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Political EducationBlack Politics and Education Reform in Chicago since the 1960s$
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Elizabeth Todd-Breland

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781469646589

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469646589.001.0001

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(p.219) Epilogue
Political Education

Elizabeth Todd-Breland

University of North Carolina Press

The epilogue considers the enduring challenges in public education and racial politics and the dynamic new cohort of organizers proposing alternative visions of educational, economic, and racial equity and justice. Both contemporary proponents and opponents of “school choice” policies have used language and practices that echo Black education reformers of the past to frame their arguments. Social justice-oriented ideas of self-determination and localism generated within a different political context have been repurposed in service of the corporate reorganization of the public sphere. Beginning in the mid-1990s, Chicago mayor Richard M. Daley, followed in the 2010s by mayor Rahm Emanuel, ushered in corporate education reforms and “school choice” plans that expanded charter schools and “turned around” or closed more than 150 public schools. The embrace of neoliberal education reform policies locally and nationally has been a bipartisan affair, with Democratic administrations, including the Obama administration, also proposing policies based on market principles. These policies have disproportionately impacted Black, students, teachers, and communities. While Chicago has produced many of these policies, the city also produced strident resistance movements against austerity policies, led by Karen Lewis and the Chicago Teachers Union, young organizers, the Black Lives Matter movement, and older community organizations.

Keywords:   neoliberalism, Chicago Teachers Union, Karen Lewis, Black Lives Matter, school choice, school closings, Black teachers, Richard M. Daley, Rahm Emmanuel, Barack Obama

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