Elizabeth Todd-Breland recovers the hidden history underlying this battle. She tells the story of black education reformers' community-based strategies to improve education beginning during the 1960s, as support for desegregation transformed into community control, experimental schooling models that pre-dated charter schools, and black teachers' challenges to a newly assertive teachers' union. This book reveals how these strategies collided with the burgeoning neoliberal educational apparatus during the late twentieth century, laying bare ruptures and enduring tensions between the politics of black achievement, urban inequality, and U.S. democracy.
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This insightful, astute, sweeping history offers an extraordinary account of black politics and advocacy regarding educational reform and justice over the last half century. It offers a rich, nuanced, deeply researched case study of one major American city, and yet its findings and major themes have national significance. Capturing a range of voices and perspectives in an engaging and cohesive narrative, it is the best study of African Americans' relation to neoliberalism by any historian that I am aware of.Martha Biondi, Northwestern University