Legal Rights, Local Wrongs: When Community Control Collides with Educational Equity

SUNY Press
Free sample

Based on an examination of four school districts facing the prospect of court-ordered detracking, Legal Rights, Local Wrongs challenges fundamental assumptions about the opportunities for equity-minded educational reform. Welner studied districts across the country in San Jose, California; Wilmington, Delaware; Woodland Hills, Pennsylvania; and Rockford, Illinois. These case studies show how white upper middle class parents exercised a disproportionate amount of power in local school policy making, and how that power was wielded to hinder reform opportunities intended to benefit low-income students of color. He shows how many school reforms must arise and develop within cauldrons of political interests and conflicting values and beliefs. This reform context is very different from the politically neutral environments presupposed by conventional school change literature. The book’s political and normative focus accordingly examines the least often addressed—and yet most daunting—obstacles standing between America and the just, equitable schools portrayed in American rhetoric.
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About the author

Kevin G. Welner is Assistant Professor of Education at the University of Colorado at Boulder and a former practicing attorney.

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Additional Information

Publisher
SUNY Press
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Pages
333
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ISBN
9780791489840
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Best For
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Language
English
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Genres
Education / Philosophy, Theory & Social Aspects
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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In the 1980s, a nationwide reform movement sprang up in opposition to "tracking," the controversial practice of schools grouping students by ability and organizing curriculum by level of difficulty. Officials in two states, Massachusetts and California, adopted policies urging middle schools to reduce or abandon tracking. In this book, Tom Loveless describes how schools reacted to these recommendations and discusses why some schools went along with detracking while others bitterly resisted the reform. Loveless explains that the state policies were adopted without strict mandates, financial incentives, legal threats, or new bureaucratic structures. They were also adopted without convincing evidence that detracking brings lasting benefits to students. But advocates framed tracking reform as a policy supporting greater educational equity. In response, urban schools, low-achieving schools, and schools serving disadvantaged children have reacted sympathetically to the reform. Suburban schools, high-achieving schools, and schools serving wealthier families have been less willing to detrack. Drawing on extensive survey and case study data, Loveless concludes that this reform's fate is in the hands of local decisionmakers. Schools formulate tracking policy based on their own institutional, organizational, political, and technical considerations. All school reform entails risks. One troubling implication of this study is that the risks of detracking are being assumed by schools with some of society's most vulnerable youngsters.
 Do you know who - and what - you are? Do you know who you're meant to be? Do you know how to find the answers to questions like these? Knowledge of Self is the result of a process of self-discovery, but few of us know where to begin when we're ready to start looking deeper. Although self-actualization is the highest of all human needs, it is said that only 5% of people ever attain this goal. In the culture of the Nation of Gods and Earths, commonly known as the Five Percent, students are instructed that they must first learn themselves, then their worlds, and then what they must do in order to transform their world for the better. This often intense process has produced thousands of revolutionary thinkers in otherwise desperate environments, where poverty and hopelessness dominate. Until now, few mainstream publications have captured the brilliant yet practical perspectives of these luminary men and women. Knowledge of Self: A Collection of Writings on the Science of Everything in Life presents the thoughts of Five Percenters, both young and old, male and female, from all over the globe, in their own words. Through essays, poems, and even how-to articles, this anthology presents readers with an accurate portrait of what the Five Percent study and teach, as well as sound direction on how to answer timeless questions like: Who am I, and why am I here? Why is there so much injustice in the world, and what can be done about it? Who is God and where on Earth is he? How do I improve myself without losing myself? Why are people of color in the situations they're in? What can we do about the global problems of racism and poverty?
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