Forced Justice
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Forced Justice : School Desegregation and the Law

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School desegregation and "forced" busing first brought people to the barricades during the 1960s and 1970s, and the idea continues to spark controversy today whenever it is proposed. A quiet rage smolders in hundreds of public school systems, where court- ordered busing plans have been in place for over twenty years. Intended to remedy the social and educational disadvantages of minorities, desegregation policy has not produced any appreciable educational gains, while its political and social costs have been considerable. Now, on the fortieth anniversary of the Supreme Court's epic decision, Brown v. Board of Education, the legal and social justifications for school desegregation are ripe for reexamination. In Forced Justice, David J. Armor explores the benefits and drawbacks of voluntary and involuntary desegregation plans, especially those in communities with "magnet" schools. He finds that voluntary plans, which let parents decide which school program is best for their children, are just as effective in attaining long-term desegregation as mandatory busing, and that these plans generate far greater community support. Armor concludes by proposing a new policy of "equity" choice, which draws upon the best features of both the desegregation and choice movements. This policy promises both improved desegregation and greater educational choices for all, especially for the disadvantaged minority children in urban systems who now have the fewest educational choices. The debate over desegregation policy and its many consequences needs to move beyond academic journals and courtrooms to a larger audience. In addition to educators and policymakers, Forced Justice will be an important book for social scientists, attorneys and specialists in civil rights issues, and all persons concerned about the state of public education.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 288 pages
  • 153.7 x 232.7 x 19.1mm | 432.95g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • Reprint
  • 38 line drawings
  • 0195111354
  • 9780195111354

Back cover copy

'Forced Justice' is a thorough and incisive examination of school desegregation. As the era of compulsory busing for school desegregation comes to a close, David Armor examines the evidence dispassionately. He finds that the benefits of this policy were usually minuscule, and the cost often enormous.show more

Review quote

"Armor's book is timely....Those who are trying to find a solution to this conundrum of race and education will need to ponder long and hard both the evidence and the prescriptions contained here."-The Review of Politics "This is the most important book on school desegregation since the 1965 Coleman Report. Indeed, in some respects, it is a more impressive accomplishment than the Coleman Report since Forced Justice covers a much broader range of desegregation outcomes and issues and, unlike the Coleman Report, is solo-authored."-Christine Rossell, Boston University "David Armor's book is the definitive work on the subject of school desegregation's effects. He carefully evaluates and synthesizes a massive amount of psychological and sociological research including his own original studies. For the first time, we are given definitive conclusions and sound policy implications for one of the most enduring, controversial, and important educational issues of the last half century-the effects of desegregation on African-American students' learning. The book should be indispensable to educators, scholars, and policy makers concerned about school desegregation."-Herbert J. Walberg, University of Illinois at Chicago "Finally a comprehensive and balanced study of busing and school desegregation. If you want a polemic on this controversial problem, go somewhere else. David Armor's special contribution is that he has conducted a fact-anchored inquiry that explores whether mandatory busing to bring about mathematical integration has served the country well. Equally important, he confronts the critical issue of how equality in the United States derives its meaning as well as its limits from the larger system of democratic values to which it belongs."-John H. Bunzel, Stanford University "David J. Armor's Forced Justice is a thoughtful, balanced analysis of one of the most contentious issues in recent American history. In addition to providing a judicious assessment of the past, Armor describes the policies that are likeliest to support successful school desegregation in the future."-Diane S. Ravitch, New York University "As the era of compulsory busing for school desegregation comes to a close, David Armor examines the evidence dispassionately. He finds that the benefits of this policy were usually minuscule, and the cost often enormous. Forced Justice is a persuasive, detailed analysis of one of the most divisive policy initiatives in modern American history. It proves beyond doubt that good intentions are often not enough."-Glenn Loury, Boston University "Forced Justice is the most thorough and incisive examination of school desegregation I am aware of. Armor's idea of equity choice is one of those perfectly reasonable solutions to a complex problem that seems embarrassingly obvious once you hear it. This book will change the discussion of school desegregation in America."-Shelby Steele, author, The Content of Our Character: A New Vision of Race in America "Armor's well-balanced analysis leads him to both heartening and sobering conclusions about the entire enterprise of school desegregation."-Journal of American History "Likely to set off a fresh debate among lawyers, educators and social scientists."-The New York Times Book Review "A compelling argument for..."equity choice"...and a significant contribution of the discussion of desegregation in America."-The Indianapolis Star "The result of this marriage of social science research and participation in the policy process is the most impressive compilation of empirical evidence showing a depth of contextual knowledge published to date."-American Political Science Review "Likely to set off a fresh debate among lawyers, educators and social scientists...."-The New York Times Book Reviewshow more

About David J. Armor

About the Author: David J. Armor is Research Professor at The Institute of Public Policy, George Mason University. While writing this book he was Senior Research Scholar of the Social Philosophy and Policy Center of Bowling Green State University, Ohio and Visiting Professor in the Department of Sociology, Rutgers University. Formerly he was Senior Social Scientist at the Rand Corporation and Associate Professor of Sociology at Harvard University. He has also served as an elected member of the Los Angeles Board of Education and Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for military manpower and personnel.show more

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