Community participation plays a large role in the success or failure of our public schools. This book focuses attention on the problem of inequality in public engagement, considering how race, class, ethnicity, language, and immigration status shape opportunities for engagement. Without the active participation of the public, chances for improving school systems are limited. Without equal opportunity for public engagement, those in the lower reaches of stratified society are left largely on the outside looking in—and that all too easily becomes a self-perpetuating cycle.
Public Engagement for Public Education speaks to the potential for students, parents, community members, and civic leaders to join forces and create more equitable schooling. Such engagement can expand access to quality educational pathways which in turn paves the way to a stronger voice in society and the promise of the American dream. If segments of society are blocked access to those pathways, the book argues, nothing less than the health of American democracy is at stake.
About the authors
Marion Orr is the Frederick Lippitt Professor of Public Policy and Political Science and the Director of the A. Alfred Taubman Center for Public Policy at Brown University.
John Rogers is Associate Professor of Education and the Director of the Institute for Democracy, Education, and Access (IDEA) at the University of California, Los Angeles.
"Public Engagement for Public Education adds energy and real-world detail to the national conversation on what we mean by the 'public' in public education. It counters the often unspoken individualism underpinning many education reform proposals and effectively addresses long-standing, persistent, and powerful inequalities in American education."
—Scott F. Abernathy, University of Minnesota
"This book adds critical insight on the ways parents and community members can and must work together to demand schools that provide a quality education for every child."
—Marian Wright Edelman, President, Children's Defense Fund
"This book brings a needed spotlight to the vital topic of public engagement and school improvement. Marion Orr and John Rogers have brought together a sterling collection by a sterling group of contributors. They provide a close examination of the problem of unequal voice and how to think about the possibilities of change."
—Clarence Stone, George Washington University
"This thoughtful work broadens and deepens the conversation on family and community involvement in schools. It extends the discussion to the macro-level to explore how such engagement can influence policy and the equitable allocation of resources. No other book addresses public engagement in education as successfully."
—Mavis G. Sanders, Johns Hopkins University