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ERIC Number: EJ946410
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Oct-1
Pages: N/A
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0146-5945
Income Integration at School
Wax, Amy L.
Policy Review, n169 Oct 2011
James Ryan, a prominent and learned law professor at the University of Virginia (and a former colleague of the author), has produced a scholarly, well-written, and exhaustively researched book on education policy, "Five Miles Away, A World Apart" (Oxford). This article presents the author's critique on Ryan's book. The author argues that the book is fatally flawed. She contends that the problem is that Ryan ignores reality. A clearer example of "educational romanticism"--to use Charles Murray's evocative phrase--would be hard to imagine. Ryan asserts that "the continued separation of urban and suburban students has been the most dominant and important theme in education law and policy for the last fifty years.' Because demography tracks geography, that division translates into schools stratified by income, class, and race. Ryan sees this pattern as a formula for inequality. His goal is income integration: to educate "rich and poor students alike, equally and together in the same schools." Because racial minorities--and especially blacks--are disproportionately low-income, income integration will increase racial diversity as well. Here, the author points out that Ryan's goal does not originate with him, as class mixing has been championed by reformers for some time as a rearguard action against the failure of racial integration. Although Ryan claims that integrating schools by income will "prepare students to be better citizens," he devotes far more attention to a more pragmatic goal: improving educational outcomes for disadvantaged children by placing them among more affluent peers. The bottom line is that income integration is more zero-sum than win-win.
Hoover Institution, Stanford University. 21 Dupont Circle NW Suite 310, Washington, DC 20036. Tel: 877-558-3727; Tel: 202-466-6730; Fax: 202-466-6733; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: High Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Virginia