Journal of Educational Controversy


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

School Segregation: An Update on our Journal's Continuing Coverage

One of the purposes of our blog is to provide updates on topics covered in the Journal of Educational Controversy. Indeed, the journal itself is an experiment in creating a concentrated study of current controversies that is more than a one–time coverage of ideas but rather an ongoing in-depth look at a topic. Many of our journal’s issues have included an introductory section with articles that provide a broader context for understanding the topic, articles written in response to the actual controversy posed, and a section for related issues connected with the topic. The rejoinder section is intended to continue the conversation through peer review responses to the articles and the blog is intended to continue a more informal discussion of the ideas. Even our video series, “Talking with the Authors,” is intended to bring a broader understanding of the ideas by exploring the topic with the author in an interview that provides a look at the person behind the article. And our public forums, that are also videotaped and often made available in the journal, try to continue the exploration of these ideas in the context of a discussion or debate among the authors. Indeed, each issue of the journal is conceived as almost a mini-course on the topic with the conversation continuing into the future, something, we believe is unique for journals. Our goal is to provide a public space where scholars, educators, policymakers and the public can come together and engage in a deeper understanding of the controversies that arise in a pluralistic, liberal democracy.

Our winter 2007 issue on “Jonathan Kozol's Nation of Shame Forty Years Later” tried to do all these things. Dedicated to Jonathan Kozol, who was the journal’s distinguished speaker at our university, the journal published his prologue to the topic along with the video of his talk. The issue was published at the time his new book, The Shame of the Nation, the Restoration of Apartheid Schooling in America, had just come out. Fortuitously, it was also the time the U.S. Supreme Court had decided to hear arguments in the Seattle case on the use of race as a factor in public school admissions policy in PICS v. Seattle School District No.1 et al. So in addition to the articles in response to the controversy, we published a special section on “Washington State Politics and the future U.S. Supreme Court decision.“ After the issue went online, the High Court rendered its decision and we covered it in our rejoinder’s section. Some key players took part in our public forum that year.

Our Introductory Section for that issue contained a background essay to provide a context for the theme. Gary Orfield, distinguished professor of education at UCLA and co-director of the Civil Rights Project/El Proyecto de CRP, had permitted us to excerpt sections of his 2006 Report on Racial Transformation and the Changing Nature of Segregation. A member of our editorial board provided a short introduction to a selection of excerpts along with a link to the entire report. This morning, we just learned about a new manual that was released by the Civil Rights Project/Proyecto Derechos Civiles at UCLA on Integrating Suburban Schools: How to Benefit from Growing Diversity and Avoid Segregation. According to the press release, the manual is intended to provide “invaluable guidance for education stakeholders in suburban school districts — including school board members, parents, students, community activists, administrators, policymakers and attorneys “ as they try to achieve “positive and lasting multiracial diversity.”

The 2010 census indicated a very large movement of African American and Latino families to suburbia. As CRP Co-director Gary Orfield notes, “Many hundreds of suburban communities that were all-white when they were constructed, and had experienced little diversity until the recent past, are now facing important questions about how they can achieve lasting and successful integration and avoid the destructive resegregation by race and poverty that affected so many areas in the central cities a half century ago.”

The manual offers the following information:

• A comprehensive discussion of the critical importance of diverse learning environments in racially changing suburban school districts.

• The history of court-ordered desegregation efforts and an overview of the current legal landscape governing school integration policy.

• General legal principles for creating racially diverse schools.

• The vital role that teachers and administrators play in building successfully integrated schools and classrooms.

• Specific examples of suburban school districts promoting high quality, inclusive and integrated schools.

• Strategies for teaching in racially diverse classrooms.

• Methods for building the political will and support in your community for voluntary integration policies.

• An extensive and reader-friendly list of education and legal resources including easily disseminated fact sheets on important topics related to school diversity.

Our readers can download the manual by going to the website of the Civil Rights Project at: K-12 Research Section.  The press release also indicates that the manual may be copied or reprinted and used in classes without permission or payment.


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