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

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Oxford University Press, USA, Sep 29, 2011 - Education - 316 pages
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The persistent failure of public schooling in low-income communities constitutes one of our nation's most pressing civil rights and social justice issues. Many school reformers recognize that poverty, racism, and a lack of power held by these communities undermine children's education and development, but few know what to do about it. A Match on Dry Grass argues that community organizing represents a fresh and promising approach to school reform as part of a broader agenda to build power for low-income communities and address the profound social inequalities that affect the education of children. Based on a comprehensive national study, the book presents rich and compelling case studies of prominent organizing efforts in Chicago, New York City, Los Angeles, Denver, San Jose, and the Mississippi Delta. The authors show how organizing groups build the participation and leadership of parents and students so they can become powerful actors in school improvement efforts. They also identify promising ways to overcome divisions and create the collaborations between educators and community residents required for deep and sustainable school reform. Identifying the key processes that create strong connections between schools and communities, Warren, Mapp, and their collaborators show how community organizing builds powerful relationships that lead to the transformational change necessary to advance educational equity and a robust democracy.
 

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Contents

A New Movement for Equity and Justice in Education
3
1 How Community Organizing Works
14
Organizing for Great Schools in San Jose
33
Building Relational Cultures for Educational Reform and Civic Engagement in Los Angeles
66
Political Education and the Continuation of the Struggle in Denver
99
The Transformation of Education in the Mississippi Delta
134
Building Powerful Forms of Parent Participation in Chicago
168
Building Schools and Communities in New York City
197
8 Building Power and Relationships to Transform Communities and Schools
227
Lessons for School Reform and Democracy Building
249
A Collaborative Research Process
269
Notes
277
References
291
Index
303
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About the author (2011)


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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