Review: Cutting School: Privatization, Segregation, and the End of Public Education

Cutting School: Privatization, Segregation, and the End of Public Education Cutting School: Privatization, Segregation, and the End of Public Education by Noliwe Rooks
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book, in many ways, does the critical work for K-12 education that Michelle Alexander does for the criminal justice system. Rooks traces the history of "school choice" to its origins in the rise of segregation and shows how the United States has a consistent history of taking public dollars away from educational spaces where marginalized folks could benefit to spend on public schools of white students or in the case of school-choice, into the pockets of private entities. Some of her best work is illustrating the depths to which African Americans were denied public education throughout the late 1800s and early 1900s, to the point that despite often having little wealth, African American communities would be the economic base to fund the creation of schools. In that way, Rooks' work reminds the reader of the long history of investment and determination in spite of outright legal and economic exploitation that African Americans faced well after slavery. From there, Rook illustrations how school choice has in recent decades still resonated with structural racism, draining cities of resources with often little to show for it besides more distressed communities and wealthier private interests. If you have any stake in education, this is a necessary read to understand that we are continually moving towards a privatized education system that will increasingly perpetuate racial inequality.

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