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Ghetto Schooling: A Political Economy of…

Ghetto Schooling: A Political Economy of Urban Educational Reform

by Jean Anyon

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Anyon does a great job of providing the historical, social and economic background of Newark, New Jersey and how this history impacted the school climate and culture of the area. It's an impressive body of research which I'm sure took years to assemble. I enjoyed the political and economic policy discussion but it was a rather heavy and dry beginning to the book. I kept waiting for the....and what do we do about it moments. Unfortunately this came at the very end of the book; but even her ideas around rallying for social justice weren't detailed or applicable enough for those of us working around school reform efforts.

There were some glimmers of practical information when she spoke about the Marcy School. However, I am not sure that I believe in generational poverty and if that is true condition. Just by saying there is a culture of poverty in any area or population feels very judgmental and certainly not a strengths-based approach. The title of this book was also a bit off-putting. Ghetto=Urban: I think not.

This is more of an academic treatise versus a what-can-we-do guide. ( )
  MichelleCH | Apr 5, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0807736627, Paperback)

Nobody disputes the fact that inner-city schools are going to the dogs. Poor facilities, shell-shocked teachers, and hostile, apathetic students are frequent topics on the evening news, as are the supposed solutions for these problems: school vouchers, school uniforms, teacher testing, and the like. In Ghetto Schooling, author Jean Anyon exposes the futility of such social band-aids on the gaping wound that is ghetto education. Anyon starts with the premise that urban education's problems lie not within the schools themselves but rather in the "economic and political devastation" of the cities. It is the poverty, the racial isolation, and the lack of political clout that dooms inner-city schools to failure, Anyon posits, and she backs up her thesis with solid evidence: her own experiences as a school reformer in Newark, New Jersey.

Ghetto Schooling is filled with interviews, media reports and Anyon's eyewitness account of the sorry state of Newark schools and reformers' Sisyphean task of trying to make changes in the midst of urban decay and governmental indifference. Anyon concludes that it is racial, class, and ethnic discrimination at governmental levels that has led to the neglect of inner cities and, by association, their schools. The problems Anyon discusses and the solutions she proposes are not limited to the Newark city schools; they could be implemented in other urban school districts across the country. For anyone interested in the state of education in America's cities today, Ghetto Schooling is an important, if troubling, read.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:00 -0400)

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