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A Good Investment?Philanthropy and the Marketing of Race in an Urban Public School$
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Amy Brown

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780816691128

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816691128.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM MINNESOTA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.minnesota.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Minnesota Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MNSO for personal use.date: 18 June 2021

A Mind Is a Wonderful Thing to Invest In

A Mind Is a Wonderful Thing to Invest In

Philanthropy and the New York City Public Schools

(p.15) 1 A Mind Is a Wonderful Thing to Invest In
A Good Investment?

Amy Brown

University of Minnesota Press

This chapter places the ethnography into the context of a political economy of urban school reform in New York City. It critiques the popular documentaries Waiting for “Superman” (Guggenheim 2010) and The Lottery (Sackler 2010), and looks not only at key figures and movements in urban education reform and the school choice movement since 2000, but also at corporate philanthropists whose financial altruism contributes to a market-based logic in education. It analyzes how these reforms articulate with the construction and contestation of racial meaning at College Preparatory Academy. The end of the chapter revisits some of the school’s image management and marketing practices, highlighting the importance that is necessarily placed on corporatization and image management in order to maintain needed resources in the context of New York City education reform. Those who are more interested in the ethnographic portrayal of College Prep may wish to skip this chapter, since it functions to provide a more macrolevel sociohistorical context for the school.

Keywords:   ethnography, political economy, urban school reform, New York City, school choice movement, corporate philanthropists, racial meaning, marketing, image management, macrolevel sociohistorical

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