Review Of "Forced To Fail: The Paradox Of School Desegregation" By S.J. Caldas And C.L. Bankston

Document Type

Book Review

Publication Date


Published In

Teachers College Record


The central argument of this book is that school desegregation has failed—not because of flawed implementation, but because court-ordered school desegregation inherently violates American values of individual choice and local control. The authors describe the federal government’s attempts to redistribute students on the basis of race, through legislative and especially court decisions, as a misguided attempt to use schools to redesign American society. This attempt has been undermined by middle-class, mostly white families, who moved out of districts facing court-ordered desegregation, fearing its effects on their children’s education. The authors claim that historical changes in the definition of civil rights—from government protection of individual rights to protection of group rights—have led to heavy-handed, counterproductive government interference in public education. They propose that applying market principles and allowing families to choose schools will better serve students and communities and improve educational outcomes. Caldas and Bankston agree that Brown was a moral... (preview truncated at 150 words.)

This document is currently not available here.