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 books political and normative focus accordingly examines the least often addressedand yet most dauntingobstacles standing between America and the just, equitable schools portrayed in American rhetoric.
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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