Winner of the 2000 Best Book Award, Urban Politics Section of the American Political Science Association
"[The authors] have plainly done their homework. They have reviewed thousands of news clips and official reports, conducted scores of interviews and surveyed a wide array of influential actors. . . . Although the authors are plainly sympathetic to the aspirations of the reformers, they have checked their dreams at the door. That they do not shy away from telling inconvenient truths . . . gives them greater credence to their account."--David L. Kirp, The Nation
"This substantial volume does not leave the reader with great optimism. Rather, The Color of School Reform extends our understanding of the roots of urban school failure and broadens our focus on the political and social requisites for successful reform. At this stage of the big city school wars, that's a more important contribution."--Michael F. Addonizio, Qualitative Studies in Education
From the Inside Flap
In each city examined, reform efforts often arise but collapse, partly because leaders are unable to craft effective political coalitions that would commit community resources to a concrete policy agenda. What undermines the leadership, according to the authors, is the complex role of race in each city. First, public authority does not guarantee access to private resources, usually still controlled by white economic elites. Second, local authorities must interact with external actors, at the state and national levels, who remain predominantly white. Finally, issues of race divide the African American community itself and often place limits on what leaders can and cannot do.
Filled with insightful explanations together with recommendations for policy change, this book is an important component of thedebate now being waged among researchers, education activists, and the community as a whole.