This is a fascinating, and disturbing, story of an urban high school's struggle to survive in the post-integration era of educational reform.
Thomas Jefferson High School faced court-ordered busing, student unrest, white flight, district-sponsored alternative schools, high school consolidation, budget crises, closure threats, magnet programs, and co-existence with a Governor's School. Each event impacted the culture of academic excellence that had been painstakingly crafted during the school's first thirty years. This book offers a history of Tee-Jay from its inception in 1930 through its "glory days," covers the school's efforts to deal with the challenges of the post-integration era, and concludes with a discussion of what the Tee-Jay story can tell us about the future of academic high schools and integration in the urban areas of the United States.
Daniel L. Duke is Professor of Education in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at the University of Virginia. He graduated from Thomas Jefferson High School in 1965, the first year the school graduated a black student. Subsequently, he taught high school history and served as a high school administrator.
"Daniel Duke describes the rich history of Thomas Jefferson (Tee-Jay) High School in Richmond, VA with great attention to detail and passion. It is easy to visualize the teachers Duke describes, the manner in which the school is conducted, and the challenges it faces. Duke tells a very personal story and relates it to the larger picture of what is happening in education generally, and in urban education, specifically. He captures an accurate picture of what is happening in metropolitan areas and places it within a historical context. Facility decay, loss of academic focus, and the challenges of racial integration loom large. He helps us understand the challenges of most urban areas, but in a very subtle, yet powerful way.
"Dr. Duke's very scholarly analysis of the history of Tee-Jay reminds us that, as we rush headlong into school restructuring and systemic change of school organization, we cannot ignore the history and traditions of each individual school in the process. Clearly the current wave of reform is at the school level; therefore, we must understand each school as a unique organization. " -- William D. Silky, State University of New York at Oswego