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Complex Justice: The Case of Missouri v. Jenkins [NOOK Book]

Overview

In 1987 Judge Russell Clark mandated tax increases to help pay for improvements to the Kansas City, Missouri, School District in an effort to lure white students and quality teachers back to the inner-city district. Yet even after increasing employee salaries and constructing elaborate facilities at a cost of more than $2 billion, the district remained overwhelmingly segregated and student achievement remained far below national averages.

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Complex Justice: The Case of Missouri v. Jenkins

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Overview

In 1987 Judge Russell Clark mandated tax increases to help pay for improvements to the Kansas City, Missouri, School District in an effort to lure white students and quality teachers back to the inner-city district. Yet even after increasing employee salaries and constructing elaborate facilities at a cost of more than $2 billion, the district remained overwhelmingly segregated and student achievement remained far below national averages.

Just eight years later the U.S. Supreme Court began reversing these initiatives, signifying a major retreat from Brown v. Board of Education. In Kansas City, African American families opposed to the district court's efforts organized a takeover of the school board and requested that the court case be closed. Joshua Dunn argues that Judge Clark's ruling was not the result of tyrannical "judicial activism" but was rather the logical outcome of previous contradictory Supreme Court doctrines. High Court decisions, Dunn explains, necessarily limit the policy choices available to lower court judges, introducing complications the Supreme Court would not anticipate. He demonstrates that the Kansas City case is a model lesson for the types of problems that develop for lower courts in any area in which the Supreme Court attempts to create significant change. Dunn's exploration of this landmark case deepens our understanding of when courts can and cannot successfully create and manage public policy.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A meticulous, well-documented political history of school desegregation in the Kansas City Missouri School District. . . . I applaud him for the richness of detail in the history and politics of this tragic folly and his courage in characterizing the eve

"Deeply researched, well informed, and clearly written. . . . A premier case study of race and education in the 1980s and 1990s."—The Journal of Southern History

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781469606606
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
  • Publication date: 4/14/2008
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Joshua M. Dunn is assistant professor of political science at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments     ix
Introduction     1
An Even Hollower Hope?     8
From Segregation to Litigation: The Ambiguous Racial History of Missouri and Kansas City     31
Courthouse Magic: Educational Vice Becomes Legal Virtue     57
The Field of Dreams     82
Waking Up: Implementing an Educational Disaster     113
Ambivalence and Anger: The Response of Kansas City's African American Community     139
The Last Days of Desegregation?     159
Conclusion     181
Notes     191
Bibliography     215
Index     221
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