Forced to Fail: The Paradox of School Desegregation

Forced to Fail: The Paradox of School Desegregation

Forced to Fail: The Paradox of School Desegregation

Forced to Fail: The Paradox of School Desegregation

Synopsis

Caldas and Bankston provide a critical, dispassionate analysis of why desegregation in the United States has failed to achieve the goal of providing equal educational opportunities for all students. They offer case histories through dozens of examples of failed desegregation plans from all over the country. The book takes a very broad perspective on race and education, situated in the larger context of the development of individual rights in Western civiliztion.

Excerpt

p>At the end of the twentieth and beginning of the twenty-first century, public school systems throughout the United States were moving toward racial resegregation. After decades of efforts to place black and other minority students together with whites, students continued to attend schools populated by schoolmates similar to themselves in race and socioeconomic standing. This separation, moreover, was increasing steadily.

The trend toward school racial resegregation has disturbing implications. Economic and social position in a modern society is largely a function of schooling. In fact, education has been identified as the key predictor of economic success. If you want your child to succeed economically in the United States, you should ensure that he or she has the best education possible. However, your ability to do that depends on your own background. Researchers have found that the educational attainment of a child is closely connected to the occupational position of a parent. In other words, schooling is often the means by which economic position is passed from one generation to another. It is no coincidence that doctors are more likely to have parents who were doctors, but your local trash collector is much more likely to have parents who were high school dropouts. In perhaps the most influential educational study ever, The Coleman Report, published in 1966 and headed up by the renowned sociologist James Coleman, this reasoning was extended from individual families to schools. The Coleman Report maintained that quality of schooling is influenced not simply by an individual’s own background, that . . .

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