Organizing for educational justice

| December 10, 2010

Title: Organizing for educational justice : the campaign for public school reform in the South Bronx

Author: Michael B. Fabricant

Publisher: University of Minnesota Press, c2010.

Check it out: LA339.N5 F34 2010

From the publisher:

An in-depth account of community-based school reform that offers a powerful model for parents searching for ways to change public education

Since the 1980s, strategies for improving public education in America have focused on either competition through voucher programs and charter schools or standardization as enacted into federal law through No Child Left Behind. These reforms, however, have failed to narrow the performance gap between poor urban students and other children. In response, parents have begun to organize local campaigns to strengthen the public schools in their communities. One of the most original, successful, and influential of these parent-led campaigns has been the Community Collaborative to Improve District 9 (CC9), a consortium of six neighborhood-based groups in the Bronx.

In Organizing for Educational Justice, Michael B. Fabricant tells the story of CC9 from its origins in 1995 as a small group of concerned parents to the citywide application of its reform agenda—concentrating on targeted investment in the development of teacher capacity—ten years later. Drawing on in-depth interviews with participants, analysis of qualitative data, and access to meetings and archives, Fabricant evaluates CC9’s innovative approach to organizing and collaboration with other stakeholders, including the United Federation of Teachers, the NYC Department of Education, neighborhood nonprofits, and city colleges and universities.

Situating this case within a wider exploration of parent participation in educational reform, Fabricant explains why CC9 succeeded and other parent-led movements did not. He also examines the ways in which the movement effectively empowered parents by rigorously ensuring a democratic process in making decisions and, more broadly, an inclusive organizational culture. As urban parents across America search for ways to hold public schools accountable for their failures, this book shows how the success of the CC9 experience can be replicated elsewhere around the country.

About the author: Michael B. Fabricant is professor at the Hunter College School of Social Work, City University of New York. He has also served for the past ten years as the executive officer of the Ph.D. program in social welfare at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. His most recent books include The Welfare State Crisis and the Transformation of Social Service Work and Settlement Houses under Siege: The Struggle to Sustain Community Organizations in New York City.

On the web:

Michael Fabricant: Disturbing trends in public education and why charter schools aren’t the answer.

“Everyone who is interested in authentic, deep school reform—the type of school change that will make a difference in the lives of children—should read this book. Michael Fabricant’s rendition of the important story of CC9 is both compelling and informative. He also illuminates a new style of community organizing that builds capacity in the community to support and enhance public institutions. This stands in stark contrast to those who would destabilize the community through efforts to privatize essential services.”
—Randi Weingarten, President, American Federation of Teachers