Race, Class, and Power in School Restructuring

By Pauline Lipman

Subjects: Education
Series: SUNY series, Restructuring and School Change
Paperback : 9780791437704, 352 pages, February 1998
Hardcover : 9780791437698, 352 pages, February 1998

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Table of contents

Foreword by Gloria Ladson-Billings


1. Introduction

2. The Education of African Americans and School Restructuring

3. Riverton, Its Schools, and Restructuring

4. Teachers' Beliefs About African American Students

5. Focus Teams at Gates: Concentrating on Individuals

6. Restructuring at Gates: The Role of Upper-Middle-Class White Interests

7. Focus Teams at Franklin: Problems of Collaboration and Change

8. Restructuring at Franklin: "It's Throw the Rock and Hide Your Hand"

9. Missing Voices: Three Exemplary Teachers

10. Conclusion: Restructuring in Social Context

Methodological Appendix




Explores the intersection of two central issues in American education today: school reform through restructuring and alienation from school of many children of color. A tough look at the impact of teachers' and administrators' beliefs and practices.


Winner of the 1998 American Educational Studies Association Critics' Choice Titles

This book challenges common assumptions about the efficacy of teacher collaboration, empowerment, and professional development to improve the educational experiences of low-achieving African American students without engaging the political and ideological contexts in which reforms take place. Written in a clear, engaging style, the book tells the story of two restructuring junior high schools in a single district, and how teachers' ideologies and race, class, and power contradictions in the schools, school district, and city shaped outcomes. Although the book is a critique of restructuring, powerful portraits of teachers who create culturally responsive and empowering educational experiences demonstrate the potential to reform educational practices and policies for African American students and suggest a direction for transforming schools.

Pauline Lipman is Assistant Professor of Social and Cultural Studies in Education and Human Development at DePaul University.


"Lipman's study is a methodological gem that makes apparent the strengths of an ethnographic approach to research. " — International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education

"This book moves the field beyond the current limitations in perspectives on (and explanations for) African American student achievement and its relationship to teacher empowerment and efficacy. As a teacher educator in the field of multicultural education, I will utilize this book in a foundations course both as an example of the breadth/depth with which teachers need to be aware of the lives of students (and their own cultures as professionals) and as an exemplary study of school restructuring processes and conditions. " — Cynthia B. Dillard, The Ohio State University

"I really enjoyed reading this book. It is a compelling study of the impact teachers' attitudes to race and class have on both pedagogy and responses to educational restructuring. Concepts such as Hargreaves' 'contrived collegiality' really came alive on the page. " — S. J. Ball, King's College, London

"Lipman's two schools are ideally contrastive—same district, same 'alleged' reform initiative, different racial and socio-economic mix of faculty and also of students, and different types of relationships between schools and their parent and local communities. For there to be essentially the same outcomes—change without change—and arguably an actual worsening of the situation of the at-risk students the reform was intended to help is very powerful and makes for compelling reading. The material on the marginalization of the exemplary African American teachers is also thought provoking and important. " — Donna E. Muncey, St. Mary's College of Maryland