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Learning Power

Organizing for Education and Justice (John Dewey Lecture)

Jeannie Oakes, John Rogers


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In cities across the nation, low-income African American and Latino parents hope that their children's education will bring a better life. But their schools, typically, are overcrowded, ill equipped, and shamefully under-staffed. Unless things change dramatically, more than half the students will never graduate and many will face a life of poverty-wage work. Learning Power documents a radical approach to school reform that includes:

  • Grassroots public activism informed by social inquiry as the best way to realize Brown v. Board of Education's promise of "education on equal terms."
  • Activist young people, teachers, parents, and community organizations working to improve schools in our nation's poorest neighborhoods.
  • The voices, images, and actions of people who are organizing to fight for better schools.
  • A comprehensive critique of the prevailing logic of American schooling and an alternative logic based on justice and participatory democracy.

Here are the best arguments against those who want to give up on public schools in America. Read Learning Power for clear examples of how ordinary people can influence schooling through their organizing and social critique.

Teachers College Press, 9780807747025, 205pp.

Publication Date: April 24, 2006

About the Author

Jeannie Oakes is Presidential Professor in Educational Equity and Director of UCLA's Institute for Democracy, Education, and Access (IDEA). John Rogers is the Associate Director of IDEA and the founding editor of Teaching to Change LA, an online journal. Martin Lipton is Communications Analyst at IDEA and a former public high school teacher.