How Current School Reform Policy Maintains Racial and Economic Inequality
5. School Choice: The Freedom to Choose, the Right to Exclude
It’s a Tuesday afternoon in February, and Tasha has arrived early for a workshop that is organized at the Head Start center where her four-year-old child attends preschool. The workshops are held every Tuesday afternoon and focus on public school access for low-income parents. This is Tasha’s first time in attendance. There’s a drip in the classroom sink that, alternating with the “bloop” of the small fish tank, provides a percussion-like background as she waits. Soon, two more women trickle in. Like Tasha, both Nicole and Edith also have children who currently attend the Head Start center. Next year, their children will exit the Head Start center and enter kindergarten. In preparation, both women also regularly participate in the weekly workshops. They have been meeting together since October.
This Tuesday, the rose-colored tiles that cover the floors take on a darker hue, as there is not much sun that makes it through the cinder-block glass windows. Outside is Aberdeen Avenue, and the thick glass provides a barrier between the small children inside and the “big kids” outside who attend the two middle schools across the street. The middle schools are housed in one building, Adam Clayton Powell (ACP), which takes up an entire block. Edon is the honors middle school program for Community School District 3 in New York City.1 The other school, STRIVE, otherwise known as ACP, serves a “general” student population. As a reviewer for Insideschools’s popular education website put...
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