How Current School Reform Policy Maintains Racial and Economic Inequality
BREE PICOWER AND EDWIN MAYORGA
Often in educational justice circles and critical discussions of educational policy, researchers and activists are of two camps. Some (i.e., Apple, 2001; Compton & Weiner, 2008; Hursh, 2007) have importantly focused on the neoliberal turn in education reform. Such frameworks focus on how market-based reforms and privatization-driven policies have reproduced and expanded economic inequality. Other scholars (Frankenberg, 2012; Lynn, Yosso, Solórzano, & Parker, 2002) have centered on race and growing racial inequality as evidenced by opportunity gaps, the school-to-prison pipeline, and segregated schools. These analyses often happen in isolation from each other, 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 is an attempt to bring together these often isolating frameworks to ask what role race plays in some of the hallmark policies of current school reforms such as school closing, high-stakes testing, and the proliferation of charter schools. Examining one individual policy strand of neoliberal school reform, each chapter in this book uses a lens similar to Leonardo’s (2009) racial economic analytic framework, where “racial hierarchies and class exploitation occur in a symbiotic relationship and that changes in one produce changes in the other” (p. 8). By looking at these reforms through this racial economic framework, this edited volume complicates our analysis of how market-based reforms increase wealth inequality and maintain White supremacy. By analyzing current reforms through this dual lens, those concerned with...
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