Ten Years After - A History of Roma School Desegregation in Central and Eastern Europe
with a Foreword by John Shattuck
(Iulius Rostas, ed., REF & CEU Press, Budapest and New York, 2012, 392 pages)
The book represents a comprehensive assessment of the progress of the decade-long Roma school desegregation process in Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia. The book approaches Roma inclusion in education through school desegregation as an interdisciplinary issue, thus analyzing desegregation efforts from a variety of perspectives, combining policy analysis, legal analysis, comparative politics, and sociological approaches to education.
The book is divided into three parts. The first part covers inter-governmental, governmental, and non-governmental approaches to school segregation. It analyzes public policies and legal documents, existing empirical data and studies, and data collected through individual interviews with human rights activists and lawyers. It also identifies trends of legal argumentation used by courts and specialized anti-discrimination bodies throughout Central and Eastern Europe when deciding on school segregation practices, including the European Court of Human Rights jurisprudence. The second part consists of in-depth interviews with the Roma activists that assumed a leading role in the desegregation process in the five countries. The interviews cover topics such as the ways segregation became a public interest issue, strategies employed to place it on the political agenda, desegregation programmes and policies, and assessment of the current situation. A review of the national desegregation measures and programmes by education and policy experts follows each interview. The third part attempts to unify the wide range of factors influencing school desegregation processes under one analytical framework by identifying gaps, specific differences and contradictions or paradoxes in the five countries researched. The section raises challenging questions and proposes several possible scenarios for the future of the school desegregation process.
Scholars, practicing lawyers, and activists who are most knowledgeable about these subjects author the chapters of the book. Their knowledge comes from working in these countries and focusing on the subject matter. Iulius Rostas, a human rights advocate and policy researcher of Roma origin and a PhD candidate with the “Babes-Bolyai” University (Cluj-Napoca, Romania) edited this book.
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“The first thing to cross the mind of an American lawyer who encounters discrimination against Roma is that it must be like Brown v. Board of Education and the civil rights movement all over again. But upon getting into civil rights conflict under European law, Americans quickly discover major differences in procedure (e.g., no class actions, no injunctions), the extent to which civil rights law substance has developed, social and political environments, expectations and attitudes of plaintiffs and defendants, and what lawyers actually accomplish. This book has much to teach on both continents.”
Jack Greenberg, Alphonse Fletcher, Jr. Professor of Law, Columbia University
“Ten Years After is a comprehensive assessment of progress to date in ending school segregation in Europe and a wake up call that more effort, resources and political leadership are required if the promise of equal justice for all children is to be redeemed.”
James Goldston, Executive Director, Open Society Justice Initiative
“Ten Years After examines the social processes and governmental policies which have an impact on the development of the Roma communities. Beyond the discussion of the specific topic of school desegregation, the variety of views presented in the book provide an unambiguous answer to the question what the leading approach of the various policies and projects directed towards Roma in Central and Eastern Europe should be, in order to avoid their treatment as marginalised or as exotic community. The process of school desegregation epitomises the choices that Roma make within the larger societies. Understanding these choices is critical for the social emancipation of Roma and for their equal citizenship in the European societies. The book is an invaluable contribution to contemporary Romani studies and will be of interest for wide audience of scholars and policy makers.”
Elena Marushiakova and Veselin Popov, Associate Professors, Institute for Ethnology and Folklore Studies and Ethnographic Museum, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences