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Multiethnic Moments

Multiethnic Moments: The Politics of Urban Education Reform

Susan E. Clarke
Rodney E. Hero
Mara S. Sidney
Luis R. Fraga
Bari A. Erlichson
Copyright Date: 2006
Published by: Temple University Press
Pages: 264
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  • Book Info
    Multiethnic Moments
    Book Description:

    When courts lifted their school desegregation orders in the 1990s-declaring that black and white students were now "integrated" in America's public schools-it seemed that a window of opportunity would open for Latinos, Asians, and people of other races and ethnicities to influence school reform efforts. However, in most large cities the "multiethnic moment" passed, without leading to greater responsiveness to burgeoning new constituencies.Multiethnic Momentsexamines school systems in four major U.S. cities-Boston, Denver, Los Angeles, and San Francisco-to uncover the factors that worked for and against ethnically-representative school change. More than a case study, this book is a concentrated effort to come to grips with the multiethnic city as a distinctive setting. It utilizes the politics of education reform to provide theoretically-grounded, empirical scholarship about the broader contemporary politics of race and ethnicity-emphasizing the intersection of interests, ideas, and institutions with the differing political legacies of each of the cities under consideration.

    eISBN: 978-1-59213-538-7
    Subjects: Political Science, Education

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-v)
    (pp. vi-ix)
    Clarence N. Stone

    Consider a thought experiment. Suppose in the 1950s that employment, rather than education, had been the opening wedge for bringing an end to racial discrimination and promoting equal rights. Suppose also that the primary responsibility for this push had lain with Congress and the White House, not the Supreme Court. Coalition building across racial lines would have had a much different springboard. The nation’s politics might have evolved in a much different way. Perhaps white flight and the construction of residential boundaries of race and class privilege would have been more tempered, and attachment to place might have proven more...

    (pp. x-xiii)
    (pp. xiv-xvi)
  6. CHAPTER ONE Interests, Ideas, and Institutions: The Politics of School Reform in Multiethnic Cities
    (pp. 1-31)

    IN DENVER, two African American families mulled over the options for their children.¹ Ronnie and Judy Young started their sons in Denver Public Schools (DPS) and then moved them to private schools due to overcrowding. But their sons were not doing as well as they had hoped despite the comfortable surroundings. Citing teachers’ inflexibility about teaching methods, they moved their boys back into DPS. “They are in the mix of things at school just as they will be in society,” they wrote.

    Sherrie and Kermit Queenan’s children also tried public and private schools, but they took the opposite stand. Starting...

  7. CHAPTER TWO Race, Ethnicity, and Education
    (pp. 32-55)

    RACE AND ETHNICITY are critical elements of U.S. politics. Numerous observers and scholars understand race and ethnicity as historically central to the U.S. social and political systems—indeed, a major “dilemma” for American society (Burnham 1974; Myrdal 1944; Key 1949; Tocqueville 1958; Schmidt 2000). Although the United States is often referred to as “a nation of immigrants,” scholars increasingly acknowledge that the circumstances of groups’ immigration differ considerably. Not all groups came voluntarily; countries of origin have varied in both their political relations with the United States and also in the degree to which they are culturally, socially, and politically...

  8. CHAPTER THREE Local School Reform Agendas: Changing the Rules of the Game
    (pp. 56-91)

    DURING THE 1990s, courts ceased mandating desegregation initiatives in San Francisco, Denver, and Boston; in Los Angeles, the courts allowed the school district to develop a voluntary desegregation plan in the 1980s. Our field research centered on these critical periods as communities emerged from local desegregation struggles to search for new school reform agendas. As these local policy agendas shifted, “the rules of the game” changed and groups perceived different sets of gains and losses in the educational policy arena. Since Latino and Asian groups were not visible, active players in school reform coalitions in most cities, shifting rules brought...

  9. CHAPTER FOUR Interests and Education Reform in Multiethnic Cities
    (pp. 92-115)

    AN INTEREST-BASED perspective is a natural starting point for our analysis of the school reform puzzle. To understand why the concerns of new school constituencies are not reflected in school-reform agendas, we focus first on an analysis of the interests involved. The belief that interests matter—usually interpreted to refer to self-interested and purposive pursuit of material goals, social status, and power as a central force in politics—is the most common orientation to the study of politics in the United States. This approach highlights the relevance of material resources as both bases of political influence and incentives for maintaining...

  10. CHAPTER FIVE Ideas and Education Reform in Multiethnic Cities
    (pp. 116-142)

    AS CHAPTER 4 ILLUSTRATES, analyzing the economic and political resources of racial and ethnic groups is a natural starting point for understanding their varying situations in the education arena. For example, factors such as voting rates, group cohesiveness, and socioeconomic status do partially explain why Latinos have less influence on the education system than blacks, even though both groups have an interest in the system. But such analysis falls short of fully explaining why minorities generally have made greater inroads in city politics than in education politics, especially given both their greater representation among school constituencies compared to city constituencies,...

  11. CHAPTER SIX Institutions and Education Reform in Multiethnic Cities
    (pp. 143-169)

    IT SEEMS COMMONPLACE NOW to say that “institutions matter” in the policymaking process. It is almost akin to arguing that “politics matter.” Indeed, at the federal level, scholars of American government have explored how formal and informal institutions such as committee organization, rules, and norms structure the outcomes of the policymaking process. Despite being well studied at the federal levels, institutions and the role that they play often are less understood at other levels of government. This holds particularly true for education policymaking processes as well as the implementation of education reform at the local level. As we argue below,...

  12. CHAPTER SEVEN A Developmental Perspective on Education in Multiethnic Cities
    (pp. 170-186)

    FOCUSING ON THE INTERSECTION of interests, ideas, and institutions provides a useful analytical framework for exploring school reforms in multiethnic cities. It is also instructive for broadly comparing the dilemmas of the 1980s and 1990s with the past—that is, the coalitions of interests, ideas, and institutions predominant during different historical periods. In shorthand, we refer to those coalition patterns and orientations as “regimes.” From a historical and developmental viewpoint, the multiethnic moments in the 1980s and 1990s brought the prospects of potential regime change: New interests gained ground, mobilized around distinctive ideas and policy paradigms, and contended with institutions...

    (pp. 187-205)
    (pp. 206-219)
    (pp. 220-231)
  16. NOTES
    (pp. 232-236)
  17. INDEX
    (pp. 237-246)
  18. Back Matter
    (pp. 247-247)