Getting Around Brown: Desegregation, Development, and the Columbus Public Schools (Urban Life and Urban Landscape)

Getting Around Brown: Desegregation, Development, and the Columbus Public Schools (Urban Life and Urban Landscape)

  • ISBN-13: 9780814207215
  • $30.99

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Drawing on a broad range of sources, including over sixty interviews, Gregory S. Jacobs argues that school desegregation in Columbus failed to produce equal educational opportunity, not because it was inherently detrimental to learning, but because it was intrinsically incompatible with urban development. The city's uneven response to Penick v. Columbus Board of Education [1979], the case that brought desegregation to the Columbus public schools, ultimately sacrificed the long-term health of the city school district to preserve the growth of the city itself. The resulting middle-class abandonment of urban education in Columbus produced an increasingly poor, African American city school system and a powerful form of defensive activism within the overwhelmingly white suburban systems.The title of the book refers not only to the elaborate tools used to circumvent the spirit of the Supreme Court's landmark 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision but also to the need to move beyond the flawed dichotomies and failed policies that have come to define desegregation. The book calls for a reconsideration of the complicated relationship race, class, and housing patterns have with city school reform efforts, a relationship obscured by this country's vitriolic and occasionally violent battle over busing. Jacobs concludes his study with a "modest proposal" in which he recommends the abolition of the Columbus Public School District, the dispersal of its students throughout surrounding suburban systems, and the creation of a choice-based "experimental education zone" within the old city school district boundaries.Getting Around Brown is a text for scholars of recent American history, urban studies, civil rights and race relations, and educational policy, as well as anyone interested in public education and politics.

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