Harvard Educational Review
  1. Summer 2002 Issue »

    The Economy of Literacy

    How the Supreme Court Stalled the Civil Rights Movement

    Catherine Prendergast
    According to critical race theorists, legal rights in this country have been compromised by the recognition of White identity as having property value. In this article, drawing on these analyses as well as the observations of literacy scholars questioning the outcomes of literacy and education, Catherine Prendergast argues that the designation of literacy and education as "rights" is more rhetorical than real. Prendergast pays close attention to the arguments and court proceedings of three U.S. Supreme Court cases in which the value of literacy and the reality of racial discrimination have both been contested. Through an analysis of these landmark cases - Brown v. Board of Education, Washington v. Davis, and Regents of the University of California v. Bakke - the author deconstructs "the lofty prose equating education with equal opportunity" to uncover the ideologies of literacy that informed these cases. According to Prendergast, "this rhetoric has laid the foundation for the recent legal challenges to affirmative action." She concludes by suggesting that these crucial court decisions have stalled the civil rights movement by perpetuating the economy of literacy as White property. (pp. 206-229)

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    Summer 2002 Issue


    What Do We Know (and Need to Know) about the Impact of School Choice Reforms on Disadvantaged Students?
    Dan D. Goldhaber and Eric R. Eide
    Buying Homes, Buying Schools
    School Choice and the Social Construction of School Quality
    Jennifer Jellison Holme
    The Economy of Literacy
    How the Supreme Court Stalled the Civil Rights Movement
    Catherine Prendergast
    Seeing Student Learning
    Teacher Change and the Role of Reflection
    Carol R. Rodgers

    Book Notes

    Pregnant with Meaning
    By Deirdre M. Kelly

    Edited by Marcelo M. Suárez-Orozco and Mariela M. Páez

    Arts with the Brain in Mind
    By Eric Jensen

    Bodily Discourses
    By Michelle Payne

    Young Children Learning at Home and School
    Edited by David K. Dickinson and Patton O. Tabors

    Renaissance in the Classroom
    Edited by Gail Burnaford, Arnold Aprill, and Cynthia Weiss

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