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The Emancipatory Promise of Charter Schools
Toward a Progressive Politics of School Choice
The Emancipatory Promise of Charter Schools
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Eric Rofes - Editor
Lisa M. Stulberg - Editor
Herbert Gintis - Foreword by
Price: $73.50 
Hardcover - 328 pages
Release Date: October 2004
ISBN10: 0-7914-6235-8
ISBN13: 978-0-7914-6235-5

Price: $31.95 
Paperback - 328 pages
Release Date: October 2004
ISBN10: 0-7914-6236-6
ISBN13: 978-0-7914-6236-2

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Offers a broad, multidisciplinary, and progressive look at school choice.

This book opens up a critical conversation among progressive educators of various generations, races, perspectives, and social locations concerning one specific school reform initiative—charter schools. Eric Rofes and Lisa M. Stulberg bring together scholars who both study and actively participate in school choice reform and charge them to be "bold in their questioning and assertive in their own ambivalence" about this complex, controversial public issue and to include issues that are underexamined in the school literature, such as the impact of school choice on race and class politics and inequalities. The editors argue that charter schools are playing a powerful role in reviving participation in public education, expanding opportunities for progressive methods in public school classrooms, and generating new energy for community-based, community-controlled school initiatives. The result is a groundbreaking volume that pushes boundaries, questions assumptions, and rocks foundations of progressive thought.

“This book is a necessary corrective to narrow, polarized public discussion on charter schools. Instead of focusing on the usual liberal-versus-conservative orientation on the utility of charter schools, the contributors provide examples of charter schools that further the interests of progressive education and discuss how charter schools may be analyzed from a progressive education perspective.” — CHOICE

"In The Emancipatory Promise of Charter Schools, an impressive group of activist educators have gathered together to rethink the debate and redraw the lines of struggle. This may become a guide to reframe debates about other issues: standards, equity, justice." — William Ayers, author of To Teach: The Journey of a Teacher

"At last, a critical analysis of charters rooted in the experiences of the schools and the educators who lead them. Charter schools are by no means a panacea for the problems that beset public education, but this collection of essays shows why they represent a legitimate strategy for reviving this vital American institution. For those who are tired of the failed policies and fads that drive school reform in this country, here is a book that provides you with a basis for hope and optimism." — Pedro Noguera, author of City Schools and the American Dream: Reclaiming the Promise of Public Education

"Public debate over school choice has been polarized with liberal opponents on the left and conservative proponents on the right. Finally, Rofes and Stulberg offer a fresh vision of school choice that does not compromise the libratory project in progressive educational communities. This bold collection challenges progressive educators to rethink the roles of charter schools and other forms of school choice in communities of color." — Shawn A. Ginwright, author of Black in School: Afrocentric Reform, Urban Youth, and the Promise of Hip-Hop Culture

"This book is certainly long overdue. The contributors tackle many questions that have been avoided by most other scholars in relation to charter schools. Clearly, Rofes and Stulberg have worked to bring diverse progressive contributors together to present a fascinating arrangement of viewpoints and genres. These contributors offer provocative and timely arguments for the field." — Celia Oyler, author of Making Room for Students: Sharing Teacher Authority in Room 104

Contributors include Mary Jiron Belgarde, Nina K. Buchanan, Robert A. Fox, Herbert Gintis, John B. King Jr., Melissa Steel King, Alex Medler, Eric Rofes, Stacy Smith, Lisa M. Stulberg, and Patty Yancey.

Eric Rofes is Associate Professor of Education at Humboldt State University. Lisa M. Stulberg is Assistant Professor of Educational Sociology at New York University.

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Table of Contents

Herbert Gintis


Eric Rofes and Lisa M. Stulberg

1. What History Offers Progressive Choice Scholarship
Lisa M. Stulberg

PART I: Progressive Charter Schooling in Practice

2. Fulfilling the Hope of Brown v. Board of Education through Charter Schools
John B. King Jr.

3. Back to the Future: Ethnocentric Charter Schools in Hawai'i
Nina K. Buchanan and Robert A. Fox

4. Native American Charter Schools: Culture, Language, and Self-Determination
Mary Jiron Belgarde

5. Independent Black Schools and the Charter Movement
Patty Yancey

6. Voices of Progressive Charter School Educators
Melissa Steel King

PART II: Frameworks for Progressive School Choice Analysis

7. The Charter School Movement: Complementing or Competing with Public Education?
Alex Medler

8. School Choice through a Foucauldian Lens: Disrupting the Left's Oppositional Stance
Stacy Smith

9. Charter Schools as the Counterpublics of Disenfranchised Communities: Pedagogy of Resistance or False Consciousness?
Eric Rofes

Conclusion: Toward a Progressive Politics of School Choice
Eric Rofes and Lisa M. Stulberg



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