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The Color of School Reform: Race, Politics, and the Challenge of Urban Education

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Why is it so difficult to design and implement fundamental educational reform in large city schools in spite of broad popular support for change? How does the politics of race complicate the challenge of building and sustaining coalitions for improving urban schools? These questions have provoked a great deal of theorizing, but this is the first book to explore the issues Why is it so difficult to design and implement fundamental educational reform in large city schools in spite of broad popular support for change? How does the politics of race complicate the challenge of building and sustaining coalitions for improving urban schools? These questions have provoked a great deal of theorizing, but this is the first book to explore the issues on the basis of extensive, solid evidence. Here a group of political scientists examines education reform in Atlanta, Baltimore, Detroit, and Washington, D.C., where local governmental authority has passed from white to black leaders. The authors show that black administrative control of big-city school systems has not translated into broad improvements in the quality of public education within black-led cities. Race can be crucial, however, in fostering the broad civic involvement perhaps most needed for school reform. In each city examined, reform efforts often arise but collapse, partly because leaders are unable to craft effective political coalitions that would commit community resources to a concrete policy agenda. What undermines the leadership, according to the authors, is the complex role of race in each city. First, public authority does not guarantee access to private resources, usually still controlled by white economic elites. Second, local authorities must interact with external actors, at the state and national levels, who remain predominantly white. Finally, issues of race divide the African American community itself and often place limits on what leaders can and cannot do. Filled with insightful explanations together with recommendations for policy change, this book is an important component of the debate now being waged among researchers, education activists, and the community as a whole.


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Why is it so difficult to design and implement fundamental educational reform in large city schools in spite of broad popular support for change? How does the politics of race complicate the challenge of building and sustaining coalitions for improving urban schools? These questions have provoked a great deal of theorizing, but this is the first book to explore the issues Why is it so difficult to design and implement fundamental educational reform in large city schools in spite of broad popular support for change? How does the politics of race complicate the challenge of building and sustaining coalitions for improving urban schools? These questions have provoked a great deal of theorizing, but this is the first book to explore the issues on the basis of extensive, solid evidence. Here a group of political scientists examines education reform in Atlanta, Baltimore, Detroit, and Washington, D.C., where local governmental authority has passed from white to black leaders. The authors show that black administrative control of big-city school systems has not translated into broad improvements in the quality of public education within black-led cities. Race can be crucial, however, in fostering the broad civic involvement perhaps most needed for school reform. In each city examined, reform efforts often arise but collapse, partly because leaders are unable to craft effective political coalitions that would commit community resources to a concrete policy agenda. What undermines the leadership, according to the authors, is the complex role of race in each city. First, public authority does not guarantee access to private resources, usually still controlled by white economic elites. Second, local authorities must interact with external actors, at the state and national levels, who remain predominantly white. Finally, issues of race divide the African American community itself and often place limits on what leaders can and cannot do. Filled with insightful explanations together with recommendations for policy change, this book is an important component of the debate now being waged among researchers, education activists, and the community as a whole.

30 review for The Color of School Reform: Race, Politics, and the Challenge of Urban Education

  1. 4 out of 5

    Mr. Brammer

    Henig et al propose an interesting take on the problem of urban schooling - why not perform case studies on the 4 major black-run city governments and determine where the intersection of race, politics and education lies - why have these cities continued to have failing school systems? What power do the local governments have to actually effect change? Their answers are noncomittal and academic. While it is interesting to hear how the power structures in these cities evolved in relation to their Henig et al propose an interesting take on the problem of urban schooling - why not perform case studies on the 4 major black-run city governments and determine where the intersection of race, politics and education lies - why have these cities continued to have failing school systems? What power do the local governments have to actually effect change? Their answers are noncomittal and academic. While it is interesting to hear how the power structures in these cities evolved in relation to their school systems, the authors don't make any convincing arguments as to how things can change.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Daniel

    Started reading it and it is very much a textbook...so it-s a slow read...let-s hope I can eventually get through it.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Allie

  4. 5 out of 5

    Joseph Boselovic

  5. 4 out of 5

    femily

  6. 4 out of 5

    Chris

  7. 4 out of 5

    Pete

  8. 4 out of 5

    Julie

  9. 4 out of 5

    Brandon

  10. 5 out of 5

    Laurie

  11. 5 out of 5

    Trevor Bertram

  12. 5 out of 5

    Terance Shipman

  13. 4 out of 5

    RSK

  14. 4 out of 5

    Zoa

  15. 4 out of 5

    Dan

  16. 5 out of 5

    Tenia Pritchard

  17. 5 out of 5

    Andy

  18. 5 out of 5

    Laura C

  19. 4 out of 5

    Max Vanderheyden

  20. 5 out of 5

    Annika

  21. 4 out of 5

    Melissa Arnold

  22. 4 out of 5

    Joyce Klipsch farrow

  23. 5 out of 5

    Colleen

  24. 5 out of 5

    Kevintgoddard

  25. 4 out of 5

    Tarisai

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jessica Langhammer

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jo'ie

  28. 5 out of 5

    Nadim Silverman

  29. 5 out of 5

    Larry Corio

  30. 4 out of 5

    David

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