UNTOLD STORY OF DISCRIMINATION WITHIN EDUCATION: Set against the backdrop of the 2016 presidential election of Donald Trump, Napolitano explores how rising xenophobia and biases against immigrant and refugee children led to the illegal unequal access to education.
THE FIRST STORY ABOUT THE GROUNDBREAKING ACLU CASE: Follows the story of Khadidja Issa, the plaintiff in the 2016 Issa v. School District of Lancaster case. The court ultimately found that Lancaster’s assignment of refugee students to a high-discipline alternative school violated the Equal Educational Opportunities Act, which set a hopeful precedent for young immigrants all over the country.
DISCUSSES POLICIES THAT AFFECT MILLIONS OF STUDENTS: in 2016 nearly 10 percent, or 4.9 million public school students, were classified as “English Language Learners.” (National Center for Education Statistics)
EMBLEMATIC OF A GLOBAL PHENOMENON: While 84% of children worldwide attend middle and high school, less than 25% of refugees had such an opportunity in 2017 (UNHCR, Refugee Statistics, Global Trends At-a-Glance, 2017)
WRITTEN BY A TWO-TIME PULITZER NOMINEE: A established journalist, Napolitano spent over two years attending court proceedings, interviewing students, lawyers, administrators, and maintains close relationships many of the refugees represented in the case.
EARLY BLURBS expected from Jonathan Kozol, Dale Ruskoff, and Alex Kotlowitz
“Napolitano retraces Khadidja’s history with great dexterity…Backed by research, profiles, court testimonies, and interviews with teachers, refugees, and immigrant advocates, the book calls into question the vital essence of education and why, even in this modern era of accountability, these injustices persist…An eyebrow-raising report on education that is both enraging and heartbreaking.”
“Laden with compassion and detailed insights into the practices that threaten equal access to education, this is an eye-opening account of a precedent-setting case.”
“Napolitano’s book should be the next step for people horrified by the plight of refugees, undocumented people, and unaccompanied minors.”
“Meticulously researched and compassionate, The School I Deserve is a fierce defense of refugees’ right to a quality education.”
“Napolitano’s compelling story of teenage refugees denied the same high school education as their Pennsylvania peers is both heartbreaking and infuriating. It’s an intimate story, and yet Napolitano’s exhaustive research also underscores the consequences of inequality. This book represents a historical moment as important as Brown v. Board of Education, and every democracy-loving American needs to read it.”
—Amy Ellis Nutt, author of Becoming Nicole: The Transformation of an American Family
“Napolitano’s The School I Deserve—and the legal case it chronicles—is a clarion call for America to live up to its ideals, as a place that embraces those fleeing hunger and persecution.”
—Alex Kotlowitz, author of An American Summer: Love and Death in Chicago
“Khadidja Issa, a young Sudanese refugee who arrived with her family in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, with aspirations to become a nurse, had to sue her own school district to be admitted because, at eighteen, she was deemed too old to learn there. This little-known story of her titanic and ultimately triumphant battle, along with that of five other teenage refugees, for the education they deserved should be taught alongside the epic struggles of Ruby Bridges and the Little Rock Nine in the civil rights era. No racist mobs blocked Khadidja and her fellow refugees’ access to education, but the callously indifferent practices of her local school district had a similar effect. This book is an important contribution to the ongoing examination of inequality in America.”
—Dale Russakoff, author of The Prize: Who’s in Charge of America’s Schools?
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