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What’s Race Got To Do With It?

How Current School Reform Policy Maintains Racial and Economic Inequality


Edited By Bree Picower and Edwin Mayorga

Within critical discussions of school reform, researchers and activists are often of two camps. Some focus their analyses on neoliberal economic agendas, while others center on racial inequality. These analyses often happen in isolation, continuing to divide those concerned with educational justice into «It’s race!» vs. «It’s class!» camps. What’s Race Got To Do With It? brings together these frameworks to investigate the role that race plays in hallmark policies of neoliberal school reforms such as school closings, high-stakes testing, and charter school proliferation. The group of scholar activist authors in this volume were selected because of their cutting-edge racial economic analysis, understanding of corporate reform, and involvement in grassroots social movements. Each author applies a racial economic framework to inform and complicate our analysis of how market-based reforms collectively increase wealth inequality and maintain White supremacy. In accessible language, contributors trace the historical context of a single reform, examine how that reform maintains and expands racial and economic inequality, and share grassroots stories of resistance to these reforms. By analyzing current reforms through this dual lens, those concerned with social justice are better equipped to struggle against this constellation of reforms in ways that unite rather than divide.

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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

What's race got to do with it?:How current school reform policy maintains racial and economic inequality /edited by Bree Picower, Edwin Mayorga.pages cm. — (Critical multicultural perspectives on whiteness; Vol. 2)Includes bibliographical references and index.1. Discrimination in education—United States. 2. Education—Social aspects—United States.3. Education—Economic aspects—United States. 4. Educational change—Social aspects—United States. 5. Minorities—Education—United States. 6. Educational equalization—United States. 7. Income distribution—United States. 8. United States—Race relations.I. Picower, Bree, editor of compilation. II. Mayorga, Edwin, editor of compilation.LC212.2.W44 370.80973—dc23 2014040433ISBN 978-1-4331-2884-4 (hardcover)ISBN 978-1-4331-2883-7 (paperback)ISBN 978-1-4539-1476-2 (e-book)ISSN 2166-8507

Bibliographic information published by Die Deutsche Nationalbibliothek.Die Deutsche Nationalbibliothek lists this publication in the “DeutscheNationalbibliografie”; detailed bibliographic data are availableon the Internet at

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