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

Macmillan Audio. Sept. 2023. 11:40 hrs. ISBN 9781250902320. $26.99. SOC SCI
Love (William F. Russell Professor of education at Columbia University and cofounder of the Abolitionist Teaching Network) builds upon her previous book, We Want To Do More Than Survive, in this work offering a searing critique of an educational system that has failed Black children. Love reads her book’s incisive introduction, while Karen Chilton serves as the primary narrator for the rest of the work. Love outlines how new education policies, from Nixon’s presidency to Clinton’s, were implemented alongside what came to be known as the War on Drugs. She asserts that these policies punished schools and Black students while lining the pockets of private investors. Chilton smoothly describes how efforts to improve the educational landscape through charter schools and school vouchers end up shafting public schools; meanwhile, standardized testing labeled Black children as low-performing. Love’s narrative stresses the importance of creating inclusive and empowering systems, educational and otherwise, designed to “honor different cultures and traditions with love and admiration.”
VERDICT This compellingly narrated account of unjust and racist educational policies sounds a clarion call for economic restitution and educational reform. A must-listen for those seeking knowledge of educational history and hoping for a more equitable future.
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