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Confronting Suburban School Resegregation in California

Confronting Suburban School Resegregation in California

Clayton A. Hurd
Copyright Date: 2014
Pages: 304
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  • Book Info
    Confronting Suburban School Resegregation in California
    Book Description:

    The school-aged population of the United States has become more racially and ethnically diverse in recent decades, but its public schools have become significantly less integrated. In California, nearly half of the state's Latino youth attend intensely-segregated minority schools. Apart from shifts in law and educational policy at the federal level, this gradual resegregation is propelled in part by grassroots efforts led predominantly by white, middle-class residential communities that campaign to reorganize districts and establish ethnically separate neighborhood schools. Despite protests that such campaigns are not racially, culturally, or socioeconomically motivated, the outcomes of these efforts are often the increased isolation of Latino students in high-poverty schools with fewer resources, less experienced teachers, and fewer social networks that cross lines of racial, class, and ethnic difference.

    Confronting Suburban School Resegregation in Californiainvestigates the struggles in a central California school district, where a predominantly white residential community recently undertook a decade-long campaign to "secede" from an increasingly Latino-attended school district. Drawing on years of ethnographic research, Clayton A. Hurd explores the core issues at stake in resegregation campaigns as well as the resistance against them mobilized by the working-class Latino community. From the emotionally charged narratives of local students, parents, teachers, school administrators, and community activists emerges a compelling portrait of competing visions for equitable and quality education, shared control, and social and racial justice.

    eISBN: 978-0-8122-9010-3
    Subjects: Anthropology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 1-24)

    Timemagazine has called the continuing racial segregation of U.S. public schools one of the most underreported news stories of our time (Fitzpatrick 2009). While it is historically viewed as an African American/White issue, Latinos¹ are now in fact more segregated than African Americans in southern and western regions of the country. In the Western states,² the number of Latinos in intensely segregated minority schools—that is, schools with a 90–100 percent racial minority population—increased from 19 percent in 1980 to over 40 percent in 2005 (Orfield and Lee 2007). California is now the national leader for the...


    • CHAPTER 1 White/Latino School Resegregation, the Deprioritization of School Integration, and Prospects for a Future of Shared, High-Quality Education
      (pp. 27-55)

      Why, from an equal educational opportunity perspective, should there be any significant concern about the school segregation of Latino youth? What does racial balance have to do with effective, equity-based schooling practice? To understand how Latino school segregation constitutes such a potent challenge to equal educational opportunity in the United States, it is imperative to view the situation beyond a simple “racial balance” issue. In reality, Latino school segregation is systematically linked to other forms of isolation including segregation by socioeconomic status, residential location, and increasingly by language. What has been much less politicized in the integration debate is the...

    • CHAPTER 2 Historicizing Educational Politics in Pleasanton Valley
      (pp. 56-90)

      The first buses appear at the gated entrance of Allenstown High School just before 7 a.m., beginning their winding quarter-mile journey up to the center of the campus. The hilly ascent provides views of well-groomed athletic fields and an expansive, naturally terraced forest of redwood and juniper that rises around the campus on three sides. Passing through a series of staff and visitor parking lots, the bus dips briefly into a canopy of eucalyptus before stopping at the flagpole that decorates the roundabout just short of central campus quadrangle. As the doors swing open, it is mostly brown faces that...


    • CHAPTER 3 Latino Empowerment and Institutional Amnesia at Allenstown High
      (pp. 93-139)

      Two events in 1987 marked a significant transformation in the political landscape of Pleasanton Valley. The first was a voting rights lawsuit brought against the city of Farmingville by the Mexican American Legal Defense Fund (MALDEF), challenging the legitimacy of the city’s at-large municipal election system which had long favored White candidates for city council. While Latinos had come to constitute about half the city’s population by the mid-1980s, no Latino had ever been elected onto Farmingville’s city council. In fact, between 1971 and 1985, nine Latino candidates ran for the council without ever winning a seat. Local explanations for...

    • CHAPTER 4 The Road from Dissent to Secession
      (pp. 140-163)

      The Proposition 187-inspired student walkouts across Pleasanton Valley schools precipitated a series of negative responses from citizens in both Farmingville and Allenstown. Included was an animation of latent anger among some White residents in Farmingville who expressed, publicly and in no uncertain terms, their resentment of the growing Mexican-descent population in the region. In a series of local newspaper editorials, long-time Farmingville residents—positioning themselves as “taxpaying citizens”—spoke of being “fed up” with the “intolerable” behavior of “questionable citizens.” They instructed dissatisfied Mexican immigrant youth and their families to “go back to Mexico and fight for reforms in your...

    • CHAPTER 5 Race and School District Secession: Allenstown’s District Reorganization Campaign, 1995–2004
      (pp. 164-182)

      When the Allenstown secession campaign went public in the spring of 1995, it was led primarily by a group of Allenstown parents and concerned citizens rather than any teacher or student groups in the district. Support within the larger Allenstown community was substantial. Within a few weeks, secession leaders had collected over 5,000 signatures backing their proposal. While the announcement followed closely on the heels of the failed parent meetings, the movement’s leaders argued that the idea of an Allenstown School District was not new but had in fact “been the talk of Little League sidelines for years.”

      To what...


    • CHAPTER 6 Cinco de Mayo, Normative Whiteness, and the Marginalization of Mexican-Descent Students at Allenstown High
      (pp. 185-212)

      Between the period of crisis at Allenstown High in the mid-1990s and when I began my school-based research several years later, a number of positive changes were made at the school. The “guidance tech” system was replaced with a counseling office that included four full-time counselors, three of whom were fully bilingual and of Mexican descent. Unfortunately, the improved representation in the counseling department was not equally achieved among the teaching faculty, where only four of over seventy classroom teachers in the school were Latino. Another positive development was the hiring of a White bilingual female principal who arrived at...

    • CHAPTER 7 Waking the Sleeping Giant: The Emergence of Progressive, Latino-Led Coalitions for School Reform
      (pp. 213-235)

      “We are here today to declare a state of emergency for our young people and our education system,” yelled Farmingville High School teacher Amanda Jenkins, via megaphone, from the interior of the gazebo in Farmingville’s central plaza. “We’re here today to work for equal rights for the young people in Farmingville, the Pleasanton Valley and beyond!”

      Jenkins addressed over fifty high school and college students on a foggy Saturday morning, kicking off a public march to commemorate of the fiftieth anniversary ofBrown v. Board of Educationin spring 2004. The march was organized as part of a larger statewide...

  8. Conclusion: Signifying Chavez
    (pp. 236-250)

    Just months before the highly publicized denouement of the Allenstown secession campaign, the PVUSD school board met for the ceremonial and seemingly mundane task of naming the its long-awaited third high school. Controversy had been sparked weeks earlier when a district-appointed citizens’ committee responsible for creating a short list of potential names from over fifty recommendations excluded the name “Cesar Chavez High School” despite a nomination package that included over 2,000 signatures. The omission angered a group of citizens favoring Chavez’s namesake, including four members of Farmingville’s city council and a handful of prominent local and state officials. Through their...

  9. NOTES
    (pp. 251-260)
    (pp. 261-274)
  11. INDEX
    (pp. 275-278)
    (pp. 279-280)