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Books

Because of Race: How Americans Debate Harm and Opportunity in Our Schools
Mica Pollock, Princeton University Press, 2010.
Pollock tackles a long-standing and fraught debate over racial inequalities in America’s schools and exposes raw, real-time arguments over what inequalities of opportunity based on race in our schools look like today–and what, if anything, various Americans should do about it.

 

Silent Covenants: Brown v. Board of Education and the Unfulfilled Hopes for Racial Reform
Derrick A. Bell, Oxford University Press, 2005.
Bell notes that, despite the burdens of segregation, many black schools functioned well and racial bigotry had not rendered blacks a damaged race. He maintains that, given what we now know about the pervasive nature of racism, the Court should have determined instead to rigorously enforce the “equal” component of the “separate but equal” standard. Racial policy, Bell maintains, is made through silent covenants–unspoken convergences of interest and involuntary sacrifices of rights.

 

Education as My Agenda: Gertrude Williams, Race and the Baltimore Public Schools
JoAnne Robinson, Palgrave MacMillan, 2005.
A gripping narrative thoughtfully and clearly told by Gertrude Williams, deeply contextualized by Jo Ann Robinson. Williams identifies the essential elements of sound education and describes the battles she waged to secure those elements, first as teacher, then a counselor, and, for twenty-five years, as principal.

 

The First R: How Children Learn Race and Racism

Debra Van Ausdale and Joe Feagin, Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, 2001.
The premise of this study by Van Ausdale (sociology, Syracuse Univ.) and Feagin (sociology, Univ. of Florida, Gainesville)
is that children are complex individuals from very early on. They are not “too little” to understand race or ethnic
identity, and they can and will use those concepts to discriminate and segregate.

 

Methodolgy of the Oppressed

Chela Sandoval, Univ. of Minn. Press, 2000.

Sandoval identifies the “academic apartheid” that keeps poststructuralism, postcolonial theory, ethnic studies, queer theory, hegemonic (white) feminism, and, especially, U.S. third world feminism isolated from and in limited conversation with one another, despite their common undercurrents.

 

The Mis-Education of the Negro

Carter G. Woodson, Africa World Press, 2006.

The most imperative and crucial element in Woodson’s concept of mis-education hinged on the education system’s failure
to present authentic Negro History in schools and the bitter knowledge that there was a scarcity of literature available for such a purpose, because most history books gave little or no space to the black man’s presence in America.

 

Pedagogy of the Oppressed, 30th Anniversary Edition

Paulo Freire, Continuum, 2000.
A “classic” on critical pedagogy. This is not an easy read. The methods and theory have evolved and been adapted over time by popular education practitioners. It’s a very important piece of the history of anti-oppression work and discusses how to interrupt the “culture of silence.”

 

Savage Inequalities: Children in America’s Schools and The Shame of the Nation: The Restoration of Apartheid Schooling in America
Jonathan Kozol, Harper Perenniel, 1992.

Kozol lets the pupils and teachers speak for themselves, uncovering “little islands of . . . energy and hope” but this important, eye-opening report is a ringing indictment of the shameful neglect that has fostered a ghetto school system in America.

 

Teaching for Diversity and Social Justice: A Sourcebook

edited by Maurianne Adams, Lee Anne Bell, and Pat Griffin, Routledge, NY, 1997.

This is chock full of good stuff–how to think about your role–good grounding in social justice and popular education approach–lots of exercises on the major “ism”s.

 

Teaching/Learning Anti-Racism: A Developmental Approach

 Louise Derman-Sparks and Carol Brunson Phillips, Teachers College Press, 1997.

A book by experienced anti-racism teachers that explores, in very practical language and terms, how anti-racist thinking and action develop in learners.

 

The Trouble With Black Boys: And Other Reflections on Race, Equity, and the Future of Public Education
Pedro A. Noguera, Jossey Bass, 2009.

Education professor Noguera examines the cultural, societal— and personal—factors that create the stubborn link between race and poverty. In this compelling series of essays, Noguera cites research and his own personal experience—as a minor- ity, a father, and an educator—to explore the myriad ways that young black and Hispanic males are expected to run afoul of middle-class American norms and often do. He argues that public schools, despite their abysmal record, are the only institutions with the access and resources to turn around troubling social trends.

 

We Can’t Teach What We Don’t Know: White Teachers, Multiracial Schools
Gary R. Howard, Teachers College Press,
2nd Ed. 2006.

Howard outlines what good teachers know, what they do, and how they embrace culturally responsive teaching. Howard brings his bestselling book completely up to date with today’s school reform efforts and includes a new introduction and a new chapter that speak directly to current issues such as closing the achievement gap, and to recent legislation such as No Child Left Behind.

 

Articles

Confronting Systemic Inequity in Education: High Impact Strategies for Philanthropy”
Kevin Welner and Amy Farley, National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy, 2010.

How can philanthropy be more effective at deploying its limited resources to help reform and improve our nation’s school systems? How can philanthropy help break the cycle of persistent inequality, which undermines our American ideals that public education strengthens democracy and our economy, and promotes justice, equity and opportunity?

 

“Reasons for Hope: You Can Challenge Educational Inequities”
Julian Weissglass, The National Coalition for Equity in Education, 2003.
Inequity in education has many causes and correlates, but one important element is often left out. Racism is hard to discuss and its devastating effects hard to understand, but there are ways to begin the conversation and start the healing.

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