Five Miles Away, A World Apart

Five Miles Away, A World Apart : Two Schools, One City, and the Story of Educational Opportunity in Modern America

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How is it that half a century after Brown v. Board of Education-and in spite of increased funding for urban schools and programs like No Child Left Behind-educational opportunities for blacks and whites in America still remain so unequal? In Five Miles Away, A World Apart, James Ryan provides a sobering answer to this question by tracing the fortunes of two schools in Richmond, Virginia-one suburban, relatively affluent, and mostly white, and the other urban, relatively poor, and mostly black. Ryan shows how court rulings against desegregation in the 1970s laid the groundwork for the massive disparities between urban and suburban public school districts that persist to this day. The Nixon administration, intent on shoring up its base in the "silent majority," allowed suburbs to lock nonresidents out of their school systems. Urban schools, whose student bodies were becoming increasingly poor and black, simply received more funding, a panacea that has proven largely ineffective, while the academic independence (and superiority) of suburban schools was held sacrosanct. Drawing on compelling interviews with students, teachers, and principals, including one who has been a principal at both schools featured in the book, Ryan explains how certain policies-school finance, school choice, and standardized testing-not only fail to bridge the performance gap between students at urban and suburban schools but actually perpetuate segregation across the country. Ryan closes by suggesting innovative reforms that would bring greater diversity into our schools by shifting the emphasis from racial to socioeconomic integration. An incisive critique of exactly how and why our educational policies have gone wrong, Five Miles Away, A World Apart will interest all those who wish to see our educational system heal the divide between rich and poor and live up to our highest democratic more

Product details

  • Hardback | 400 pages
  • 157.48 x 236.22 x 35.56mm | 725.74g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 6 black and white halftone illustration
  • 0195327381
  • 9780195327380
  • 2,002,812

Review quote

Ryan effectively, conclusively enlightens policy makers, professors, school administrators, legal and educational scholars and researchers, and undergraduate and graduate students of school administration by providing an exhaustive discussion of judicial decision making and executive and legislative thinking since Brown v. Board of Education....The author's experience and expertise in law, research, data analysis, and personal interviewing make this an absolute must read for anyone interested in understanding the impact of judicial decision making on desegregation efforts in the US public school system. Summing Up: Highly recommended. * CHOICE * An excellent book . . . in Five Miles Apart, Ryan carefully surveys the evidence and concludes that steps must be taken to address the social and economic segregation of American public schools. A system of greater choice, rather than compulsory busing, is his prescribed solution, one made more politically feasible by changing demographics, and changing attitudes among young adults. * The New Republic's online book review * Required reading . . . This is the type of book that inspires a cheer on one page and a jeer on the next. It raises issues many Americans . . . prefer not to raise. His conclusions and recommendations defy ideological categorization . . . Regarding education, the country neither is living up to its ideals nor meeting the needs and aspirations of young people. Many students prosper, of course; many do not. Ryan asks why. His answers command respect. * Richmond Times-Dispatch * Americans seem to concur that school desegregation is the right and just policy, and also that we will do nothing to pursue it. We also don't talk or think about it-until a book such as Five Miles Away comes along. Jim Ryan has produced just the right mix of case study and rigorous analysis to both help us grapple with an issue that most people would rather ignore, and to prod us into realizing the urgent need to do so. The focus on urban/suburban boundaries is exactly targeted and the attention to politics and the law, as well as to real children, is essential. * Jennifer L. Hochschild, Professor of African and African American Studies, and Harvard College Professor, Harvard University * Anyone looking to understand the 'lay of the land' in kindergarten-through-12th-grade education should look no further than James Ryan's outstanding 'Five Miles Away, A World Apart' . . . Mr. Ryan's book is both sweeping and accessible. * Phil Brand, The Washington Times *show more

About James Ryan

James Ryan is Associate Dean and Professor of Law at the University of Virginia School of Law. He is also a former clerk to Chief Justice William more

Table of contents

INTRODUCTION FIVE MILES AWAY, A WORLD APART ; 1. Why Didn't Richmond Ever Desegregate? ; 2. From Consolidation to Reparation ; 3. Desegregating Dollars ; 4. Limited Choices ; 5. Lowering the Bar: The Standards and Testing Movement ; 6. In Search of Ties That Bind ; CONCLUSION FREEMAN AND TJ REVISITEDshow more

Rating details

91 ratings
4.05 out of 5 stars
5 29% (26)
4 49% (45)
3 21% (19)
2 1% (1)
1 0% (0)
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