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Choices We Can Believe In: City Parents and School Choice

Authors: Kirkland, David
Issue Date: Nov-2010
Publisher: Journal of Equity in Education
Citation: KIRKLAND, D.. Choices We Can Believe In: City Parents and School Choice. Journal of Equity in Education, North America, 1, nov. 2010
Abstract: “Choices We Can Believe In” explores (parental) “school choice” as postcolonial phenomenon. Based on ethnographic interviews Kirkland finds that, for four inner city parents, available school choices are in essence forced choices: the choice to remain in one’s community but endure poor schools, or the choice to abandon one’s community for better schools but endure nascent and sometimes blatant discrimination and other associated hardships. Each of these choices comes with ulterior consequences that eliminate them from being rational or free. As such, neither of these options is adequate for citizens of an evolved democracy. In this way, Kirkland argues that the “free choice” movement is very much a mirage that obscures historical integration efforts, leaving today’s schools to bathe in the failed backdrop of a pre-Brown educational politic that sanctions schooling as a way to reproduce social inequities. Without a true treatise toward making all school integrateable, Kirkland suggests that any effort at providing broad school choices will disintegrate into what amounts to neo-segregation or educational colonialism. To resolve this dilemma, Kirkland calls for comprehensive school reform that has at its end “integrateable schools” as opposed to integration itself. For Kirkland, integrateable schools can move us closer to integration by offering parents real school choice based on an available pool of schools that are safe, non-discriminatory and have as their design a holistic model that values and mixes the common and complex cultures of all Americans.
Appears in Collections:Journal of Equity in Education

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