Inequality in the Promised Land
Race, Resources, and Suburban Schooling
R. L’Heureux Lewis-McCoy
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Nestled in neighborhoods of varying degrees of affluence, suburban public schools are typically better resourced than their inner-city peers and known for their extracurricular offerings and college preparatory programs. Despite the glowing opportunities that many families associate with suburban schooling, accessing a district's resources is not always straightforward, particularly for black and poorer families. Moving beyond class- and race-based explanations, Inequality in the Promised Land focuses on the everyday interactions between parents, students, teachers, and school administrators in order to understand why resources seldom trickle down to a district's racial and economic minorities. Rolling Acres Public Schools (RAPS) is one of the many well-appointed suburban school districts across the United States that has become increasingly racially and economically diverse over the last forty years. Expanding on Charles Tilly's model of relational analysis and drawing on 100 in-depth interviews as well participant observation and archival research, R. L'Heureux Lewis-McCoy examines the pathways of resources in RAPS. He discovers that—due to structural factors, social and class positions, and past experiences—resources are not valued equally among families and, even when deemed valuable, financial factors and issues of opportunity hoarding often prevent certain RAPS families from accessing that resource. In addition to its fresh and incisive insights into educational inequality, this groundbreaking book also presents valuable policy-orientated solutions for administrators, teachers, activists, and politicians.