New Article: Robert A. Garda, Jr., The White Interest in School Integration, 63 Fla. L. Rev. 599 (2011). Abstract below:
Discussions concerning desegregation, affirmative action, and voluntary integration focus primarily, if not exclusively, on whether such policies harm or benefit minorities. Scant attention is paid to the benefits whites receive in multiracial schools, despite white interests underpinning more than thirty years of Supreme Court integration jurisprudence. In this Article, I explore the academic and social benefits whites receive in multiracial schools, and I do so from a white parent’s perspective. The Article begins by describing the interest-convergence theory and how white interests explain the course and content of the Supreme Court’s desegregation and affirmative action jurisprudence. Multiracial schools will not be created or sustained unless white parents believe it to be in their children’s best interest. The Article next describes the extreme racial segregation in schools today and how white children are the most racially isolated students. This isolation exacerbates the unconscious and automatic racial bias that infects everyone and will impair white children’s ability to successfully navigate the multicultural marketplace. Integrated schools, however, help de-bias white children and teach them cross-cultural competence, a skill they need to effectively participate in a market with increasingly multicultural customers, co-workers, and global business partners. The Article ends by describing steps white parents can take to effectively integrate schools and guarantee their children gain critical cross-cultural competency skills.
New Article: Martha Minow, Confronting the Seduction of Choice: Law, Education, and American Pluralism, 120 Yale L.J. 814 (2011). Abstract below:
School choice policies, which allow parents to select among a range of options to satisfy compulsory schooling for their children, have arisen from five periods of political and legal struggle. This Feature considers the shape of school choice that emerged in the 1920s education fight over Americanization of immigrants; the freedom-of-choice plans used to avoid court-ordered school desegregation in the 1950s and 1960s; magnet schools used to promote school desegregation in the 1970s until they were halted by the Supreme Court; constitutional campaigns for vouchers to pay for religious schooling; and current experiments with charter schools and other alternatives, including special-identity schools. The idea of school choice appeals to individual freedom, market competition, religious freedom, multiculturalism, and ideological neutrality. School choice programs draw new talent into schooling and offer new avenues for social integration but only if that goal becomes an explicit public commitment, shaping available choices. Otherwise, school choice can enable new forms of social separation and obscure the absence of equal opportunities for all students.
Interesting book: Rubén A. Gaztambide-Fernández, The Best of the Best: Becoming Elite at an American Boarding School (Harv. Univ. Press 2009).
I just finished reading it and for those interested in the construction of the elite, the internal hierarchies, and the messaging of deservedness, this is a good book. At points the anxiety of influence was arguably too pronounced regarding Cookson and Persell’s Preparing for Power: America’s Elite Boarding Schools (1985). I say that even though Preparing for Power was one of the most important books for me that I read in college and continues to inform my self-perception. But The Best of the Best includes several different levels of analysis and offers a fresh take on elite boarding schools and is well worth reading for those interested in either education or elites.
A fun, humorous, look at the same topics is the Preppy Handbook. =)