Building a Political Constituency for Urban School Reform

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Building a Political Constituency for Urban School Reform

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Title: Building a Political Constituency for Urban School Reform
Author: Warren, Mark Russell
Citation: Warren, Mark. 2011. Building a political constituency for urban school reform. Urban Education 46, no. 3:484-512.
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Abstract: In this article, I argue that urban school reform falters, in part, because of the lack of an organized political constituency among the stakeholders with the most direct interest in school improvement, that is, parents whose children attend urban schools. I examine community organizing as a potential strategy to build such a constituency. Drawing primarily upon extensive fieldwork research, I construct a case study of one of the country’s largest community organizing networks, the Texas Industrial Areas Foundation. I analyze the network’s Alliance Schools initiative to promote school reform in one hundred and twenty public schools in districts across the state. I find that organizing efforts like the IAF, despite important limitations, are beginning to create an external force for change in district policy as well as to collaborate internally with educators to produce change in the practice of education within schools.
Published Version: doi:10.1177/0042085910377441
Terms of Use: This article is made available under the terms and conditions applicable to Other Posted Material, as set forth at
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