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A Match on Dry Grass: Community Organizing as a Catalyst for School Reform 1st Edition

4.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0199793587
ISBN-10: 0199793581
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Editorial Reviews


"Civil rights activists in the 1960s insisted in the face of terror and death that national citizenship granted in the 14th Amendment meant something. That seminal work inspired organizing groups, active agents in an historic and on-going process, to bond with and bridge across racial, faith, gender, immigrant, and youth communities to reshape the narrative about the promise of citizenship. A Match on Dry Grass draws on these organizing traditions in the work to right 'the wrong this day done' in the nation's public schools. All of us doing that work will benefit from reading this book." --Robert Moses, Founder of the Algebra Project

"This is an important book for anyone interested in fundamental and sustainable school reform. Community organizing as described in A Match on Dry Grass creates new relationships, new community leadership, and new political power focused on doing what is right for kids. These are potent sources of support for true systemic change and an essential dimension to transforming our schools for the long haul." --Andrés A. Alonso, Chief Executive Officer, Baltimore City Public Schools

"In a context of top-down school reform preoccupied with changing administrative policies, the stories of bottom-up, community organizing initiatives in A Match on Dry Grass read like a breath of fresh air. Who better to spearhead educational reform than the young people, parents, teachers, and neighborhood residents who are committed to bringing about change in their communities? Simultaneously analytical yet full of practical organizing techniques, this important volume offers a provocative mosaic of not only what is possible, but what people are actually doing. A Match on Dry Grass's on-the-ground view of community organizing for school reform is must reading for those who see how important quality public education is for building a strong democracy." --Patricia Hill Collins, Distinguished University Professor, University of Maryland

"For too long we have been waiting for Presidents, Governors and other self-declared superheroes to save our schools while overlooking the power and potential of local communities. This detailed study on community organizing for educational change in school districts and communities throughout the United States serves as a poignant lesson to those who are genuinely concerned about promoting educational change and a powerful reminder of what is possible when those with the most at stake take action to compel schools to improve." --Pedro A. Noguera, Professor of Education, New York University

"A Match on Dry Grass locates the problems of public education as residing squarely in unequal power relations in a socially and economically stratified society. The diverse and engaging accounts of successful organizing efforts show that relational power develops where community organizing becomes a way of life without which sustained progressive educational change is neither possible nor desirable. This book is a treasure that I plan to reference again and again." --Angela Valenzuela, Professor of Educational Policy and Planning, University of Texas-Austin, and author of Subtractive Schooling and Leaving Children Behind

"The book should be equally interesting to students of collective behavior and social movements as to education reformers... The book reconnects education to its democratic impulse of improving the life chances of all Americans, which can get lost in the typical school reform talk of raising test scores." --ontemporary Sociology

"Warren and Mapp offer those interested in authentic educational and social change actual glimpses into local, as opposed to more artificial, national efforts to generate school success, especially in low-income areas... The main strength of the book is its honesty in eschewing canned, often failed, approaches to school reform. Instead, Warren and Mapp take a more realistic road toward the creation of a more just, equitable, and real American democracy. Summing Up: Highly recommended." --CHOICE

About the Author

Mark R. Warren is Associate Professor at Harvard University, and author of Fire in the Heart and Dry Bones Rattling. Karen L. Mapp is Lecturer in Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and author of Beyond the Bake Sale. The Community Organizing and School Reform Project at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, led by Mark R. Warren and Karen L. Mapp, consists of Keith Catone, Roy Cervantes, Connie K. Chung, Cynthia Gordon, Soo Hong, Ann Ishimaru, Paul Kuttner, Meredith Mira, Thomas Nikundiwe, Soojin Oh, Kenneth Russell, Amanda Taylor, Mara Tieken, Anita Wadhwa, and Helen Westmoreland.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 328 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (October 3, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199793581
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199793587
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 1 x 6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #213,349 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

By G. Aviles on November 29, 2011
Format: Paperback
How can communities organize to improve their children's schools? How does deep, systemic change take place in the education sector? What are the steps community based organizations (CBOs) can take to impact the quality of education imparted to the children and youth in their neighborhoods? These are the questions this book sets out to answer through a series of case studies from across the country. The researchers identified CBOs that had been successful in creating sustained, successful reform in their communities, from the Logan Square Neighborhood Association in Chicago to the PICO organization in Southern California. These case studies show how the basic principals of community organizing - building relationships, identifying common interests, and leveraging resources to impact decision-making processes - can work across different contexts to bring sustainable reform to struggling school systems. The LSNA study shows how these processes work in a low-income, immigrant community first to transform individual schools, then an entire district, and later statewide policy, by creating a parent mentor program that trains community parents to be assistants in the classroom and earn certification to become bilingual teachers. The case study of the ECHO organization in the rural Mississippi Delta shows how community organizing can unite communities facing a history of racial segregation to garner greater resources for public schools at the state level.

Teachers, school leaders, policy makers, parents, and others concerned with the deterioration of public education in many parts of the United States will find in this book concrete examples of how communities can come together to lead the type of deep, structural, sustained, innovative reform necessary to transform our education system.
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Studies of the different communities and how parents and other community organizers faced the challenges of their own school systems were presented. Both the successes and failures of each of these challenges had a positive impact on all involved and students especially benefited from having parents who took part. This book was inspiring. Having always taught in communities that are similar to the ones in the book, it was exciting to see the possibilities. This book is a great read for community organizers or anyone working for non-profits but especially those involved in school systems. There were so many ideas that can be started and implemented. This book reminded me of several other social and community organizational books I have read however, this book did not present theory, only actual case studies with the how and why. A Match on Dry Grass is a practical guide.
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Using it to inform my dissertation research.
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