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Media: Looking Back At Boston To Understand The Present

image from cjrarchive.orgI could go on and on but there are two basic reasons to read Columbia University journalism professor Lynnell Hancock's new piece in the Columbia Journalism review about a book that chronicled the Boston integration debacle called Common Ground.  

First and foremost, if you're involved in education now but weren't around then you (or haven't studied the period) you need to know what the people who came before you tried and failed to do -- and how intense and personal it all became.  

We're not there yet, where Boston got to -- and probably won't get anywhere near -- but it's important to understand what happens when you try and change peoples' lives even if you're trying to do it for all the right reasons, and why some of the changes being proposed are so small, relatively speaking.

Second, but no less important, if you're writing about education (or reading lots of what other people write) you would probably do well to remind yourself about what it takes to examine education issues fairly and dispassionately, with nuance and complexity and prepared to have your mind changed. There's far too little of that going on right now, and it's pretty sad to see.

Haven't clicked over yet?  Uncommon ground (CJR). Image via CJR.


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Common Ground is a fantastic book. It was key to my understanding of the struggles for desegregation, which I covered as a reporter in the 1990s and which played out differently around the country depending on the local context. LynNell's review makes me want to reread it, nearly 20 years later, and discover what new insights it would impart against the backdrop of the current school reform climate.

This is a great piece,and as someone who fits into the first group of people, I find all of this information fascinating. I couldn't agree more that we need to learn from the failures of those before us. Thanks for Sharing!

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