Despite the Best Intentions
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Despite the Best Intentions : How Racial Inequality Thrives in Good Schools

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Description

On the surface, Riverview High School looks like the post-racial ideal. Serving an enviably affluent, diverse, and liberal district, the school is well-funded, its teachers are well-trained, and many of its students are high achieving. Yet Riverview has not escaped the same unrelenting question that plagues schools throughout America: why is it that even when all of the circumstances seem right, black and Latino students continue to lag behind their peers? Through five years' worth of interviews and data-gathering at Riverview, John Diamond and Amanda Lewis have created a rich and disturbing portrait of the achievement gap that persists more than fifty years after the formal dismantling of segregation. As students progress from elementary school to middle school to high school, their level of academic achievement increasingly tracks along racial lines, with white and Asian students maintaining higher GPAs and standardized testing scores, taking more advanced classes, and attaining better college admission results than their black and Latino counterparts. Most research to date has focused on the role of poverty, family stability, and other external influences in explaining poor performance at school, especially in urban contexts. Diamond and Lewis instead situate their research in a suburban school, and look at what factors within the school itself could be causing the disparity. Most crucially, they challenge many common explanations of the 'racial achievement gap,' exploring what race actually means in this situation, and why it matters. An in-depth study with far-reaching consequences, Despite the Best Intentions revolutionizes our understanding of both the knotty problem of academic disparities and the larger question of the color line in American society.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 272 pages
  • 160.02 x 236.22 x 25.4mm | 788g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0195342720
  • 9780195342727

Review quote

"In their penetrating excavation of racial inequality in schools, Diamond and Lewis complicate scholarly debates, challenge facile rhetoric, expose the historical narratives that shape contemporary educational discourses, and illuminate a way forward. Powerful, probing and path breaking, Despite the Best Intentions is a timely and important book." -Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot, Emily Hargroves Fisher Professor of Education, Harvard University and author of The Good High School, I've Known Rivers, and The Essential Conversation"This work goes right to the heart of America's chief educational challenge: how our ordinary, well-intended day-in and day-out school practices can create dramatically different school experiences for students from different identity groups. Read this work and learn what can be done about it." -Claude Steele, Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost, University of California, Berkeley and author of Whistling Vivaldi: How Stereotypes Affect Us and What We Can Do"In Despite the Best Intentions, based on five years of research in an affluent and diverse school district, Lewis and Diamond painstakingly show how white parents hoard resources and teachers almost literally police children of color. This book ought to shake up the way we debate school outcomes as it forces us to appreciate that the 'normal, ' seemingly color-blind operation of schools is the problem. Bravo to Lewis and Diamond for a job well done!"-Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, Chair and Professor of the Duke Sociology Department"A readable and important addition to the literature on schooling and inequity. Highly recommended. All readers." -CHOICE"Lewis and Diamond have performed a valuable service in revealing essential dynamics of white advantage or privilege in a well-regarded school. Additional case studies of other institutions can build upon their insights. This book should also be widely read by educators, especially those confronted with the seeming paradox of racially dual schools within the same institution." --John L. Rury, University of Kansas, lWomen, Gender, and Families of Color"Lewis and Diamond frame the issue of racial achievement gaps in a particularly compelling way. Lewis and Diamond's analysis of discipline disparities and racialized tracking systems is fine-grained and theoretically grounded, as is their analysis of opportunity hoarding among white parents." --Social Service Review "In their penetrating excavation of racial inequality in schools, Diamond and Lewis complicate scholarly debates, challenge facile rhetoric, expose the historical narratives that shape contemporary educational discourses, and illuminate a way forward. Powerful, probing and path breaking, Despite the Best Intentions is a timely and important book." -Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot, Emily Hargroves Fisher Professor of Education, Harvard University and author of The Good High School, I've Known Rivers, and The Essential Conversation"This work goes right to the heart of America's chief educational challenge: how our ordinary, well-intended day-in and day-out school practices can create dramatically different school experiences for students from different identity groups. Read this work and learn what can be done about it." -Claude Steele, Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost, University of California, Berkeley and author of Whistling Vivaldi: How Stereotypes Affect Us and What We Can Do"In Despite the Best Intentions, based on five years of research in an affluent and diverse school district, Lewis and Diamond painstakingly show how white parents hoard resources and teachers almost literally police children of color. This book ought to shake up the way we debate school outcomes as it forces us to appreciate that the 'normal, ' seemingly color-blind operation of schools is the problem. Bravo to Lewis and Diamond for a job well done!"-Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, Chair and Professor of the Duke Sociology Department"A readable and important addition to the literature on schooling and inequity. Highly recommended. All readers." -CHOICE"Lewis and Diamond have performed a valuable service in revealing essential dynamics of white advantage or privilege in a well-regarded school. Additional case studies of other institutions can build upon their insights. This book should also be widely read by educators, especially those confronted with the seeming paradox of racially dual schools within the same institution." --John L. Rury, University of Kansas, lWomen, Gender, and Families of Colorshow more

About John Diamond

John Diamond is the Hoefs-Bascom Professor of Education at the University of Wisconsin - Madison School of Education. Amanda Lewis is an associate professor of sociology at Emory University.show more

Table of contents

PREFACE ; CHAPTER 1 - INTRODUCTION ; CHAPTER 2 - RACE, OPPOSITIONAL CULTURE, AND SCHOOL OUTCOMES: ARE WE BARKING ; UP THE WRONG TREE? ; CHAPTER 3 - THE ROAD TO DETENTION IS PAVED WITH GOOD INTENTIONS: RACE AND ; DISCIPLINE AT RIVERVIEW ; CHAPTER 4 -show more

Rating details

54 ratings
4.09 out of 5 stars
5 37% (20)
4 41% (22)
3 17% (9)
2 6% (3)
1 0% (0)
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