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The Children in Room E4: American Education on Trial Hardcover – 19 Jan 2007

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 395 pages
  • Publisher: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill (19 Jan. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 156512488X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1565124882
  • Product Dimensions: 15.9 x 3.8 x 23.5 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 7,516,536 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 24 reviews
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
A Well-Researched and Compelling Book 11 Feb. 2007
By Meg - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This is an excellent book. It describes the history of segregated schooling in Hartford CT. The book follows the legal case of Sheff vs. O'Neil, the history of social and government programs that led to residential segregation, and the compelling story of a class of inner city schoolchildren (and one bright, charming child in particular) and their dedicated teacher. The treatment of the issue is thorough and nuanced. The failure of government and the courts to meet the needs of these school children is heartbreaking. At the same time the book is hopeful, and demonstrates how integration can easily make a huge difference in the lives of poor children. The book was impressive in its assertion of integration as a moral as well as educational issue.

The stories make the book easy to follow and quite engaging, yet it is filled with solid research. I think this book should be required reading for policy makers and educators at all levels as well as anyone concerned with the future of public education and the type of society we will live in.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
An important book 5 Mar. 2007
By J. Holme - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Through a beautifully constructed narrative, Eaton poses one of the most important educational questions of our time: can we really "fix" urban schools without addressing the underlying historical and social roots of educational failure? A thoughtful book that draws on careful research, rigorous documentation, and graceful story telling, Eaton's book is a must read for anyone who cares about the future of children in urban schools.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
An Eye-Opener 18 April 2007
By M. Bell - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Susan Eaton has produced an exceptional, deeply researched book. It's by no means without an agenda, but it's no Swiftian polemic, something to which a wealth of footnotes and references will attest.

Eaton grabs you by the wrist, pulling you through the torturous folds of the Sheff v O'Neill court case. She forces the ugly machinations of a typical large-city public school system into the fore, giving a vivid account of the harsh inequity of Connecticut schools.

Eaton makes a compelling argument against district boundaries, with their rigid, segregating forces. She tells of an entrenched system of De Facto segregation, arisen over the past fifty years, here to stay--unless, of course, the slumbering giants (our public schools) wake up to their own mistakes. They did in 1954, when Brown forced them. Perhaps they will again.

Every school district board member should keep this book on their desk.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Compelling and Powerful 4 May 2007
By Sara - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Can separate ever be equal? Over and over again, we seem to be coming back to the same question our country has struggled with for decades. Countless court cases later, Susan Eaton describe in heart breaking detail, the inequities in the school lives of the children in room E4- a room found in every urban area in this country today.

Public education continues to fail miserably. Eaton's ability to weave the details of the court ruling and efforts by civil rights attorneys with the every day life in the classroom is stunning. Anyone who cares about education in this country today must read this book. It provides a compelling roadmap of where we've been and where we are headed if something doesn't change.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
A new classic on the state of urban education in the U.S. 25 July 2007
By A. Johnson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book goes beyond simply explaining what the challenges in urban education are -- it shows where they came from. With a detailed history of the Supreme and Federal Court decisions since Brown v. Board of Education, Eaton illustrates how segregated and isolated schooling has been perpetuated and gotten worse in the last 50 years. Her analysis does it in two ways: first, by focusing closely on a high achieving Hartford class of students in their third and fourth grade years (the Micro view) and by showing how the Macro problems -- the legal history -- have enabled the complete ignoring and disempowerment of American cities.

In so doing, Eaton tells the story of Sheff v. O'Neill -- a landmark Connecticut court decision on the vastly segregated and unequal state of schooling in the Hartford area. She explains how the legal team put the case together, the data they collected, their Constitutional interpretations, and their battles to win....

If you are from Connecticut, interested in schooling or in school law, this book is perfect for you.
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