Educational policies explicitly implemented in order to reduce educational gaps and promote access and success for disenfranchised youth can backfire—and often have the unintended result of widening those gaps. In this interdisciplinary collection of case studies, contributors examine cases of policy backfire, when policies don’t work, have unintended consequences, and when policies help. Although policy reform is thought of as an effective way to improve schooling structures and to diminish the achievement gap, many such attempts to reform the system do not adequately address the legacy of unequal policies and the historic and pervasive inequalities that persist in schools. Exploring the roots of school inequality and examining often-ignored negative policy outcomes, contributors illuminate the causes and consequences of poor policymaking decisions and demonstrate how policies can backfire, fail, or have unintended success.

chapter 1|12 pages


Conceptualizing the Intricacies that are Concomitant in Educational Policymaking that Determine Success, Backfire, and Everything in Between

chapter 10|15 pages

The Unintended Consequences of School Vouchers

Rise, Rout, and Rebirth