Punished for Dreaming: How School Reform Harms Black Children and How We Heal

St. Martin’s. Sept. 2023. 352p. ISBN 9781250280381. $29. ED
Impactful educator Love (We Want To Do More Than Survive) asserts that educational policies punish children of color, especially Black ones, by denying them an equitable public education. Her research shows that by the l980s and l990s, a few powerful business owners and philanthropists in the United States initiated, emphasized, and repeated a false narrative that Black children were lawless, a waste of taxpayers’ money, and a danger to society. The author says that instead of reform, the victory of desegregation in Brown v. Board of Education was unevenly applied and resulted in the job eliminations of more than 38,000 Black teachers and many Black principals. The No Child Left Behind Act, designed to improve math and reading test scores of Black and Brown students, resulted in teachers spending their time teaching tests, but scores didn’t improve. Love says that unless society strongly and persistently demands a large and effective structural change to the educational system, students of color will remain undereducated for the foreseeable future. Yet her book serves as an exceptional roadmap to healing and transformation.
VERDICT For general readers who want to learn about and possibly improve racial problems within the education system.
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