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The Struggle for Racial Equality and Civic Renewal in Public Education


The Struggle for Racial Equality and Civic Renewal in Public Education

The promise of a free, high-quality public education is supposed to guarantee every child a shot at the American dream. But our widely segregated schools mean that many children of color do not have access to educational opportunities equal to those of their white peers. In Integrations, historian Zoë Burkholder and philosopher Lawrence Blum investigate what this country’s long history of school segregation means for achieving just and equitable educational opportunities in the United States.
Integrations focuses on multiple marginalized groups in American schooling: African Americans, Native Americans, Latinxs, and Asian Americans. The authors show that in order to grapple with integration in a meaningful way, we must think of integration in the plural, both in its multiple histories and in the many possible definitions of and courses of action for integration. Ultimately, the authors show, integration cannot guarantee educational equality and justice, but it is an essential component of civic education that prepares students for life in our multiracial democracy.


"Blum and Burkholder begin this book with a hard truth: regardless of legislation meant to desegregate public schools, students are still very much separated by race, which has implications for income, housing, and incarceration. . . . This book seeks not only to discuss racial inequality in public schools but also to inspire readers to take action. . . . The authors offer a solution to the current state of public education: integrations (plural), thought of as a series of policies and evaluations of outcomes, rather than as a singular concept. Tied to these integrations is civic education, which will allow students to become active social justice organizers for themselves and their peers. . . . Recommended."


“Calling for school integration as a remedy, the authors champion a civic-minded conception rooted in training students for democratic citizenship. But for egalitarian integrations to be successful, structural injustice must be dismantled. This book will be invaluable for scholars, educators, and activists fighting for educational equality.”

Derrick Darby, coauthor of 'The Color of Mind: Why the Origins of the Achievement Gap Matter for Justice'

“A revolutionary call to confront, challenge, and reform race-based inequity and injustice in the public school system in the United States—a must-read for parents, teachers, administrators, and students.”

K. Tsianina Lomawaima, coauthor of ''To Remain an Indian': Lessons in Democracy from a Century of Native American Education'

“The challenges arising from racial and ethnic inequalities in the United States are complex and defy simple solutions such as integrating schools. Using rich historical analysis and philosophical insights, Blum and Burkholder show us how to promote the civic and other educational goods necessary for a pluralistic democratic society. The book could not be more timely and relevant.”

Helen F. Ladd, coauthor of 'Educational Goods: Values, Evidence, and Decision-Making'

Table of Contents


Chapter 1 Segregation

Chapter 2 Desegregation

Chapter 3 Equality

Chapter 4 Integrations: The Capital Argument

Chapter 5 Integrations: The Civic Argument

Conclusion: Egalitarian Civic Integrationist Pluralism



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