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.
This book was born of many years of political struggle, political analysis, and teaching for social justice. We both want to thank our second family, the New York Collective of Radical Educators (NYCoRE). We have been core leaders in NYCoRE for more than a decade now and the shared organizing work, analysis development, and friendship that we have been privileged to be a part of are central to who we have become as scholar activists. We also want to recognize NYCoRE’s network of sister organizations that make up the National Teacher Activist Groups (TAG): Association of Raza Educators, San Diego/Oakland; Education for Liberation Network; Educators’ Network for Social Justice, Milwaukee; The People’s Education Movement, Los Angeles; Teacher Action Group, Philadelphia; Teacher Activist Group, Boston; and Teachers for Social Justice, Chicago. It is through this network that we support each other in the struggle against the racist, neoliberal assault on schools, educators, and youth, in our local communities and across the country.
This book was initiated through a project funded by the Ford Secondary Education and Racial Justice Collaborative (FSERJC), under the guidance of Dr. Michelle Fine, Dr. john a. powell, Dr. Gina Chirichigno and Dr. Lauren Wells. This grant brought together a rare convergence of educators, scholars, youth, and activists who shared local work, gave feedback to one another, and provided small grants to spur the development of racial justice projects on both a local and national scale. We thank FSERJC for the intellectual, political, and...
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