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Segregated schools achieve their racist purpose by building a wall between poor black and brown children and those of us with privilege, influence, and power. It does not matter that this wall is not built pursuant to the mandate of law or that it is created by the cumulative effect of our private choices. It is segregation nonetheless and it encourages us to hoard our wealth on one side of the wall while children on the other side are left with little. The genius of segregation as a tool of oppression is in the signal it sends to the oppressor - that our hoarding of resources is O.K., and in the lesson it teaches - that there is no need for sharing, no moral requirement for empathy and care. This afternoon I return to this theme in a different, while related, context through an examination of the No Child Left Behind Act (Act or NCLB). I will argue that, while the Act's stated goals are laudable, its conception, implementation, and the social meaning revealed by the discourse and rhetoric it has spawned, perpetuate and exacerbate the injuries inflicted upon poor black and brown children by segregation, racism, and poverty.

Publication Citation

39 Suffolk U. L. Rev. 699-718 (2006)

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Education Law Commons