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Five Miles Away, A World Apart: One City, Two Schools, and the Story of Educational Opportunity in Modern America Kindle Edition

9 customer reviews

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Length: 399 pages

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Editorial Reviews


"Anyone looking to understand the 'lay of the land' in kindergarten-through-12th-grade education should look no further than James Ryan's outstanding 'Five Miles Away, A World Apart' . . . Mr. Ryan's book is both sweeping and accessible."--Phil Brand, The Washington Times

"Americans seem to concur that school desegregation is the right and just policy, and also that we will do nothing to pursue it. We also don't talk or think about it--until a book such as Five Miles Away comes along. Jim Ryan has produced just the right mix of case study and rigorous analysis to both help us grapple with an issue that most people would rather ignore, and to prod us into realizing the urgent need to do so. The focus on urban/suburban boundaries is exactly targeted and the attention to politics and the law, as well as to real children, is essential."--Jennifer L. Hochschild, Professor of African and African American Studies, and Harvard College Professor, Harvard University

"[R]equired reading . . . This is the type of book that inspires a cheer on one page and a jeer on the next. It raises issues many Americans . . . prefer not to raise. His conclusions and recommendations defy ideological categorization . . . Regarding education, the country neither is living up to its ideals nor meeting the needs and aspirations of young people. Many students prosper, of course; many do not. Ryan asks why. His answers command respect."--Richmond Times-Dispatch

"[An] excellent book . . . in Five Miles Apart, [Ryan] carefully surveys the evidence and concludes that steps must be taken to address the social and economic segregation of American public schools. A system of greater choice, rather than compulsory busing, is his prescribed solution, one made more politically feasible by changing demographics, and changing attitudes among young adults." --The New Republic's online book review

"Ryan effectively, conclusively enlightens policy makers, professors, school administrators, legal and educational scholars and researchers, and undergraduate and graduate students of school administration by providing an exhaustive discussion of judicial decision making and executive and legislative thinking since Brown v. Board of Education....The author's experience and expertise in law, research, data analysis, and personal interviewing make this an absolute must read for anyone interested in understanding the impact of judicial decision making on desegregation efforts in the US public school system. Summing Up: Highly recommended."--CHOICE

"In this work, James E. Ryan explores the history of integration in America's schools through an examination of court decisions, historical analysis, and previously published education research." -- Political Science Quarterly

About the Author

James E. Ryan is William L. Matheson & Robert M. Morgenthau Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of Virginia School of Law. He is a former clerk to Chief Justice William Rehnquist.

Product Details

  • File Size: 788 KB
  • Print Length: 399 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0195327381
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (July 9, 2010)
  • Publication Date: July 9, 2010
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0042JSR4Q
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #415,499 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Bobby Wayne on October 8, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The author presents a well-documented history of school desegration in Richmond. As a resident of Virginia during this time, the author presents the issues you might not have been aware of when you were only in elementary school. The author also is informative as to his insights into the courts, the judges, and the parties on both sides of the argument. The author's analysis of Detroit and Charlotte-Mecklenburg cases helped me to draw my own conclusions of how history played out over the past 50+ years and in hindsight how some ideas may have had flaws. While there was some controversy in my rural area of Virginia at this time, I was vaguely aware of the issues in the capital city. This book helped to fill in some of the gaps of not being there as well as explain the chain of events leading up to this point - many of which were before I was even born.

If you are from the right, you may not like this book. If you are middle-class and white, you might not like what you read. While the white middle-class played a major role in the transformation of Richmond, it was interesting to learn of the division within the class between "metropolitan whites" and their rural counterparts. For those that know the area, you would have to admit that Richmond has become a kind of urban "suburb" to the surrounding counties - especially Henrico County. Except for state government, law firms, and banking offices, most large retailers and shopping areas are located in the suburbs. (Department stores long abandoned downtown.) That form of economic segregation may be a subject for another author.
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By M. Buck on August 7, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Every tax payer should read this book. It's an excellent explanation of the history of our nation's public school system. it's an easy read and very informative. It's not just for parents and teachers. Anyone can educate themselves on how our taxes are (or aren't) at work and take a stand for things to go differently.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Wish ebooks had page numbers but the cost was great
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Cabin Dweller on May 15, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition
I must disagree with the author's approach to education and diversity. While this book is well-researched and thorough, I continue to be mystified by sociological theory and a world where all neighborhoods and greater metropolitan areas are directly before or after Brown v Board. I grew up in, was educated in, and have now worked in "mixed education" for most of my entire life. Regardless of where students were born or how far they were bused - regardless of race - the students that I have known for over thirty years of my life have attended schools not isolated from or despoiled by racial or social or economic disparity. I graduated as a minority from a black high school. I teach at a community college in an area where black people and students are a slight majority. Many more of our schools and students represent random mixes of the population, but authors like Ryan don't have conclusions to support data supplied in these cases, and would not like what they find.

Over the past year at my community college, a year that began with just how bad Ferguson schools were, I kept statistics on my ground zero level. Discounting internet students - about 30% of my student population and a population I don't physically see (also a population most likely reproducing everything you see below) - here is what a year of raw data produces.

For the 2014-15 year I taught:

38 white females
23 black females
37 white males
12 black males

- Again, in accordance with Ryan's statements on race and disparity, this is from a population in which blacks should outnumber whites slightly.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By guadalupe on December 24, 2013
Format: Paperback
As a public school teacher, this book is a must read!!! Some of the reviews I read on this book I can't help think these people have NO CLUE as to what goes on in public education. I especially liked the comment from another review "he doesn't say anything about the parent attitude"!! Really?! Wow. That comment made me chuckle. What this book does do is present facts. It was an eye opener for me. This book advocates more of a way for schools to be truly desegregated. A lot of schools still flirt with the idea of segregation, and as this book chronicles, government giving more $$$/title 1 money to poor under performing schools isn't the answer. After teaching in various schools, it shocks me how much money an underperforming low SES school gets from the government versus a well upper class school with no government money. (And they still outperform their poor school neighbors without the millions of dollars) Students will benefit from being integrated with each other. Integrated by social class and race. A must read for anyone and everyone concerned with kids and the public education system today.
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