Schools Betrayed: Roots of Failure in Inner-City Education

By Kathryn M. Neckerman | Go to book overview

Introduction

More than forty years ago, Kenneth Clark published his book Dark Ghetto, an account of life in New York City's Harlem neighborhood. In it he described in stark detail the deficits of Harlem's segregated schools. These schools had poor facilities and were short of books and supplies. Staff turnover was high, and many classes were taught by substitute or unlicensed teachers. Teachers had low expectations, believing that students' achievement was limited by low intelligence or cultural deprivation. Standardized test scores were low, and the longer students remained in school, the further below the norm their achievement fell. Poor morale, high dropout rates, and widespread discipline problems made matters worse. Clark, a psychologist, drew attention to the interpersonal dynamics in the schools. “The dominant and disturbing fact about the ghetto schools,” he wrote, “is that the teachers and the students regard each other as adversaries. Under these conditions the teachers are reluctant to teach and the students retaliate and resist learning.”1

What strikes the present-day reader is the familiarity of this portrait. With a few deft strokes, Clark described conditions that have troubled inner-city schools for more than four decades.2 Of course, not all innercity schools are this bleak—there are notable success stories—but these problems remain widespread and have come to seem characteristic of inner-city education. Their continuity despite several decades of public

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Schools Betrayed: Roots of Failure in Inner-City Education
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface vii
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • Introduction 1
  • Chapter One - Urban Decline 11
  • Chapter Two - Labor Markets 32
  • Chapter Three - Communities and Cultures 60
  • Chapter Four - Racial Segregation and Inequality 81
  • Chapter Five - Vocational Education 107
  • Chapter Six - Remedial Education 127
  • Chapter Seven - Classroom Dynamics 152
  • Conclusion 172
  • Appendix A - Quantitative Evidence 185
  • Appendix B - Some Historical Evidence About Language Styles and Schooling 193
  • Notes 197
  • Selected Bibliography 243
  • Index 253
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