Wendy Parker

90 Texas L. Rev. 395

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Professor Parker reviews Five Miles Away, A World Apart by Professor James E. Ryan.  That book examines the persistence of de facto segregation in modern American schools. In this review, Parker summarizes the problems with current education policy that Ryan identifies.  Specifically, she observes how policy makers have taken a “save the city, spare the suburbs” approach to educational reform which has resulted in widening racial and economic disparities between urban and suburban schools. Though Parker recognizes that these policies have harmed urban educational outcomes, she is critical of Ryan’s proposed reform, which calls for implementing a parental-choice voucher system in less affluent school districts. Parker argues that Ryan’s proposal shifts too much responsibility for reintegration to parents and assumes that most parents will have the forethought to value the common good when making decisions about education. Though Parker lauds Ryan’s proposal as “compelling,” her review provides a measure of balanced skepticism against Ryan’s proposal.