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The CURA publications library is currently being digitized by the University of Minnesota Digital Conservancy. When the project is complete, the entire CURA publications library will be online and fully searchable. Unfortunately, during this process we are not able to honor individual requests for publications . Additionally, we no longer have physical copies of publications to send out.

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Representing Poor Students’ Interests: Insights and Lessons from the Fight to Save North High in Minneapolis.

Forrest, M. David.

By many accounts, public officials have inadequately represented today’s poor students, especially those of color. At the center of this inadequacy is their tendency to equate poor students’ interests with efforts to close so-called “failing” schools. This article examines how and with what consequences urban social-justice advocates have contested these efforts. To do so, it draws on evidence from a case study of advocacy efforts surrounding North Community High School, a predominantly poor and black public school in Minneapolis. The article describes how advocates in the North High Community Coalition successfully resisted attempts to close the school under the pretense of its apparent failure, examines how these advocates alternatively constructed and represented poor students’ interests and attached them to the redesign of North High, and concludes by articulating three general lessons about the political representation of poor students and identifying possibilities for future research regarding these groups’ efforts. This project was supported by a CURA Dissertation Research Grant.

CURA Reporter
Publication date: 
Minneapolis: Center for Urban and Regional Affairs, University of Minnesota.
The research upon which this article is based was supported by CURA’s Dissertation Research Grant. CURA awards this grant annually to support dissertation research on significant issues or topics related to urban areas. Additional support was provided by the Department of Political Science at the University of Minnesota and the Center for the Study of Democracy at the University of California at Irvine.
43 (2): 17-22
Online availability
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CURA call number: 
Reporter 43 (2)