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Quality Education as a Constitutional Right: Creating a Grassroots Movement to Transform Public Schoolsby Theresa Perry
Synopses & Reviews
In 2005, famed civil rights leader and education activist Robert Moses invited one hundred prominent African American and Latino intellectuals and activists to meet to discuss a proposal for a campaign to guarantee a quality education for all children as a constitutional right--a movement that would transform current approaches to educational inequity, all of which have failed miserably to yield results for our children. The response was passionate, and the meeting launched a movement.
This book--emerging directly from that effort--reports on what has happened since and calls for a new scale of organizing, legal initiatives, and public definitions of what a quality education is. Essays include
- Robert Moses's historically rooted call for citizens, especially young people, to make the demand for quality education
- Ernesto Cortes's view from decades of work organizing Latino communities in Texas
- Charles Payne's interview with students from the Baltimore Algebra Project, who organized to make historic demands on their district
- Legal scholar Imani Perry's nuanced analysis of the prospects of making a case for quality education as a right guaranteed by the Constitution
- Perspectives from scholars Lisa Delpit and Joan T. Wynne, and by teachers Alicia Caroll and Kim Parker, who provide examples of what quality education is, describing its goal, and how to guide practice in the meantime
A passionately argued case for a new civil rights movement—centered on schoolsLegendary civil rights leader and education activist Robert Moses invited one hundred prominent African American and Latino intellectuals and activists to meet to discuss a proposal for a campaign to guarantee a quality education for all children as a constitutional right—a movement that would “transform current approaches to educational inequity, all of which have failed miserably to yield results for our children.” The response was overwhelming, and people literally started organizing on the spot. This book—emerging directly from that effort—includes a fierce, eloquent call by Moses for a new approach to school reform. He argues that the crisis in public education for children of color won’t be solved by bureaucratic fixes but—like the crisis in political citizenship in the 1950s and ’60s—only by a grassroots, popular movement modeled after the civil rights movement.Latino organizer Ernesto Cortés tells us about the realities of organizing based on the success stories of grassroots change in Texas. Lisa Delpit shows us the key features of culturally grounded quality education. Other eminent educators, historians, and legal experts lend their voices to this groundbreaking book.
About the Author
Robert Moses is the author of Radical Equations (Beacon / 3127-8 / $16.00 pb). Ernésto Cortes Jr. is director of the Southwest Regional Industrial Areas Foundation. Theresa Perry is professor of Africana studies and education at Simmons College and author of Young, Gifted, and Black (Beacon / 3105-6 / $16.00 pb). Lisa Delpit is director of the Center for Urban Educational Excellence at Georgia State University and author of Other People’s Children.
Table of Contents
The historical and contemporary foundations for Robert Moses's call to make quality education a constitutionally guaranteed right / Theresa Perry — The holy cause of education : lessons from the history of a freedom-loving people / Linda Mizell — Miss Baker's grandchildren : an interview with the Baltimore Algebra Project / Charles M. Payne — Reading, writing and rights : ruminations on getting the law in line with educational justice / Imani Perry — Schools that shock the conscience : what Williams v. California reveals about the struggle for an education on equal terms fifty years after Brown / Jeannie Oakes — Constitutional property v. Constitutional people / Robert P. Moses — Quality education as a civil right : reflections / Ernest Cort
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