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The Education of a White Parent: Wrestling with Race and Opportunity in the Boston Public Schools

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Soon after enrolling her older son in a Boston public elementary school, Susan Naimark began to see that opportunities offered to her kids were often unavailable to their classmates of color. In The Education of a White Parent Naimark candidly describes her sometimes faltering efforts to create change in the school system, tracing what turns out to be the gradual transform Soon after enrolling her older son in a Boston public elementary school, Susan Naimark began to see that opportunities offered to her kids were often unavailable to their classmates of color. In The Education of a White Parent Naimark candidly describes her sometimes faltering efforts to create change in the school system, tracing what turns out to be the gradual transformation of a dismayed parent into a parent leader, school board member, and advocate for equal opportunities for all students. Naimark acknowledges that the problem of racial privilege is overwhelmingly complex and freighted with awkwardness and frustration, but she asserts with humble confidence that it is not intractable. Alongside compelling stories about her experiences, she discusses numerous national studies, identifying the pattern of inequities in public schools and some signs of progress. In a clear, conversational tone, Naimark shares what she has learned about navigating school bureaucracies, collaborating across race, and achieving results that benefit all kids.


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Soon after enrolling her older son in a Boston public elementary school, Susan Naimark began to see that opportunities offered to her kids were often unavailable to their classmates of color. In The Education of a White Parent Naimark candidly describes her sometimes faltering efforts to create change in the school system, tracing what turns out to be the gradual transform Soon after enrolling her older son in a Boston public elementary school, Susan Naimark began to see that opportunities offered to her kids were often unavailable to their classmates of color. In The Education of a White Parent Naimark candidly describes her sometimes faltering efforts to create change in the school system, tracing what turns out to be the gradual transformation of a dismayed parent into a parent leader, school board member, and advocate for equal opportunities for all students. Naimark acknowledges that the problem of racial privilege is overwhelmingly complex and freighted with awkwardness and frustration, but she asserts with humble confidence that it is not intractable. Alongside compelling stories about her experiences, she discusses numerous national studies, identifying the pattern of inequities in public schools and some signs of progress. In a clear, conversational tone, Naimark shares what she has learned about navigating school bureaucracies, collaborating across race, and achieving results that benefit all kids.

51 review for The Education of a White Parent: Wrestling with Race and Opportunity in the Boston Public Schools

  1. 4 out of 5

    Elyssa

    I am a NYC parent who is concerned about public school equity. I found this book helpful in understanding white privilege as it relates to educational opportunity and what concrete steps a parent can take to move towards school integration and equity. The author was humble is outlining the challenges and missteps she encountered and was equally clear about what works best in addressing racial injustice.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Mary

    fascinating since I also was a parent in the Boston Public School system at the same time. Susan was much more of an activist than me. So interesting to follow her work at the School Committee level, also the kind of advocacy she supported for all schools.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    As white kid who went through the Boston Public Schools about a decade before Naimark's kids, and someone invested in figuring out how to be an ally, I had to read this book. Although there were times I wished for more from the writing, I do think it's a very worthwhile read both as an examination of how (some) schools work and as a memoir of becoming an activist against racism. As white kid who went through the Boston Public Schools about a decade before Naimark's kids, and someone invested in figuring out how to be an ally, I had to read this book. Although there were times I wished for more from the writing, I do think it's a very worthwhile read both as an examination of how (some) schools work and as a memoir of becoming an activist against racism.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Molly

    A must read for those of us navigating the BPS lottery and as committed to public education as I am. Although this book is some years old, not much has changed. Susan is very inspiring as an advocate who walks the walk not just talks the talk but what she has to go through is exhausting and unrealistic for 99% of us. The writing also drags and jumps all over the place, but I forgive her!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Caitlin

    I read this on the recommendation of a discussion-partner. And, as someone who works in the Boston Public Schools, it gave me some great insight on how difficult things can be to navigate. If you work in the schools, or are raising children in Boston, this is worth the read.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    A must read for anyone (black, white, parent, administrator, board member) working with a diverse demographic. Eye-opening.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    Being a resident of Boston, I really liked reading her view and experiences with the Boston Public Schools. She is very honest about everything, especially her own mistakes and flaws.

  8. 4 out of 5

    gdg

    Everyone should read this!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Kathy

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    Anthony

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    Ellie Williams

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    Cait

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    Websterdavid3

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    Queen

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    Jennifer Dines

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    Cristina Puccia

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    Xander

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    Steven Swanger

    Yes!!!

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    Debby Irving

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    Cindy

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    Rebecca Booth-fox

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    Will Saunders

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    Carla

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    Marcia Nedland

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    Maanav Thakore

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    Melissa

  50. 5 out of 5

    Amanda Linehan

  51. 5 out of 5

    Melissa Walsh

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