A Political Education: Black Politics and Education Reform in Chicago since the 1960s

A Political Education: Black Politics and Education Reform in Chicago since the 1960s

by Elizabeth Todd-Breland

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Overview

In 2012, Chicago's school year began with the city's first teachers' strike in a quarter century and ended with the largest mass closure of public schools in U.S. history. On one side, a union leader and veteran black woman educator drew upon organizing strategies from black and Latinx communities to demand increased school resources. On the other side, the mayor, backed by the Obama administration, argued that only corporate-style education reform could set the struggling school system aright. The stark differences in positions resonated nationally, challenging the long-standing alliance between teachers' unions and the Democratic Party.

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781469646596
Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
Publication date: 10/03/2018
Series: Justice, Power, and Politics
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 344
Sales rank: 1,125,407
File size: 6 MB

About the Author

Elizabeth Todd-Breland is assistant professor of history at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

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

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