Educational Delusions? Why Choice Can Deepen Inequality and How to Make Schools Fair

Educational Delusions? Why Choice Can Deepen Inequality and How to Make Schools Fair

Educational Delusions? Why Choice Can Deepen Inequality and How to Make Schools Fair

Educational Delusions? Why Choice Can Deepen Inequality and How to Make Schools Fair

Synopsis

The first major battle over school choice came out of struggles over equalizing and integrating schools in the civil rights era, when it became apparent that choice could be either a serious barrier or a significant tool for reaching these goals. The second large and continuing movement for choice was part of the very different anti-government, individualistic, market-based movement of a more conservative period in which many of the lessons of that earlier period were forgotten, though choice was once again presented as the answer to racial inequality. This book brings civil rights back into the center of the debate and tries to move from doctrine to empirical research in exploring the many forms of choice and their very different consequences for equity in U.S. schools. Leading researchers conclude that although helping minority children remains a central justification for choice proponents, ignoring the essential civil rights dimensions of choice plans risks compounding rather than remedying racial inequality.

Excerpt

The idea of school choice has a tangled history. It is an idea that has taken many shapes, under the banner of the same hopeful word, one that seems to have a simple positive meaning but embodies many contradictory possibilities. Choice has a thousand different faces, some treacherous, some benign. It includes the creation of charter and magnet schools, voluntary transfer programs under state and federal legislation, choice-based desegregation plans, transfer rights under No Child Left Behind (NCLB), and voucher programs. The distinctions and this history are important to understand because forgetting what has been learned about choice systems that failed means repeating mistakes and paying the costs. There is no reason to keep making that error.

The large-scale emergence of schools of choice is deeply related to the civil rights struggles of the second half of the twentieth century, on both the conservative and the liberal side. This book therefore brings civil rights back into the center of the debate about choice policies and alternatives, since both contemporary sides in the issue see offering better options to poor minority students as an essential goal of choice. The conclusions of a number of researchers suggest that although helping minority children is a central justification for choice proponents, ignoring the essential civil rights dimensions of choice plans risks compounding rather than remedying racial inequality.

WHAT IS EDUCATIONAL CHOICE?

School choice first arose as a major policy idea in southern states struggling over civil rights and was claimed by both liberals and conservatives. Much was . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.