Cover

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Front Matter

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Contents

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Acknowledgments

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pp. vii-x

Over the years, my students at the University of California at Berkeley and at Brooklyn College of the City University of New York have provided me with daily inspiring reminders of young people’s thirst for new knowledge. These reminders have shaped the commitment to a universal quality public education voiced in these pages. My special ...

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Introduction

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pp. 1-30

In 2003, Jorman Nu

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1. Culture Trap: Talking about Young People of Color and Their Education

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pp. 31-68

During the spring of 2006, Harvard sociologist Orlando Patterson took to the pages of the New York Times to decry the conditions of low academic achievement, persistent poverty, and violence plaguing Black communities. “The tragedy unfolding in our inner cities is a time-slice of a deep historical process that runs far back through the cataracts ...

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2. “I Hate It When People Treat Me Like a Fxxx-up”: Phony Theories, Segregated Schools, and the Culture of Aspiration among African American and Latino Teenagers

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pp. 69-112

A hailstorm hit South Central today, the national news reported. Hail in November in South L.A., a place that exists in the popular imagination as the stifling hot setting for two riots, gang violence, drive-by shootings, and West Coast hip-hop. Broadcast across the country, there was little mention that the weather anomaly had left tens of thousands of African ...

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3. “They Ain’t Hiring Kids from My Neighborhood”: Young Men of Color Negotiating Poor Public Schools and Poor Work Options in New York City

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pp. 113-142

One afternoon as I sit on a crowded subway car en route to the campus of Eastern University, my fieldwork site,1 the chatter of passengers is suddenly drowned by the amplified voices of two men. “Ladies and gentlemen, we are here to entertain you. If you enjoy our performance, we ask that you give what you can. It would be greatly appreciated.” Two ...

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4. “Where Youth Have an Actual Voice”: Teenagers as Empowered Stakeholders in School Reform

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pp. 143-176

When Hector was a freshman in high school, he did not always study as hard as he could. At the urging of a friend, though, he joined Sistas and Brothas United (SBU) and began to work with them regularly after school. SBU is a youth organizing group that works to improve conditions at schools around the South and Northwest Bronx. ...

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Conclusion

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pp. 177-214

Barbara, an African American junior, attended a school that enrolled no white students and contained twice as many children as it was built to hold. Classes sometimes took place in the school auditorium and other makeshift spaces. The district’s only concession was to erect tarpaper shacks to hold the extra students that often were very cold. The school ...

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Methodological Appendix: Listening to Young People

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pp. 215-232

In the introduction to this volume, Celina Su recounts how at a 2006 meeting of the New York City Department of Education a young woman affiliated with the Urban Youth Collaborative implored the gathered officials: “Please. You keep staring at your piece of paper and referring to questionable ‘data.’ Please look up and listen to us. We’re sitting in ...

Notes

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pp. 233-274

Index

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pp. 275-285

About the Authors

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pp. 287-287