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Elusive Justice: Wrestling with Difference and Educational Equity in Everyday Practice


reviewed by Peter Sipe — May 24, 2007

coverTitle: Elusive Justice: Wrestling with Difference and Educational Equity in Everyday Practice
Author(s): Thea Renda Abu El-Haj
Publisher: Routledge, New York
ISBN: 0415953650 , Pages: 256, Year: 2006
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The last three words pledged daily by American boys and girls are cruelly ironic, given the state of education in their country. In May, Education Secretary Margaret Spellings and Massachusetts Senator Edward Kennedy decried a “national epidemic” in which “the dropout rate for African-American, Hispanic, and Native American students approaches 50%” (Spellings, 2007). Actually, flipping a coin offers better odds than those faced by pupils in many cities expecting – or, for those with a working grasp of probability, not expecting – to graduate from high school (Toppo, 2006). America does many things very well, but competently educating all of its children is not among them. This injustice drives Thea Renda Abu El-Haj, a professor at Rutgers Graduate School of Education and a self-described “anthropologist of education” (p. 3), to explore how schools try to achieve justice. The result, a pair of “ethnographic portraits” (p. 67) of two dissimilar urban schools,... (preview truncated at 150 words.)


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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record, Date Published: May 24, 2007
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 14498, Date Accessed: 10/21/2017 2:41:40 AM

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About the Author
  • Peter Sipe
    Williamsburg Collegiate Charter School
    E-mail Author
    PETER SIPE teaches reading and writing at Williamsburg Collegiate Charter School in Brooklyn. Previously, he taught in elementary and middle schools in Albany, Brooklyn, and Seattle. Before becoming a teacher, Peter worked on public health projects in West Africa and Haiti, and also served with the United Nations in Rwanda. A graduate of the New York City Teaching Fellows program, he also has a BA and MA in International Studies from the Johns Hopkins University, and is author of Newjack: Teaching in a Failing Middle School and Why Do Fellows Stick Around? An Inquiry into the Retention of New York City Teaching Fellows.
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