and norms that help African American males achieve their educational and social potential. In this era of widespread change for all members of American society-regardless of race-this book is a must-read for educators and policymakers alike.
Addressing the disparity in test scores between black and white children remains one of the greatest social challenges of our time. Between the 1960s and 1980s, tremendous strides were made in closing the achievement gap, but that remarkable progress halted abruptly in the mid 1980s, and stagnated throughout the 1990s. How can we understand these shifting trends and their relation to escalating economic inequality? In Steady Gains and Stalled Progress, interdisciplinary experts present a groundbreaking analysis of the multifaceted reasons behind the test score gap—and the policies that hold the greatest promise for renewed progress in the future. Steady Gains and Stalled Progress shows that while income inequality does not directly lead to racial differences in test scores, it creates and exacerbates disparities in schools, families, and communities—which do affect test scores. Jens Ludwig and Jacob Vigdor demonstrate that the period of greatest progress in closing the gap coincided with the historic push for school desegregation in the 1960s and 1970s. Stagnation came after efforts to integrate schools slowed down. Today, the test score gap is nearly 50 percent larger in states with the highest levels of school segregation. Katherine Magnuson, Dan Rosenbaum, and Jane Waldfogel show how parents' level of education affects children's academic performance: as educational attainment for black parents increased in the 1970s and 1980s, the gap in children's test scores narrowed. Sean Corcoran and William Evans present evidence that teachers of black students have less experience and are less satisfied in their careers than teachers of white students. David Grissmer and Elizabeth Eiseman find that the effects of economic deprivation on cognitive and emotional development in early childhood lead to a racial divide in school readiness on the very first day of kindergarten. Looking ahead, Helen Ladd stresses that the task of narrowing the divide is not one that can or should be left to schools alone. Progress will resume only when policymakers address the larger social and economic forces behind the problem. Ronald Ferguson masterfully interweaves the volume's chief findings to highlight the fact that the achievement gap is the cumulative effect of many different processes operating in different contexts. The gap in black and white test scores is one of the most salient features of racial inequality today. Steady Gains and Stalled Progress provides the detailed information and powerful insight we need to understand a complicated past and design a better future.
SUBSTANCE OF FIRE: GENDER AND RACE IN THE COLLEGE CLASSROOM brings readers inside the four-year college experience, unfolding multiple perspectives and voices. This multi-genre book, written by college professor Claire Millikin, explores how race and gender function within the privilege of the four-year college classroom. Additional contributions are from recent graduates and current faculty, who interrogate the forces of sexism and racism from the various perspectives of gay, straight, biracial, white, African American, and Latino writers and artists. How does being a female professor differ from being a male professor? How does being a lesbian student make a difference in terms of accessing a professor's time, attention, and respect? How does having dark skin or a non-Anglo last name impact a student's freedom to pursue different majors? These and more questions are examined in THE SUBSTANCE OF FIRE. As the title suggests, race and gender are not topics "under control” in higher education but instead they are flash points, tinder, waiting just under the surface of our culture that still makes the claim of equal access to higher education even as so many lives testify to the incompleteness of this so-called equality. Gender and race can ignite, causing pain in the college setting. This book goes to the place of that fire.
Despite the idealism represented by the No Child Left Behind law’s mandate for accountability in education, deaf students historically and on average have performed far below grade level on standardized tests. To resolve this contradiction in deaf education, this collection presents a spectrum of perspectives from a diverse corps of education experts to suggest a constructive synthesis of worthy ideals, hard realities, and pragmatic solutions. Contributors to this study include volume editors Robert C. Johnson and Ross E. Mitchell, Ed Bosso, Michael Bello, Betsy J. Case, Patrick Costello, Stephanie W. Cawthon, Joseph E. Fischgrund, Courtney Foster, Christopher Johnstone, Michael Jones, Jana Lollis, Pat Moore, Barbara Raimondo, Suzanne Recane, Richard C. Steffan, Jr., Sandra J. Thompson, Martha L. Thurlow, and Elizabeth Towles-Reeves.
These noted educators and researchers employ experiences from Massachusetts, Delaware, Maryland, North Carolina, Illinois and California to support their findings about the dilemma facing deaf students and their teachers. They assess the intent and flexibility of federal law; achievement data regarding deaf students; potential accommodations and universal design to make tests more accessible; possible alternatives for deaf student not ready for conventional assessments; accounts of varying degrees of cooperation and conflict between schools and state education departments; and the day-to-day efforts of teachers and school administrators to help deaf students measure up to the new standards. By presenting these wide-ranging insights together, Testing Deaf Students in an Age of Accountability provides a unique opportunity to create genuine means to educate deaf students for the only test that matters, that of life.
In recent decades, American universities have begun to tout the “diversity” of their faculty and student bodies. But what kinds of diversity are being championed in their admissions and hiring practices, and what kinds are being neglected? Is diversity enough to solve the structural inequalities that plague our universities? And how might we articulate the value of diversity in the first place?
Transforming the Academy begins to answer these questions by bringing together a mix of faculty—male and female, cisgender and queer, immigrant and native-born, tenured and contingent, white, black, multiracial, and other—from public and private universities across the United States. Whether describing contentious power dynamics within their classrooms or recounting protests that occurred on their campuses, the book’s contributors offer bracingly honest inside accounts of both the conflicts and the learning experiences that can emerge from being a representative of diversity.
The collection’s authors are united by their commitment to an ideal of the American university as an inclusive and transformative space, one where students from all backgrounds can simultaneously feel intellectually challenged and personally supported. Yet Transforming the Academy also offers a wide range of perspectives on how to best achieve these goals, a diversity of opinion that is sure to inspire lively debate.
In Twenty Years of Life, Suzanne Bohan exposes the disturbing flip side of the American dream: your health is largely determined by your zip code. The strain of living in a poor neighborhood, with sub-par schools, lack of parks, fear of violence, few to no healthy food options, and the stress of unpaid bills is literally taking years off people’s lives. The difference in life expectancy between wealthy and distressed neighborhoods can be as much as twenty years.
Bohan chronicles a bold experiment to challenge this inequity. The California Endowment, one of the nation’s largest health foundations, is upending the old-school, top-down charity model and investing $1 billion over ten years to help distressed communities advocate for their own interests. This new approach to community change draws on the latent political power of residents and is driving reform both locally and in the state’s legislative chambers. If it can work in fourteen of California’s most challenging and diverse communities, it has the potential to work anywhere in the country.
Bohan introduces us to former street shooters with official government jobs; kids who convinced their city council members to build skate parks; students and parents who demanded fairer school discipline policies to keep kids in the classroom; urban farmers who pushed for permits to produce and sell their food; and a Native American tribe that revived its traditional forest management practices. Told with compassion and insight, their stories will fundamentally change how we think about the root causes of disease and the prospects for healing.
Almost fifty years after Brown v. Board of Education, a wealth of research shows that minority students continue to receive an unequal education. At the heart of this inequality is a complex and often conflicted relationship between teachers and civil rights activists, examined fully for the first time in Jonna Perrillo’s Uncivil Rights, which traces the tensions between the two groups in New York City from the Great Depression to the present.
While movements for teachers’ rights and civil rights were not always in conflict, Perrillo uncovers the ways they have become so, brought about both by teachers who have come to see civil rights efforts as detracting from or competing with their own goals and by civil rights activists whose aims have de-professionalized the role of the educator. Focusing in particular on unionized teachers, Perrillo finds a new vantage point from which to examine the relationship between school and community, showing how in this struggle, educators, activists, and especially our students have lost out.
Based on quantitative comparisons of colleges since the 1970s, Charles Clotfelter reveals that despite the civil rights revolution, billions spent on financial aid, and the commitment of colleges to greater equality, stratification in higher education has grown starker. He explains why undergraduate education—unequal in 1970—is even more so today.
American higher education is often understood as a vehicle for social advancement. However, the institutions at which students enroll differ widely from one another. Some enjoy tremendous endowment savings and/or collect resources via research, which then offsets the funds that students contribute. Other institutions rely heavily on student tuition payments. These schools may struggle to remain solvent, and their students often bear the lion’s share of educational costs. Unequal Higher Education identifies and explains the sources of stratification that differentiate colleges and universities in the United States. Barrett J. Taylor and Brendan Cantwell use quantitative analysis to map the contours of this system. They then explain the mechanisms that sustain it and illustrate the ways in which rising institutional inequality has limited individual opportunity, especially for students of color and low-income individuals.
On April 22, 2015, Boston University professor Saida Grundy set off a Twitter storm with her provocative question: “Why is white America so reluctant to identify white college males as a problem population?” White Guys on Campus is a critical examination of race in higher education, centering Whiteness, in an effort to unveil the frequently unconscious habits of racism among White male undergraduates. Nolan L. Cabrera moves beyond the “few bad apples” frame of contemporary racism, and explores the structures, policies, ideologies, and experiences that allow racism to flourish. This book details many of the contours of contemporary, systemic racism, while engaging the possibility of White students to participate in anti-racism. Ultimately, White Guys on Campus calls upon institutions of higher education to be sites of social transformation instead of reinforcing systemic racism, while creating a platform to engage and challenge the public discourse of “post- racialism.”