The Complex Web of Inequality in North American Schools analyzes and challenges the critical gaps and inequalities that persist in the American school system. Showing how historical biases have been inherited in current polices relating to non-dominant youth, the text calls for educational reforms that perform in the name of social justice.

This edited collection carefully interrogates how technocratic educational policies and reforms are often unequipped to address the interplay of political, social, economic, ideological factors that are at the roots of educational injustice. Considering the most vulnerable student populations, original case studies explore how inadequate structures, practices, and beliefs have increased marginalization, and highlight those instances in which policy has proved effective in reducing opportunity gaps between economically rich and poor students; between white, Asian, Black and Latino youth; between native English speakers and second language learners; highlighting racial integration and unequal American Indian education; and for students with special educational needs. The insights into such policies shed light on the complex web of historically embedded inequities that continue to shape the construction, roll-out, and consequences of education policy for the most marginalized youth populations today.

This volume will be of interest to graduate, and postgraduate students, researchers and academics in the fields of education policy, sociology of education, economics of education, and history of education, and well as policy evaluation.

chapter 1|19 pages

Ambitious Imaginations and Education Policy

Swimming Upstream and Unsettling Neoliberal Enclosures

part I|75 pages

“False Choices”

chapter 2|23 pages

How Long Do We Have to Wait?

Examining School Choice, Selective Enrollment Schools, and the Reproduction of Racial Inequality in a Southern Community

chapter 3|16 pages

Education for What and Whom?

The Paradoxical Nature of an Upward Bound Program

chapter 4|14 pages

Turnaround, Mayoral Control, Minoritized Communities, and Dirty Water

School Reform in an Urban District in Connecticut

chapter 5|20 pages

The Influence of School Turnaround Leadership 1

An American Indian School District Case Study

part II|74 pages

Technical Solutions for Justice Issues

chapter 6|22 pages


Youth Peer Culture During a School Racial/Ethnic Integration Reform 1

chapter 7|18 pages

Unfinished Bridges Over the Digital Divide

Engagement and Equity in 1:1 Technology 1

chapter 9|17 pages

When Achievement Gaps Are Acceptable

School-Level Data Practices and Subgroup Accountability Pressure in Economically and Racially Segregated Schools

part III|56 pages

The Legacy and Futures of Special Education

chapter 10|16 pages

The Individuals With Disabilities Education Act

The Further Marginalization of Racially and Ethnically Diverse Students for More Than 40 Years

chapter 11|13 pages

Civil Rights Remedies and Persistent Inequities

The Case of Racial Disproportionality in Special Education

chapter 12|16 pages

“PAAP Season”

A New Rationale for Segregating Students With Significant Cognitive Disabilities

chapter 13|9 pages

Theories From Below

Imagining Policy Making and Policy Analysis Beyond “Achievement” Paradigms