Despite the Best Intentions

How Racial Inequality Thrives in Good Schools

Author: John Diamond,John B. Diamond,Amanda E. Lewis

Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA

ISBN: 0195342720

Category: Education

Page: 272

View: 1657

On the surface, Riverview High School looks like the post-racial ideal. Serving an enviably affluent, diverse, and liberal district, the school is well-funded, its teachers are well-trained, and many of its students are high-achieving. Yet Riverview has not escaped the same unrelenting question that plagues schools throughout America: why is it that even when all of the circumstances seem right, black and Latina/o students continue to lag behind their peers? Through five years' worth of interviews and data-gathering at Riverview, Amanda Lewis and John Diamond have created a powerful and illuminating study of how the racial achievement gap continues to afflict American schools more than fifty years after the formal dismantling of segregation. As students progress from elementary school to middle school to high school, their level of academic achievement increasingly tracks along racial lines, with white and Asian students maintaining higher GPAs and standardized testing scores, taking more advanced classes, and attaining better college admission results than their black and Latina/o counterparts. Most research to date has focused on the role of poverty, family stability, and other external influences in explaining poor performance at school, especially in urban contexts. Diamond and Lewis instead situate their research in a suburban school, and look at what factors within the school itself could be causing the disparity. Most crucially, they challenge many common explanations of the "racial achievement gap," exploring what race actually means in this situation, and how it matters. Diamond and Lewis' research brings clarity and data into a debate that is too often dominated by stereotyping, race-baiting, and demagoguery. An in-depth study with far-reaching consequences, Despite the Best Intentions revolutionizes our understanding of both the knotty problem of academic disparities and the larger question of the color line in American society.

Five Miles Away, A World Apart

One City, Two Schools, and the Story of Educational Opportunity in Modern America

Author: James E. Ryan

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0199798923

Category: Education

Page: 400

View: 5911

How is it that, half a century after Brown v. Board of Education, educational opportunities remain so unequal for black and white students, not to mention poor and wealthy ones? In his important new book, Five Miles Away, A World Apart, James E. Ryan answers this question by tracing the fortunes of two schools in Richmond, Virginia--one in the city and the other in the suburbs. Ryan shows how court rulings in the 1970s, limiting the scope of desegregation, laid the groundwork for the sharp disparities between urban and suburban public schools that persist to this day. The Supreme Court, in accord with the wishes of the Nixon administration, allowed the suburbs to lock nonresidents out of their school systems. City schools, whose student bodies were becoming increasingly poor and black, simply received more funding, a measure that has proven largely ineffective, while the independence (and superiority) of suburban schools remained sacrosanct. Weaving together court opinions, social science research, and compelling interviews with students, teachers, and principals, Ryan explains why all the major education reforms since the 1970s--including school finance litigation, school choice, and the No Child Left Behind Act--have failed to bridge the gap between urban and suburban schools and have unintentionally entrenched segregation by race and class. As long as that segregation continues, Ryan forcefully argues, so too will educational inequality. Ryan closes by suggesting innovative ways to promote school integration, which would take advantage of unprecedented demographic shifts and an embrace of diversity among young adults. Exhaustively researched and elegantly written by one of the nation's leading education law scholars, Five Miles Away, A World Apart ties together, like no other book, a half-century's worth of education law and politics into a coherent, if disturbing, whole. It will be of interest to anyone who has ever wondered why our schools are so unequal and whether there is anything to be done about it.

The Power of Race in Cuba

Racial Ideology and Black Consciousness During the Revolution

Author: Danielle Pilar Clealand,Danielle Clealand

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0190632291

Category: Political Science

Page: 264

View: 9828

In The Power of Race in Cuba, Danielle Pilar Clealand analyzes racial ideologies that negate the existence of racism and their effect on racial progress and activism through the lens of Cuba. Since 1959, Fidel Castro and the Cuban government have married socialism and the ideal of racial harmony to create a formidable ideology that is an integral part of Cubans' sense of identity and their perceptions of race and racism in their country. While the combination of socialism and a colorblind racial ideology is particular to Cuba, strategies that paint a picture of equality of opportunity and deflect the importance of race are not particular to the island's ideology and can be found throughout the world, and in the Americas, in particular. By promoting an anti-discrimination ethos, diminishing class differences at the onset of the revolution, and declaring the end of racism, Castro was able to unite belief in the revolution to belief in the erasure of racism. The ideology is bolstered by rhetoric that discourages racial affirmation. The second part of the book examines public opinion on race in Cuba, particularly among black Cubans. It examines how black Cubans have indeed embraced the dominant nationalist ideology that eschews racial affirmation, but also continue to create spaces for black consciousness that challenge this ideology. The Power of Race in Cuba gives a nuanced portrait of black identity in Cuba and through survey data, interviews with formal organizers, hip hop artists, draws from the many black spaces, both formal and informal to highlight what black consciousness looks like in Cuba.

Race in the Schoolyard

Negotiating the Color Line in Classrooms and Communities

Author: Amanda E. Lewis

Publisher: Rutgers University Press

ISBN: 9780813532257

Category: Education

Page: 243

View: 3500

Annotation An exploration of how race is explicitly and implicitly handled in school.

London Is the Place for Me

Black Britons, Citizenship and the Politics of Race

Author: Kennetta Hammond Perry

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0190240202

Category: Africa

Page: 336

View: 3117

Black people in the British Empire have long challenged the notion that "there ain't no black in the Union Jack." For the post-World War II wave of Afro-Caribbean migrants, many of whom had long been subjects of the Empire, claims to a British identity and imperial citizenship were considered to be theirs by birthright. However, while Britain was internationally touted as a paragon of fair play and equal justice, they arrived in a nation that was frequently hostile and unwilling to incorporate Black people into its concept of what it meant to be British. Black Britons therefore confronted the racial politics of British citizenship and became active political agents in challenging anti-Black racism. In a society with a highly racially circumscribed sense of identity-and the laws, customs, and institutions to back it up-Black Britons had to organize and fight to assert their right to belong. In London Is The Place for Me, Kennetta Hammond Perry explores how Afro-Caribbean migrants navigated the politics of race and citizenship in Britain and reconfigured the boundaries of what it meant to be both Black and British at a critical juncture in the history of Empire and twentieth century transnational race politics. She situates their experience within a broader context of Black imperial and diasporic political participation, and examines the pushback-both legal and physical-that the migrants' presence provoked. Bringing together a variety of sources including calypso music, photographs, migrant narratives, and records of grassroots Black political organizations, London Is the Place for Me positions Black Britons as part of wider public debates both at home and abroad about citizenship, the meaning of Britishness and the politics of race in the second half of the twentieth century. The United Kingdom's postwar discriminatory curbs on immigration and explosion of racial violence forced White Britons as well as Black to question their perception of Britain as a racially progressive society and, therefore, to question the very foundation of their own identities. Perry's examination expands our understanding of race and the Black experience in Europe and uncovers the critical role that Black people played in the formation of contemporary British society.

Their Highest Potential

An African American School Community in the Segregated South

Author: Vanessa Siddle Walker

Publisher: Univ of North Carolina Press

ISBN: 9780807866191

Category: Social Science

Page: 276

View: 4228

African American schools in the segregated South faced enormous obstacles in educating their students. But some of these schools succeeded in providing nurturing educational environments in spite of the injustices of segregation. Vanessa Siddle Walker tells the story of one such school in rural North Carolina, the Caswell County Training School, which operated from 1934 to 1969. She focuses especially on the importance of dedicated teachers and the principal, who believed their jobs extended well beyond the classroom, and on the community's parents, who worked hard to support the school. According to Walker, the relationship between school and community was mutually dependent. Parents sacrificed financially to meet the school's needs, and teachers and administrators put in extra time for professional development, specialized student assistance, and home visits. The result was a school that placed the needs of African American students at the center of its mission, which was in turn shared by the community. Walker concludes that the experience of CCTS captures a segment of the history of African Americans in segregated schools that has been overlooked and that provides important context for the ongoing debate about how best to educate African American children. African American History/Education/North Carolina

Learning Difference

Race and Schooling in the Multiracial Metropolis

Author: Annegret Daniela Staiger

Publisher: Stanford University Press

ISBN: 9780804753166

Category: Education

Page: 223

View: 2650

An examination of the role that race plays in the lives of students at a multiracial U.S. high school.

I Am Your Sister

Collected and Unpublished Writings of Audre Lorde

Author: Rudolph P. Byrd,Johnnetta Betsch Cole,Beverly Guy-Sheftall

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0199887748

Category: Social Science

Page: 304

View: 7056

Audre Lorde was not only a famous poet; she was also one of the most important radical black feminists of the past century. Her writings and speeches grappled with an impressive broad list of topics, including sexuality, race, gender, class, disease, the arts, parenting, and resistance, and they have served as a transformative and important foundation for theorists and activists in considering questions of power and social justice. Lorde embraced difference, and at each turn she emphasized the importance of using it to build shared strength among marginalized communities. I Am Your Sister is a collection of Lorde's non-fiction prose, written between 1976 and 1990, and it introduces new perspectives on the depth and range of Lorde's intellectual interests and her commitments to progressive social change. Presented here, for the first time in print, is a major body of Lorde's speeches and essays, along with the complete text of A Burst of Light and Lorde's landmark prose works Sister Outsider and The Cancer Journals. Together, these writings reveal Lorde's commitment to a radical course of thought and action, situating her works within the women's, gay and lesbian, and African American Civil Rights movements. They also place her within a continuum of black feminists, from Sojourner Truth, to Anna Julia Cooper, Amy Jacques Garvey, Lorraine Hansberry, and Patricia Hill Collins. I Am Your Sister concludes with personal reflections from Alice Walker, Gloria Joseph, Johnnetta Betsch Cole, Beverly Guy-Sheftall, and bell hooks on Lorde's political and social commitments and the indelibility of her writings for all who are committed to a more equitable society.

Encountering American Faultlines

Race, Class, and the Dominican Experience in Providence

Author: Jose Itzigsohn

Publisher: Russell Sage Foundation

ISBN: 1610446518

Category: Social Science

Page: 256

View: 6602

The descendents of twentieth-century southern and central European immigrants successfully assimilated into mainstream American culture and generally achieved economic parity with other Americans within several generations. So far, that is not the case with recent immigrants from Latin America and the Caribbean. A compelling case study of first- and second-generation Dominicans in Providence, Rhode Island, Encountering American Faultlines suggests that even as immigrants and their children increasingly participate in American life and culture, racialization and social polarization remain key obstacles to further progress. Encountering American Faultlines uses occupational and socioeconomic data and in-depth interviews to address key questions about the challenges Dominicans encounter in American society. What is their position in the American socioeconomic structure? What occupations do first- and second-generation Dominicans hold as they enter the workforce? How do Dominican families fare economically? How do Dominicans identify themselves in the American racial and ethnic landscape? The first generation works largely in what is left of Providence's declining manufacturing industry. Second-generation Dominicans do better than their parents economically, but even as some are able to enter middle-class occupations, the majority remains in the service-sector working class. José Itzigsohn suggests that the third generation will likely continue this pattern of stratification, and he worries that the chances for further economic advancement in the next generation may be seriously in doubt. While transnational involvement is important to first-generation Dominicans, the second generation concentrates more on life in the United States and empowering their local communities. Itzigsohn ties this to the second generation's tendency to embrace panethnic identities. Panethnic identity provides Dominicans with choices that defy strict American racial categories and enables them to build political coalitions across multiple ethnicities. This intimate study of the Dominican immigrant experience proposes an innovative theoretical approach to look at the contemporary forms and meanings of becoming American. José Itzigsohn acknowledges the social exclusion and racialization encountered by the Dominican population, but he observes that, by developing their own group identities and engaging in collective action and institution building at the local level, Dominicans can distinguish themselves and make inroads into American society. But Encountering American Faultlines also finds that hard work and hope have less to do with their social mobility than the existing economic and racial structures of U.S. society.

Inequality in the Promised Land

Race, Resources, and Suburban Schooling

Author: R. L’Heureux Lewis-McCoy

Publisher: Stanford University Press

ISBN: 0804792453

Category: Education

Page: 232

View: 470

Nestled in neighborhoods of varying degrees of affluence, suburban public schools are typically better resourced than their inner-city peers and known for their extracurricular offerings and college preparatory programs. Despite the glowing opportunities that many families associate with suburban schooling, accessing a district's resources is not always straightforward, particularly for black and poorer families. Moving beyond class- and race-based explanations, Inequality in the Promised Land focuses on the everyday interactions between parents, students, teachers, and school administrators in order to understand why resources seldom trickle down to a district's racial and economic minorities. Rolling Acres Public Schools (RAPS) is one of the many well-appointed suburban school districts across the United States that has become increasingly racially and economically diverse over the last forty years. Expanding on Charles Tilly's model of relational analysis and drawing on 100 in-depth interviews as well participant observation and archival research, R. L'Heureux Lewis-McCoy examines the pathways of resources in RAPS. He discovers that—due to structural factors, social and class positions, and past experiences—resources are not valued equally among families and, even when deemed valuable, financial factors and issues of opportunity hoarding often prevent certain RAPS families from accessing that resource. In addition to its fresh and incisive insights into educational inequality, this groundbreaking book also presents valuable policy-orientated solutions for administrators, teachers, activists, and politicians.

The Flat World and Education

How America's Commitment to Equity Will Determine Our Future

Author: Linda Darling-Hammond

Publisher: Teachers College Press

ISBN: 9780807770627

Category: Education

Page: 394

View: 6620

Argues that the education system in America needs to make drastic changes in order to build a system of high-achieving and equitable schools that protects every child's right to learn.

American Routes

Louisiana's Past As Prologue to America's Present

Author: Angel Adams Parham

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0190624752

Category:

Page: 296

View: 8082

American Routes provides a comparative and historical analysis of the migration and integration of white and free black refugees from nineteenth century St. Domingue/Haiti to Louisiana and follows the progress of their descendants over the course of two hundred years. The refugees reinforced Louisiana's tri-racial system and pushed back the progress of Anglo-American racialization by several decades. But over the course of the nineteenth century, the ascendance of the Anglo-American racial system began to eclipse Louisiana's tri-racial Latin/Caribbean system. The result was a racial palimpsest that transformed everyday life in southern Louisiana. White refugees and their descendants in Creole Louisiana succumbed to pressure to adopt a strict definition of whiteness as purity that conformed to standards of the Anglo-American racial system. Those of color, however, held on to the logic of the tri-racial system which allowed them to inhabit an intermediary racial group that provided a buffer against the worst effects of Jim Crow segregation. The St. Domingue/Haiti migration case foreshadows the experiences of present-day immigrants of color from Latin-America and the Caribbean, many of whom chafe against the strictures of the binary U.S. racial system and resist by refusing to be categorized as either black or white. The St. Domingue/Haiti case study is the first of its kind to compare the long-term integration experiences of white and free black nineteenth century immigrants to the U.S. In this sense, it fills a significant gap in studies of race and migration which have long relied on the historical experience of European immigrants as the standard to which all other immigrants are compared.

White Kids

Growing Up with Privilege in a Racially Divided America

Author: Margaret A. Hagerman

Publisher: NYU Press

ISBN: 1479803685

Category: Family & Relationships

Page: 280

View: 760

Riveting stories of how affluent, white children learn about race American kids are living in a world of ongoing public debates about race, daily displays of racial injustice, and for some, an increased awareness surrounding diversity and inclusion. In this heated context, sociologist Margaret A. Hagerman zeroes in on affluent, white kids to observe how they make sense of privilege, unequal educational opportunities, and police violence. In fascinating detail, Hagerman considers the role that they and their families play in the reproduction of racism and racial inequality in America. White Kids, based on two years of research involving in-depth interviews with white kids and their families, is a clear-eyed and sometimes shocking account of how white kids learn about race. In doing so, this book explores questions such as, “How do white kids learn about race when they grow up in families that do not talk openly about race or acknowledge its impact?” and “What about children growing up in families with parents who consider themselves to be ‘anti-racist’?” Featuring the actual voices of young, affluent white kids and what they think about race, racism, inequality, and privilege, White Kids illuminates how white racial socialization is much more dynamic, complex, and varied than previously recognized. It is a process that stretches beyond white parents’ explicit conversations with their white children and includes not only the choices parents make about neighborhoods, schools, peer groups, extracurricular activities, and media, but also the choices made by the kids themselves. By interviewing kids who are growing up in different racial contexts—from racially segregated to meaningfully integrated and from politically progressive to conservative—this important book documents key differences in the outcomes of white racial socialization across families. And by observing families in their everyday lives, this book explores the extent to which white families, even those with anti-racist intentions, reproduce and reinforce the forms of inequality they say they reject.

The Money Myth

School Resources, Outcomes, and Equity

Author: W. Norton Grubb

Publisher: Russell Sage Foundation

ISBN: 1610446372

Category: Business & Economics

Page: 416

View: 1536

Can money buy high-quality education? Studies find only a weak relationship between public school funding and educational outcomes. In The Money Myth, W. Norton Grubb proposes a powerful paradigm shift in the way we think about why some schools thrive and others fail. The greatest inequalities in America's schools lie in factors other than fiscal support. Fundamental differences in resources other than money—for example, in leadership, instruction, and tracking policies—explain the deepening divide in the success of our nation's schoolchildren. The Money Myth establishes several principles for a bold new approach to education reform. Drawing on a national longitudinal dataset collected over twelve years, Grubb makes a crucial distinction between "simple" resources and those "compound," "complex," and "abstract" resources that cannot be readily bought. Money can buy simple resources—such as higher teacher salaries and smaller class sizes—but these resources are actually some of the weakest predictors of educational outcomes. On the other hand, complex resources pertaining to school practices are astonishingly strong predictors of success. Grubb finds that tracking policies have the most profound and consistent impact on student outcomes over time. Schools often relegate low-performing students—particularly minorities—to vocational, remedial, and special education tracks. So even in well-funded schools, resources may never reach the students who need them most. Grubb also finds that innovation in the classroom has a critical impact on student success. Here, too, America's schools are stratified. Teachers in underperforming schools tend to devote significant amounts of time to administration and discipline, while instructors in highly ranked schools dedicate the bulk of their time to "engaged learning," using varied pedagogical approaches. Effective schools distribute leadership among many instructors and administrators, and they foster a sense of both trust and accountability. These schools have a clear mission and coherent agenda for reaching goals. Underperforming schools, by contrast, implement a variety of fragmented reforms and practices without developing a unified plan. This phenomenon is perhaps most powerfully visible in the negative repercussions of No Child Left Behind. In a frantic attempt to meet federal standards and raise test scores quickly, more and more schools are turning to scripted "off the shelf" curricula. These practices discourage student engagement, suppress teacher creativity, and hold little promise of improving learning beyond the most basic skills. Grubb shows that infusions of money alone won't eradicate inequality in America's schools. We need to address the vast differences in the way school communities operate. By looking beyond school finance, The Money Myth gets to the core reasons why education in America is so unequal and provides clear recommendations for addressing this chronic national problem.

In the Front Door

Creating a College-Going Culture of Learning

Author: Hugh Mehan

Publisher: Routledge

ISBN: 1317257707

Category: Social Science

Page: 224

View: 9002

This book provides a critical analysis of the origins, nature, development, and transformation of the state and society historically and today, examining the class nature and social basis of politics and the state in different societal settings. The book emphasizes the centrality of class relations in explaining political power and the role of the state in class-divided societies by providing powerful theoretical and empirical analyses of themes in political sociology in an era of globalization. It examines in detail the major political issues and events of our time, and makes them relevant to the study of power and politics today. Students from many ethnic minority backgrounds and low-income families are underrepresented in American colleges and universities. This book describes and assesses educational policies and practices that seek to rectify this important manifestation of structured inequality. Inspired by a commitment to providing a pathway to college and beyond, Mehan and his team document the innovate practices developed and implemented at the nationally recognized schools created by The Center for Research in Educational Equity, Access, and Teaching Excellence (CREATE) at the University of California-San Diego: the Preuss School, a 6-12 charter school on the UCSD campus for underrepresented minority students; and nearby schools located in economically depressed neighborhoods. Based on long-term research, Mehan's book makes important contributions to the literature on educational achievement disparities that exist-and are growing-within the United States. He sheds light on how we can improve public policy for the futures of secondary school students.

Academic Profiling

Latinos, Asian Americans, and the Achievement Gap

Author: Gilda L. Ochoa

Publisher: U of Minnesota Press

ISBN: 1452940134

Category: Education

Page: 336

View: 4600

Today the achievement gap is hotly debated among pundits, politicians, and educators. In particular this conversation often focuses on the two fastest-growing demographic groups in the United States: Asian Americans and Latinos. In Academic Profiling, Gilda L. Ochoa addresses this so-called gap by going directly to the source. At one California public high school where the controversy is lived every day, Ochoa turns to the students, teachers, and parents to learn about the very real disparities—in opportunity, status, treatment, and assumptions—that lead to more than just gaps in achievement. In candid and at times heart-wrenching detail, the students tell stories of encouragement and neglect on their paths to graduation. Separated by unequal middle schools and curriculum tracking, they are divided by race, class, and gender. While those channeled into an International Baccalaureate Program boast about Socratic classes and stress-release sessions, students left out of such programs commonly describe uninspired teaching and inaccessible counseling. Students unequally labeled encounter differential policing and assumptions based on their abilities—disparities compounded by the growth in the private tutoring industry that favors the already economically privileged. Despite the entrenched inequality in today’s schools, Academic Profiling finds hope in the many ways students and teachers are affirming identities, creating alternative spaces, and fostering critical consciousness. When Ochoa shares the results of her research with the high school, we see the new possibilities—and limits—of change.

Friends Disappear

The Battle for Racial Equality in Evanston

Author: Mary Barr

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

ISBN: 022615646X

Category: History

Page: 303

View: 840

In 1974, middle-schooler Mary Barr and a dozen of her friends boys and girls, black and white sat for a photograph on a porch in Evanston, Illinois. Barr s book, both history and ethnography, emerges from her thinking about this photograph and its deep background. Using government documents, newspaper articles, and census data, Barr provides a history of Evanston with a particular emphasis on its neighborhoods, its schools, and its families. Barr also tracked down all of the living people in her photograph and interviewed them about their experiences in Evanston and beyond. Ultimately, Barr comes to better understand the stories and the lies people tell about their communities, as well as the ways that inequality begets inequality, both in a historical sense and in the daily lives of her far-flung friends. "

No Longer Separate, Not Yet Equal

Race and Class in Elite College Admission and Campus Life

Author: Thomas J. Espenshade,Alexandria Walton Radford

Publisher: Princeton University Press

ISBN: 9781400831531

Category: Education

Page: 568

View: 7982

Against the backdrop of today's increasingly multicultural society, are America's elite colleges admitting and successfully educating a diverse student body? No Longer Separate, Not Yet Equal pulls back the curtain on the selective college experience and takes a rigorous and comprehensive look at how race and social class impact each stage--from application and admission, to enrollment and student life on campus. Arguing that elite higher education contributes to both social mobility and inequality, the authors investigate such areas as admission advantages for minorities, academic achievement gaps tied to race and class, unequal burdens in paying for tuition, and satisfaction with college experiences. The book's analysis is based on data provided by the National Survey of College Experience, collected from more than nine thousand students who applied to one of ten selective colleges between the early 1980s and late 1990s. The authors explore the composition of applicant pools, factoring in background and "selective admission enhancement strategies"--including AP classes, test-prep courses, and extracurriculars--to assess how these strengthen applications. On campus, the authors examine roommate choices, friendship circles, and degrees of social interaction, and discover that while students from different racial and class circumstances are not separate in college, they do not mix as much as one might expect. The book encourages greater interaction among student groups and calls on educational institutions to improve access for students of lower socioeconomic status. No Longer Separate, Not Yet Equal offers valuable insights into the intricate workings of America's elite higher education system.

Unequal City

Race, Schools, and Perceptions of Injustice

Author: Carla Shedd

Publisher: Russell Sage Foundation

ISBN: 1610448529

Category: Social Science

Page: 241

View: 5845

Chicago has long struggled with racial residential segregation, high rates of poverty, and deepening class stratification, and it can be a challenging place for adolescents to grow up. Unequal City examines the ways in which Chicago’s most vulnerable residents navigate their neighborhoods, life opportunities, and encounters with the law. In this pioneering analysis of the intersection of race, place, and opportunity, sociologist and criminal justice expert Carla Shedd illuminates how schools either reinforce or ameliorate the social inequalities that shape the worlds of these adolescents. Shedd draws from an array of data and in-depth interviews with Chicago youth to offer new insight into this understudied group. Focusing on four public high schools with differing student bodies, Shedd reveals how the predominantly low-income African American students at one school encounter obstacles their more affluent, white counterparts on the other side of the city do not face. Teens often travel long distances to attend school which, due to Chicago’s segregated and highly unequal neighborhoods, can involve crossing class, race, and gang lines. As Shedd explains, the disadvantaged teens who traverse these boundaries daily develop a keen “perception of injustice,” or the recognition that their economic and educational opportunities are restricted by their place in the social hierarchy. Adolescents’ worldviews are also influenced by encounters with law enforcement while traveling to school and during school hours. Shedd tracks the rise of metal detectors, surveillance cameras, and pat-downs at certain Chicago schools. Along with police procedures like stop-and-frisk, these prison-like practices lead to distrust of authority and feelings of powerlessness among the adolescents who experience mistreatment either firsthand or vicariously. Shedd finds that the racial composition of the student body profoundly shapes students’ perceptions of injustice. The more diverse a school is, the more likely its students of color will recognize whether they are subject to discriminatory treatment. By contrast, African American and Hispanic youth whose schools and neighborhoods are both highly segregated and highly policed are less likely to understand their individual and group disadvantage due to their lack of exposure to youth of differing backgrounds.

When Middle-Class Parents Choose Urban Schools

Class, Race, and the Challenge of Equity in Public Education

Author: Linn Posey-Maddox

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

ISBN: 022612035X

Category: Education

Page: 232

View: 1628

In recent decades a growing number of middle-class parents have considered sending their children to—and often end up becoming active in—urban public schools. Their presence can bring long-needed material resources to such schools, but, as Linn Posey-Maddox shows in this study, it can also introduce new class and race tensions, and even exacerbate inequalities. Sensitively navigating the pros and cons of middle-class transformation, When Middle-Class Parents Choose Urban Schools asks whether it is possible for our urban public schools to have both financial security and equitable diversity. Drawing on in-depth research at an urban elementary school, Posey-Maddox examines parents’ efforts to support the school through their outreach, marketing, and volunteerism. She shows that when middle-class parents engage in urban school communities, they can bring a host of positive benefits, including new educational opportunities and greater diversity. But their involvement can also unintentionally marginalize less-affluent parents and diminish low-income students’ access to the improving schools. In response, Posey-Maddox argues that school reform efforts, which usually equate improvement with rising test scores and increased enrollment, need to have more equity-focused policies in place to ensure that low-income families also benefit from—and participate in—school change.