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Dismantling Desegregation: The Quiet Reversal of Brown V. Board of Education Paperback – September 1, 1997

ISBN-13: 978-1565844018 ISBN-10: 1565844017

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The Harvard-based authors observe that recent judicial decisions on desegregation have given up on the reformist aspects of the landmark Brown desegregation case: now integration is seen not as a goal but as merely "a temporary punishment for historic violations." This, they add, mainly affects the South, where city-suburban desegregation efforts have progressed; in Northern cities, by contrast, a 1974 decision barred such regional desegregation, effectively blocking Brown. While a significant number of blacks are now seeking parity more than integration?an updated form of "separate but equal"?the authors argue that segregation today means profound educational inequality linked to poverty and lack of political power. A good chunk of the book, aimed mainly at experts, consists of detailed case studies of desegregation efforts in places such as Norfolk, Va. (where undoing integration did not improve education), Charlotte, N.C. (where forces for and against integration still seem balanced), and Kansas City (where new spending has brought modest gains). The authors conclude with some possibly good, if not yet politically feasible, advice: desegregation plans, to be effective, must bridge cities and suburbs, and, because school segregation is based on residential segregation, a long-term plan to integrate communities could work better than busing students.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

What ever happened to Brown v. Board of Education? The director and assistant director of the Harvard Project on School Desegregation demonstrate that although Brown is widely praised, courts, politicians, and school districts are racing back to "separate but equal" education based on dubious assumptions and evidence. Orfield and Eaton outline desegregation's legal history, paying particular attention to recent Supreme Court decisions (Dowell 1991, Pitts 1992, and Jenkins 1995) central to the current "dismantling desegregation" campaign, and compare this campaign's logic and rhetoric with the arguments used to justify Jim Crow. After examining the realities and results of increasing school (and housing) segregation in the 1990s, the authors use research by Harvard seminar participants to examine how desegregation, compensatory education, and resegregation decisions have worked in Norfolk, Charlotte, Kansas City, Detroit, Austin, Little Rock, and Maryland's Montgomery and Prince Georges counties. Brown's constitutional target, Orfield and Eaton note, was a "structure of opportunity" from which minorities were excluded; although better desegregation plans could be drawn, giving up on desegregation now would restore the peculiar American brand of apartheid and reimpose its profoundly inequitable distribution of opportunities. Mary Carroll --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: New Press, The (September 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1565844017
  • ISBN-13: 978-1565844018
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #806,321 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Alan Mills VINE VOICE on March 9, 2003
Format: Paperback
In 1954, the United States Supreme Court decided Brown vs. Board of Education, probably the Supreme Court decision which has had the most far ranging impact on America since marburry v. Madison.
There have been a rash of books lately by conservatives, claiming that school desegregation has been an abject failure. Orfield, et al, ably rebut this criticism.
School desegregation was never given a chance to work. From 1954 until 1968, school desegregation consisted almost entirely of symbolic gestures in a few isolated communities, set against a broad southern strategy of northern resistance.
From 1968 until 1974--a short 6 years, school desegregation was accomplished throughout the south. Then the courts turned their gaze north, and the Supreme Court quickly retrenched--abandoning busing, and ruling that housing segregatioin had nothing to do with school desegregation--rather, housing segregation was a matter of "choice". Once that fateful decision was made, the North did not have to desegregate, and many southern cities were free to resegregate.
Since true, wide spread desegregation, even in the South, only lasted a few short years, it is no surprise that there were few results to show. Orfield et al, however, make an excellent case that the criticism and statistics purporting to show that desegregation accomplished nothing are wrong. Where there is data, it shows that desegregation did exactly what it was supposed to do--even out the playing field for Black and White students.
The problem with the book ios that it is not so much a book as a series of academic studies, with the technical jargon (mostly) removed, and then grouped together in a single volume.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Colin Patts on June 9, 2003
Format: Paperback
finally, here is a book that shows with real people and real places the effects of the us of a's (the land of equality?? not) throwing out of the desegregation ideal. i happened to grow up in two places, Montgomery County Maryland (the chapter on this is right on) and also, a suburb right outside of Detroit, Michigan (the chapter on this is right on, too) and it's true that Montgomery County was this place that was pretty integrated but forgot about the importance of that when achievement became the big issue. the only problem with this book was the last chapter, it was on a topic which i really wanted to read about but could not stay awake. all in all, a good book that any good progressive needs to have on his or her bookshelf. C.
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Format: Paperback
The case studies in this book were cogent and beautifully written. (Not common in case studies!!) The stories remind you that real people are involved in these decisions -- are important. However, the book, overall, doesn't hold together. I wish the case study author had written the entire book because some of the rest of it seems off point. I'd love to see an update in what's happening in districts like Norfolk and Montgomery County. A good book for any student of race relations or the judiciary.
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