Fresh Ayers: Noliwe Rooks - "Cutting School" - Bill Ayers

Thursday, November 1, 2018 - 6:00pm - 7:00pm
Event Presenter/Author: 
Noliwe Rooks
Noliwe Rooks discusses Cutting School: Privatization, Segregation, and the End of Public Education. She will be joined in conversation by Bill Ayers. A Q&A and signing will follow the discussion.
 
At 57th Street Books
 
RSVP HERE (Please note that your RSVP is requested but not required)
 
About the book: Public schools are among America’s greatest achievements in modern history, yet from the earliest days of tax-supported education—today a sector with an estimated budget of over half a billion dollars—there have been intractable tensions tied to race and poverty. Now, in an era characterized by levels of school segregation the country has not seen since the mid-twentieth century, cultural critic and American studies professor Noliwe Rooks provides a trenchant analysis of our separate and unequal schools and argues that profiting from our nation’s failure to provide a high-quality education to all children has become a very big business.
 
Cutting School deftly traces the financing of segregated education in America, from reconstruction through Brown v. Board of Education up to the current controversies around school choice, teacher quality, the school-to-prison pipeline, and more, to elucidate the course we are on today: the wholesale privatization of our schools. Rooks’s incisive critique breaks down the fraught landscape of “segrenomics,” showing how experimental solutions to the so-called achievement gaps—including charters, vouchers, and cyber schools—rely on, profit from, and ultimately exacerbate disturbingly high levels of racial and economic segregation under the guise of providing equal opportunity.
 
Rooks chronicles the making and unmaking of public education and the disastrous impact of funneling public dollars to private for-profit and nonprofit operations. As the infrastructure crumbles, a number of major U.S. cities are poised to permanently dismantle their public school systems—the very foundation of our multicultural democracy. Yet Rooks finds hope and promise in the inspired individuals and powerful movements fighting to save urban schools.
 
A comprehensive, compelling account of what’s truly at stake in the relentless push to deregulate and privatize, Cutting School is a cri de coeur for all of us to resist educational apartheid in America.
 
About the author: Noliwe Rooks is an interdisciplinary scholar whose work explores race, gender and civic culture, social history and political life in the United States. She is the author of four books, the most recent of which is Cutting School: Privatization, Segregation, and the End of Public Education (New Press, 2017). Her earlier books are: Hair Raising: Beauty, Culture and African American WomenLadies Pages: African American Women’s Magazines and the Culture that Made Them, and White Money/Black Power: African American Studies and the Crises of Race in Higher Education.
 
Rooks received her B.A. from Spelman College where she majored in English and her M.A. and PhD degrees in American Studies from the University of Iowa. She is currently the Director of American Studies at Cornell University where she is also an Associate Professor in Africana Studies and Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies.
 
About Bill Ayers: Bill Ayers is a social justice activist, teacher, Distinguished Professor of Education (retired) at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and author of two memoirs, Fugitive Days and Public Enemy.
Event Location: 
57th Street Books
1301 E 57th St.
Chicago, IL 60637