From Publishers Weekly
Buck, Arkansas University doctoral fellow in education reform, enters the black-white achievement gap debate with a review of anti-academic attitudes among some black students, who dub school achievement as acting white; he finds its roots in what was lost when schools were desegregated. Buck fears misinterpretation (no one should read this section as suggesting that we should go back to segregated schools) as he delineates the costs of losing the schools as community centers, the concomitant loss of black teachers and principals as academic role models, and the detachment of black parents and students. Desegregation, he argues, then set the stage for the 'acting white' criticism to emerge in the school setting, as black students met hostile receptions from white students and teachers. Buck's proposed solutions are implausible—and almost risible: one, since humans are tribal, some students should be in an all-black environment that includes black teachers and principals, the other to replace individual grades with regular interschool competitions, supplemented by small rewards for winners on a group basis. Overstuffed with evidence showing he examined literally thousands of sources over the past several years, the result is a repetitive mélange of education philosophy and anecdotal history. (June)
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“The best race book of the year.”—John McWhorter, New Republic blog
(John McWhorter New Republic
"Acting White asks why African American students still lag so far behind their peers in academic achievement and offers a thoughtful and provocative answer to this crucial question."—Stephan Thernstrom, Harvard University
"[Buck] reminds us that we should remember that everything is composed of light and shadow. Before we attempt to improve schools, we need to understand the impact of change on culture, on deeply ingrained habits and ways of thinking."—Phil Brand, Washington Times
(Phil Brand Washington Times