Glossary of Terms

What to do If the School says NO Tour

Some questions to ask every school you are considering!


New to thinking about school integration?    Start here!

This American Life podcast “The Problem We All Live With Part 1” and “The Problem We All Live With Part 2.”

Listen to both episodes. Then listen again.

Hannah-Jones, Nikole (2016) “Choosing a School for My Daughter in a Segregated City: How one school became a battleground over which children benefit from a separate and unequal system” NYTimes

An essential read by the Beyoncé of school segregation journalism and MacArthur Genius Award Winner, Nikole Hannah-Jones.  But anything by NHJ is worth your time! Youtube also has a whole host of interviews, etc., with NHJ – just search her name.

Wells, Amy Stuart, Lauren Fox & Diana Cordova (2016) How Racially Diverse Schools and Classrooms Can Benefit All Students, The Century Foundation

A long report, rich with data. Outlines the decades of research on school integration, including the benefits for white/privileged students.

McKenna, Laura (2016) How Rich Parents Can Exacerbate School Inequality:Fundraising efforts often give their kids an academic edge. The Atlantic, Jan 28.

While this article doesn’t speak directly to school integration, it is outlines some of the many ways that privileged/White families contribute to deep inequities in our public school system.

Oliver, John (2016) This Week with John Oliver on School Segregation. October 30.

Because it’s good.  And yes, quite funny in that John Oliver way

Mickelson, Roslyn (2016) School Integration and K-12 Outcomes: An Updated Quick Synthesis of the Social Science Evidence, National Coalition on School Diversity Research Brief #5.

Siegel-Hawley, Genevieve (2012) How Non-Minority Students Also Benefit from Racially Diverse Schools, National Coalition on School Diversity Research Brief #8.

Schneider, Jack (2017) Beyond Test Scores: A Better Way to Measure School Quality  

When it comes to sizing up public schools, test scores are the go-to metric of state policy makers and anxious parents looking to place their children in the “best” schools. Yet ample research indicates that standardized tests are a poor way to measure a school’s performance. Also, check out this Have You Heard Podcast (a great resource overall!) discussion with author (2017) The Mismeasure of Schools: Data, Real Estate, and Segregation

Rooks, Noliwe (2017) Cutting School: Privatization, Segregation, and the End of Public Education

American studies professor Rooks provides a trenchant analysis of our separate and unequal schools and argues that profiting from our nation’s failure to provide a high-quality education to all children has become a very big business.

Hagerman, Margaret (2018) White Kids: Growing Up with Privilege in a Racially Divided America.

“White Kids, based on two years of research involving in-depth interviews with white kids and their families, is a clear-eyed and sometimes shocking account of how white kids learn about race… By observing families in their everyday lives, this book explores the extent to which white families, even those with anti-racist intentions, reproduce and reinforce the forms of inequality they say they reject.”

Wall, Patrick (2017) The Privilege of School Choice: When given the chance, will wealthy parents ever choose to desegregate schools?.  The Atlantic, April 25.

A bald look at rezoning fights in NYC. While the details might be particular to the Big Apple, the underlying narratives are all too familiar across the US.

Opting IN to an integrated/ing school? Read these now!:

Posey-Maddox, Linn (2014) When Middle-Class Parents Choose Urban Schools: Class, Race, and the Challenge of Equity in Public Education

When middle-class parents engage in urban school communities, they can bring a host of positive benefits, including new educational opportunities and greater diversity. But their involvement can also unintentionally marginalize less-affluent parents and diminish low-income students’ access to the improving schools. Posey-Maddox argues that such efforts, which usually equate improvement with rising test scores and increased enrollment, need to have more equity-focused policies to ensure that low-income families also benefit from—and participate in—school change.

Cucchiara, Maia Bloomfield and Erin McNamara Horvat (2009) “Perils and Promises: Middle-Class Parental Involvement in Urban Schools

This academic article shows how middle-class parents can bring resources to urban schools and be catalysts for change. However, the relationship between parental involvement and widespread benefit was mediated by parents’ own goals and perspectives as well as by the larger social context. A collective orientation (rather than individualistic) is more sustainable and has greater potential for benefiting all children in the school.

Lewis, Amanda & John Diamond (2015) Despite the Best Intentions: How Racial Inequality Thrives in Good Schools 

Diamond and Lewis situate their research in a suburban school, and look at what factors within the school itself could be causing academic disparities. Most crucially, they challenge many common explanations of the ‘racial achievement gap,’ exploring what race actually means in this situation, and why it matters.  This book also includes important discussion of opportunity hoarding practices by white/privileged parents.

Okun, Tema white supremacy culture,

There are many books and resources about understanding whiteness and privilege; read as many as you can!  However, this short, bullet-pointy article offers a sharp overview of the characteristics of white supremacy culture.  NOT replicated white supremacy culture in your child’s school is critical to building deep and lasting equity, inclusion and integration.

Tatum, Beverly Daniel (1997/2017) Why are all the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria.

Is self-segregation a problem to address or a coping strategy? Tatum, a renowned authority on the psychology of racism, argues that straight talk about our racial identities is essential if we are serious about enabling communication across racial and ethnic divides.  A classic, essential read.



Some excellent histories you won’t want to miss:

Erikson, Ansley (2016) Making the Unequal Metropolis: School Desegregation and Its Limits

This is very long and detailed and beautiful and disturbing look at Nashville Tennessee’s history of redlining and segregation. Also, check out this video of Dr. Erickson discussing her book (56min).


Delmont, Matt (2016) Why Busing Failed: Race, Media, and the National Resistance to School Desegregation 

“This groundbreaking book shows how school officials, politicians, the courts, and the media gave precedence to the desires of white parents who opposed school desegregation over the civil rights of black students.Why Busing Failed shows how antibusing parents and politicians ultimately succeeded in preventing full public school desegregation”


Ryan, James (2010) Five Miles Away, A World Apart: One City, Two Schools, and the Story of Educational Opportunity in Modern America.

“Tracing the fortunes of two schools in Richmond, Virginia–one in the city and the other in the suburbs. Ryan shows how court rulings in the 1970s, limiting the scope of desegregation, laid the groundwork for the sharp disparities between urban and suburban public schools that persist to this day. The Supreme Court, in accord with the wishes of the Nixon administration, allowed the suburbs to lock nonresidents out of their school systems. City schools, whose student bodies were becoming increasingly poor and black, simply received more funding, a measure that has proven largely ineffective, while the independence (and superiority) of suburban schools remained sacrosanct. Ryan explains why all the major education reforms since the 1970s have failed to bridge the gap between urban and suburban schools and have unintentionally entrenched segregation by race and class. As long as that segregation continues, Ryan forcefully argues, so too will educational inequality.”


On Gifted/Talented

Roda, Allison (2015) Inequality in Gifted and Talented Programs: Parental Choices about Status, School Opportunity, and Second-Generation Segregation(Palgrave Studies in Urban Education

 This book is rather expensive… here is an interview with Dr. Roda


Frontline film (2014) Separate and Unequal (running time 27: 14)

Freidus, Alexandra (2016) “A Great School Benefits Us All: Advantaged Parents and the Gentrification of an Urban Public School”

Middle-class, professional, and White families in gentrifying cities are increasingly choosing neighborhood public schools. … [yet] as they worked to make their local public school “great,” advantaged parents performed the role of careful investors, defined themselves as the source of the school’s potential value, and marginalized low-income families and families of color. These findings raise important questions about educational equity for both educational researchers and urban school and district leaders.


Jean, Daniel (2016) Public School Integration is now Public School Gentrification. YoPhilly.

super short opinion piece.