[COMM-ORG] new book: Streetwise for Book Smarts

Discussion list for COMM-ORG colist at comm-org.wisc.edu
Mon Mar 29 11:38:40 CDT 2010

[ed:  congrats to Celina on the new book.]

From: Celina Su <celinasu at gmail.com>

Dear Colleagues,

I never sent out an announcement about my book *Streetwise for Book
Smarts: Grassroots Organizing and Education Reform in the Bronx* when
it came out last year, because self-promotion makes me feel a bit
queasy.... but I wanted to thank the many of you at comm-org who
informed my work (including those of you I have never met). You made a
huge difference in my thinking, from fieldwork through analysis--
Below is a brief description of the book.

A big, sincere thank you,
Celina Su

 >From the Cornell University Press website:
In Streetwise for Book Smarts, Celina Su examines the efforts of
parents and students who sought to improve the quality of education in
their local schools by working with grassroots organizations and
taking matters into their own hands. In these organizations, everyday
citizens pursued not only education reform but also democratic
accountability and community empowerment. These groups had similar
resources and operated in the same political context, yet their
strategies and tactics were very different: while some focused on
increasing state and city aid to their schools, others tried to change
the way the schools themselves operated. Some coalitions sought
accommodation with administrators and legislators; others did not.

...Members of different groups proposed and mobilized behind a range
of remedies. These divergent responses shed light on the ways in which
the choices made by each organization mattered. By learning from Su's
close observation of four activist groups in the Bronx, including
Mothers on the Move and Sistas and Brothas United, we can better
understand strategies that may ultimately lead to better and safer
schools everywhere and help to revitalize American democracy.

More info:

"Streetwise for Book Smarts is a completely novel and provocative take
on an extremely important topic. Its great strength arises from Celina
Su's street-level research style. This book should be read by
community organizers, foundation officers, and policy makers as well
as political scientists, sociologists, urban anthropologists, and
scholars of community organizing." --Dennis Shirley, Boston College

"This is an extremely useful and important book. Celina Su charts
different methods and models used by community organizations working
for school reform. She shows how community organizing is changing, and
how it succeeds. Streetwise for Book Smarts is an illuminating look
into the cultural practices of social change groups applicable
nationwide." --Jean Anyon, author of Radical Possibilities and Theory
and Educational Research: Toward Critical Social Explanation

"Celina Su's book sheds new light on the potential for organized
parents and young people to create change in the nation's largest
school system?and one of our most troubled. In doing so, Su takes a
novel approach to studying community organizing. She focuses on the
different kinds of cultural toolkits various groups employ and show
why they matter for the struggle to achieve more just and equitable
education for low-income communities of color. Streetwise for Book
Smarts is an important book for the emerging field of scholarship on
community organizing-- and for organizers alike." --Mark R. Warren,
Harvard University

"Celina Su's Streetwise for Book Smarts delivers a smart and critical
look at the cultural toolkits that shape political perspectives,
community organizing strategies, political positions and social change
in the Bronx. Setting a new standard in the cultural analysis of
community organizing with a deep look at race issues and the internal
life of her four case studies, Su gives both veterans of the struggle
and the Obama generation a roadmap on how to use the best Alinskyite
and Freirean tools to forge an effective grassroots movement in
America." --James Mumm, National Training and Information Center

-- . Celina Su . Associate Professor Department of Political Science 
Brooklyn College, City University of New York

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