A forthcoming book based on an original study of nearly 1000 school districts examines the role of race and education in American democracy. Brown University has given the author Domingo Morel a platform to present his ideas in a panel discussion held yesterday. Among his other findings, Morel writes, “devolving authority to state governments was a response to the rise of Black political empowerment in American cities”. Sarah Reckhow, author of Follow the Money, had the following praise regarding the importance of the research:
“As cities from New Orleans to Flint grapple with the long term impacts of state takeovers on local policy and politics, scholars and policymakers have much to learn from Morel’s important contribution.”
Brown University’s Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs hosted Morel, assistant professor of political science at Rutgers University to review his research for the book titled, “Takeover: Race, Education, and American Democracy”. Marion Orr moderated the event with Vesla Weaver, Jeffrey Henig and Michael Jones-Correa serving as commentators on the panel. About them
- Marion Orr – Frederick Lippitt Professor of Public Policy, Professor of Political Science and Urban Studies, Brown University
- Vesla Weaver – Michael Bloomberg Associate Professor of Political Science and Sociology, Johns Hopkins University
- Jeffrey Henig – Professor of Political Science and Education, Teachers College, Columbia University; Professor of Political Science, Columbia University
- Michael Jones-Correa – Professor of Political Science, University of Pennsylvania
According to a description of the book on Domingo Morel’s own website:
The book argues that the emphasis on devolving authority to state governments was a response to the rise of Black political empowerment in American cities. I show that as cities gained greater Black representation in city government, the likelihood of a state takeover of their school district increased. Furthermore, as Black empowerment increased, state takeovers had a negative effect on Black representation on school boards. At the same time, the book also demonstrates that under certain conditions, state takeovers can advance Black and Latino political empowerment, contrary to conventional wisdom. State takeovers can help politically marginalized groups by disrupting the existing dominant governing regimes and by providing opportunities for previously excluded groups.
This book offers new insight into the post-1960s government response to the growth of Black political empowerment while also bucking the conventional wisdom in Political Science that state intervention in local communities is unequivocally disempowering; thus offering a novel framework for understanding how state intervention affects racialized communities.