'Not Paved for Us' chronicles a fifty-year period in Philadelphia education, and offers a critical look at how school reform efforts do and do not transform outcomes for Black students and educators. In a bracing critique, urban education scholar Camika Royal bears witness to the ways in which positive public school reform has been obstructed: through racism and racial capitalism, but also via liberal ideals, neoliberal practices, and austerity tactics. Royal shows how, despite the well-intended actions of larger entities, the weight of school reform, here as in other large urban districts, has been borne by educators striving to meet the extensive needs of their students, families, and communities with only the slightest material, financial, and human resources. She draws on the experiences of Black educators and community members and documents their contributions.
'Not Paved for Us' highlights the experiences of Black educators as they navigate the racial and cultural politics of urban school reform. Ultimately, Royal names, dissects, and challenges the presence of racism in school reform policies and practices while calling for an antiracist future.
Camika Royal is the associate professor of Urban Education at Loyola University Maryland.
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