The Elusive Ideal: Equal Educational Opportunity and the Federal Role in Boston's Public Schools, 1950-1985

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Journal Article

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Every once in a while, a book comes along that not only makes a significant contribution to a body of literature but also enlarges the playing field on which future discussions of the issue will take place. Such is the import of Adam R. Nelson's recently released, timely study. When one thinks of Boston and the struggle for equal educational opportunity, hot-tempered public protests to forced busing for the purpose of desegregation usually are the first images that come to mind. Nelson expands the discourse on equal educational opportunity by integrating the struggle to eliminate racial segregation in public schools with the histories of federal educational policies in other areas, such as special education, bilingual education, and standardized testing. These issues are often treated separately by scholars as parallel histories, but Nelson weaves them together to create one compelling narrative. In addition, much of the literature understandably assigns a central...


Civil Rights, Education


Political Science


The University of Chicago Press