A Match on Dry Grass Community Organizing as a Catalyst for School Reform

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2011-10-03
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press

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The persistent failure of public schools in low-income neighborhoods, where fully half of the black and Latino students fail to graduate with their peers, has vexed educators for decades. Many people now see these problems as structural and tied to a lack of power held by impoverished communities, but few school reformers know what to do about it. Their strategies for improvement remain largely focused within the four walls of the school. To forge better connections between schools and communities,A Match on Dry Grassargues that community organizing represents a fresh approach to address educational failure. Based on a comprehensive national study, the book presents richly detailed case studies of six prominent efforts in Chicago, New York City, Los Angeles, Denver, San Jose and the Mississippi Delta to illustrate how organizing groups work to build the participation and leadership of parents and students so they can hold school systems accountable for real improvements. Organizing groups do not just demand change, however, they also collaborate with educators, parents, students, and other residents to take part in the change efforts. Out of the case studies, Warren, Mapp, and their collaborators identify the central processes common to all organizing efforts for school reform to show scholars and educators how community organizing really works and what it means to build meaningful collaborations. Hundreds of such organizing efforts have emerged in recent decades andA Match on Dry Grassexplains the principles of thisimportant new movement for educational justice and the steps that make it work.

Author Biography

Mark R. Warren is Associate Professor at Harvard University, and author of Fire in the Heart and Dry Bones Rattling.

Karen L. Mapp is Lecturer in Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and author of Beyond the Bake Sale.

The Community Organizing and School Reform Project at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, led by Mark R. Warren and Karen L. Mapp, consists of Keith Catone, Roy Cervantes, Connie K. Chung, Cynthia Gordon, Soo Hong, Ann Ishimaru, Paul Kuttner, Meredith Mira, Thomas Nikundiwe, Soojin Oh, Kenneth Russell, Amanda Taylor, Mara Tieken, Anita Wadhwa, and Helen Westmoreland.

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