Learning in Public: Lessons for a Racially Divided America from My Daughter’s School

Courtney E. Martin. Little, Brown, $28 ISBN 978-0-316-42826-2
Journalist Martin (Do It Anyway) delivers a remarkably candid and perceptive account of her decision to enroll her daughter in a majority Black public school in Oakland, Calif. With a “1 out of 10 rating” on GreatSchools.org, Emerson Elementary was not on the radar of other white parents in Martin’s racially diverse, gentrifying neighborhood. Yet, on Martin’s school tours, which included a private school whose social justice mission was belied by its carefully selected student body, Emerson stood out for its authenticity. In brisk, immersive chapters, Martin chronicles how she and her husband came to make their decision and her daughter’s first three years at Emerson, and delves into conflicting viewpoints over school integration and the best ways to measure school performance, tensions between Emerson’s Black immigrant and Black American families, and the role of public education in fostering democracy, among other topics. Ultimately, her family came to embrace Emerson, “a school with strong muscles for crises” that showed its resilience by coping better with the Covid-19 pandemic than more highly rated public schools. Vividly documenting school fund-raisers, contentious school board meetings, school drop offs, and back-to-school nights, Martin challenges preconceptions about American education and race relations today. Readers will be inspired and enlightened. Agent: Kari Stuart, ICM Partners. (Aug.)
Reviewed on : 06/08/2021
Release date: 08/03/2021
Genre: Nonfiction
Pre-Recorded Audio Player - 978-1-6686-0216-4
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