In Striving in Common, Jennifer Jellison Holme and Kara S. Finnigan seek to build a bridge between two largely disparate, yet interconnected, conversations—those among education reformers on the one hand, and urban reformers on the other. In this carefully considered volume, the authors show how the challenges faced by urban schools are linked to issues of regional equity and civic capacity.
Drawing on examples from a range of cities, including St. Louis, Milwaukee, Palo Alto, Rochester, Omaha, and Minneapolis, Holme and Finnigan trace the policy decisions that have fostered competition for scarce resources between cities and suburbs as well as patterns of segregation by race and income. They highlight the limited ability of technical education reforms and interdistrict desegregation programs to counter the resulting educational inequities. The authors then examine existing regional governance initiatives aimed at promoting equity and reducing inefficiency through city/suburban cooperation. Finally, Holme and Finnigan outline a framework for cross-sector, regional governance mechanisms that would incorporate tax-base sharing, targeted investments in high-poverty communities, and mobility policies to help students and families access better opportunities. The book concludes with a discussion of the political opportunities and challenges presented by such a strategy.
At a time of increasing concern over inequality in education and society, Striving in Common sets forth an ambitious agenda for rethinking the parameters of education policy and connecting education reform to broader efforts at urban reform.
Jennifer Jellison Holme is associate professor of education policy in the College of Education at the University of Texas at Austin. Her research agenda focuses on the politics and implementation of educational policy, with a focus on the relationship between school reform, equity, and diversity in schools. Her work is particularly centered on the ways in which patterns of racial and ethnic stratification interact with educational policies to shape opportunities, experiences, and outcomes for students. She has researched and published on school desegregation, school choice, high-stakes testing, and teacher turnover. Holme earned her PhD in Education Policy from UCLA, her EdM in Administration, Planning, and Social Policy from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and her BA in Sociology from UCLA.
Kara S. Finnigan, a professor at the University of Rochester’s Warner School of Education, focuses on educational policy implementation, racial equity, and urban education. Finnigan has written extensively on the topics of low-performing schools and high-stakes accountability, district reform, desegregation, and school choice. Her research blends perspectives in education, sociology, and political science and employs both qualitative and quantitative methods, including social-network analysis and GIS mapping. Beyond her research on interdistrict integration and regional equity that is the focus of this book, her recent work examines the role of social networks in the diffusion of research evidence at the school and district levels, as well as community engagement and advocacy around educational change. Finnigan began her work in education as a substitute teacher in Anchorage, Alaska. She received her PhD in Education Policy from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, her MA in Administration and Policy Analysis from Stanford University, and a BA from Dartmouth College.
"Holme and Finnigan have written one of the strongest and most important education policy books we have read in a long time." —Wagma Mommandi and Katherine Schultz, Teachers College Record
"Striving in Common provides a strong argument for analyzing education inequality within the context of inequitable housing, health, and economic policies." —Education Review