Schools Betrayed: Roots of Failure in Inner-City Education

By Kathryn M. Neckerman | Go to book overview

CHAPTER THREE

Communities and Cultures

Education bestowed income; it could also bestow status. Its social significance had particular import for both black and immigrant Chicagoans because of their marginalized position within the city. It resonated most for black and immigrant elites, who promoted education as a means of group uplift. Yet the response to their message depended on the contours of their respective communities. As this chapter describes, the meaning of education turned on contrasts in elites' roles in these communities, in the internal organization of black and immigrant neighborhoods, and in the capacity of these communities to protect their members against white/American surveillance and stigmatization. Consequently, despite the similarity in elite views, education took on a different social significance for the black and immigrant working classes.

This chapter engages cultural explanations for the rise of inner-city schooling. It extends an influential account that links minority orientations to schooling to the group's relation to the dominant society. Over time, according to this account, immigrants were accepted into the mainstream of American society, while African Americans remained excluded. Although immigrants faced prejudice, it was not severe and it gradually diminished. Eventually, they became acculturated to the American status system and began to value education as a marker of prestige. By contrast, African Americans faced barriers to assimilation that only intensified over time. In reaction, an oppositional black culture

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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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