Publication Date: April 6, 2018
School choice is an increasingly important part of today’s educational landscape and this timely volume presents fresh research about the competitive admissions policies of choice systems. Based on their investigation of a unique civil rights challenge to school choice admissions policies in politically and racially divided Buffalo, New York, and the struggle to open its best schools to students of color, authors Orfield and Ayscue contend that without intentional effort, choice systems are likely to exacerbate problems of inequality and segregation. Focusing on issues that will continue to be contested in the courts and in the policy arena, the authors offer research-based recommendations for reducing barriers to enrollment and for creating competitive-admissions choice systems that will allow all students access to important educational opportunities. The book outlines specific steps school systems can take, including developing a district-wide diversity plan, providing more accessible information, conducting holistic admissions processes, expanding the availability of choices, and offering preparation programs to assist students long excluded from these highly competitive schools.
Gary Orfield is distinguished research professor of education, law, political science and urban planning and co-director of The Civil Rights Project/Proyecto Derechos Civiles at the University of California, Los Angeles. He was co-founder of the Harvard Civil Rights Project. Jennifer B. Ayscue, PhD, is an American Educational Research Association Congressional Fellow and was research director of the Initiative for School Integration at The Civil Rights Project/Proyecto Derechos Civiles at UCLA.
"One of the book’s major contributions is the attention it lends to the highly political nature of civil rights research...provides an illustrative example of ways that discriminatory systems are maintained through uncritical acceptance and defended vigorously by those who stand to benefit the most."
—Teachers College Record
“In this timely and compelling and meticulously documented book, Gary Orfield, Jennifer Ayscue, and their colleagues dissect the myths surrounding “schools of choice” and demonstrate the many ways Black and Latino kids are effectively excluded from the few successful schools within a deeply troubled and profoundly segregated district. School choice has, for many decades, been promoted as a kind of magic pill—the remedy to heal the ills of separate and unequal schooling in America. It didn't work. Few of us expected that it ever would. Much to the contrary, it's been exploited as a tool for the perpetuation of an unjust and destructive status quo. All the more reason why this important book ought to inspire a national debate. I hope it will be widely read.”
—Jonathan Kozol, education activist and bestselling author
IN THE NEWS
Excerpt from Education Week (10/1/15)
"Buffalo Parents Slam School District's Response to Civil Rights Complaint": This time around, parents with the District Parent Coordinating Council say that the proposal does not go far enough in addressing their complaints or the recommendations that Orfield proposed earlier this year.
Tentative Table of Contents
Chapter 1. Great Schools Perpetuating Inequality
Chapter 2. Buffalo's Choice Schools and the Civil Rights Issues
Jennifer B. Ayscue
Chapter 3. Buffalo History and the Roots of School Segregation: The Rise of Buffalo's Two-Tiered School System
Chapter 4. Segregation and Unequal Academic Outcomes in Buffalo's Criteria-Based Schools
Chapter 5. Clearing the Pathway: Recognizing Roadblocks to Entry into Buffalo's Top-Tier Schools
Brian Woodward and Natasha Amlani
Chapter 6. How to Make Competitive Schools of Choice More Accessible and Equitable
Jennifer B. Ayscue and Genevieve Siegel-Hawley
Chapter 7. Research, Politics, and Civil Rights: What Happened to Our Recommendations
Gary Orfield and Jennifer B. Ayscue
Postscript: What We Learned
Gary Orfield and Jennifer B. Ayscue
About the Contributors