Framing Equal Opportunity: Law and the Politics of School Finance Reform

By Michael Paris | Go to book overview

INTRODUCTION

FRAMING EQUAL OPPORTUNITY

Almost twenty years ago now, Jonathan Kozol's Savage Inequalities offered the nation a disturbing portrait of unequal educational opportunities and stunted lives. Kozol took his readers on a journey through public schools in some of America's most impoverished cities and some of its wealthiest suburbs. In the poor cities, such as Camden, New Jersey, and East St. Louis, Illinois, the children were almost to the last one black or Latino, and most lived in poverty. The schools were old, broken down, and largely bereft of material resources. They were fearful places, places where danger lurked at every turn, and even the walls issued dire warnings about things like drug abuse and teen pregnancy. Many teachers and administrators were worn out and demoralized; they had given up hope. And the children, it seemed, knew what to make of all of this. They got the message: The larger society did not care about their education or their lives. In the wealthy suburbs, such as Cherry Hill, New Jersey, and Winnetka, Illinois,

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