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The Color of School Reform : Race, Politics, and the Challenge of Urban Education - Jeffrey R. Henig

The Color of School Reform

Race, Politics, and the Challenge of Urban Education

Paperback Published: 11th February 2001
ISBN: 9780691088976
Number Of Pages: 320

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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 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.

Winner of the 2000 Best Book Award, Urban Politics Section of the American Political Science Association "[The authors] have plainly done their homework. They have reviewed thousands of news clips and official reports, conducted scores of interviews and surveyed a wide array of influential actors... Although the authors are plainly sympathetic to the aspirations of the reformers, they have checked their dreams at the door. That they do not shy away from telling inconvenient truths ... gives them greater credence to their account."--David L. Kirp, The Nation "This substantial volume does not leave the reader with great optimism. Rather, The Color of School Reform extends our understanding of the roots of urban school failure and broadens our focus on the political and social requisites for successful reform. At this stage of the big city school wars, that's a more important contribution."--Michael F. Addonizio, Qualitative Studies in Education

List of Figuresp. ix
List of Tablesp. xi
Acknowledgmentsp. xiii
Civic Capacity, Race, and Education in Black-Led Citiesp. 3
The Challenge of Urban Educationp. 9
Reforms That Go Nowherep. 12
Civic Capacity: Organizing Communities to Get Things Donep. 14
A Tough Task: Why Human Development May Be More Difficult than Economic Developmentp. 15
Competing Views of Race and School Politicsp. 17
Research Designp. 22
The Plan of the Bookp. 26
Racial Change and the Politics of Transitionp. 30
Patterns of Racial Turnover in Atlanta, Baltimore, Detroit, and D.C.p. 31
Racial Transition and Political Change: The Rise of Black Political Powerp. 33
Managing School Desegregationp. 41
Political Compromise and Transition: The Evolution of Black-led School Districtsp. 50
The Political Landscape in Black-Led Cities: From Formal to Informal Powerp. 55
Conclusion: Historical Legacies and Racial Politicsp. 61
The Elusiveness of Education Reformp. 63
The Condition of Education: Poor Performance and Even Poorer Conditionsp. 65
Local Problem Definitions: A Favorable Foundation for Reformp. 71
An Array of Reform Effortsp. 74
The Frustration of Reformp. 82
Why Is Reform So Difficult?p. 113
Race and the Political Economy of Big-City Schools: Teachers and Preachersp. 115
Race, jobs, and Politicsp. 118
Unions and Reformp. 127
Black Ministers and School Affairs: 1960-1980p. 137
Reform with Teachers and jobs in Mindp. 152
Parental and Community Participation in Education Reformp. 155
What Kind of Participation and on Whose Terms?p. 158
Patterns of Participation in Black-Led Citiesp. 164
The Dog That Hasn't Barked: Accounting for the Absence of a Stronger Community-Based Movementp. 189
Fizzled Expectationsp. 207
Black Leaders, White Businesses: Racial Tensions and the Construction of Public-Private Partnerships in Educationp. 209
Business-School Partnerships: The Rallying Cryp. 212
Some Cautionary Notesp. 217
Business and School Reform in Black-Led Citiesp. 220
Race As an Inhibiting Factor to Business Involvementp. 235
Partnerships and Racial Politics in Black-Led Citiesp. 243
The Role of External Actorsp. 247
Traditional Roles of External Actorsp. 249
Growing Regulatory Assertiveness of External Actorsp. 252
The Changing Role of the Courtsp. 255
Current Issues and Interventionsp. 257
Variations in State Policyp. 266
Local Capacity and External Actorsp. 271
School Reform As If Politics and Race Matterp. 273
Race As a Complicating Factor in the Politics of School Reformp. 275
Education Policy As If Politics and Race Matterp. 279
Prospects for a Human Capital Regimep. 290
Indexp. 293
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780691088976
ISBN-10: 0691088977
Audience: Tertiary; University or College
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 320
Published: 11th February 2001
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 23.39 x 15.6  x 1.68
Weight (kg): 0.45
Edition Number: 2