Designed to Fail: Why Racial Equity in School Funding Is So Hard to Achieve (Paperback)

Before placing an order, please note:

  • You'll receive a confirmation email once your order is complete and ready for pickup. 
  • If you have a membership, please make a note of this in the order comments and we'll apply your discount.
  • Online orders are nonrefundable and cannot be exchanged.
  • If you place a pre-order to be shipped in the same order as currently available titles, an additional shipping fee will be added to your order.  
  • Women & Children First is not responsible for lost or stolen packages.
Designed to Fail: Why Racial Equity in School Funding Is So Hard to Achieve By Roseann Liu Cover Image
Unavailable from our sources


A provocative examination of how systemic racism in education funding is sustained.
For people who care about urban school districts like Philadelphia’s, addressing the challenges that these schools face often boils down to the need for more money. But why are urban districts that serve Black and Brown students still so perennially underfunded compared to majority-white ones? Why is racial equity in school funding so hard to achieve?

In Designed to Fail, Roseann Liu provides an inside look at the Pennsylvania state legislature and campaigns for fair funding to show how those responsible for the distribution of school funding work to maintain the privileges of majority-white school districts. Liu analyzes how colorblind policies, political structures, and the maintenance of the status quo by people in power perpetuate wide and deepening racial disparities in education funding. Taking a lesson from community organizers fighting for a racially equitable school funding system, Liu’s work is a bold call to address structural racism at the root and organize from a place of abundant justice.

About the Author

Roseann Liu is assistant professor in the College of Education Studies at Wesleyan University and visiting assistant professor in Asian American studies at Swarthmore College. Prior to academia, she was a policy and program evaluation researcher and a public school teacher.

Praise For…

"America has failed to keep two promises to its students—to desegregate their schools and to fund them equitably. Liu digs deeply into the funding inequities that exist in one state, Pennsylvania, that serves as a template for almost every state. This is an important book."
— Gloria Ladson-Billings, author of "Justice Matters"

"A welcome and much-needed analysis, Liu lays to rest common assumptions about funding inequity in schools, and provides a powerful, clear, unapologetic racial analysis of school finance, one that draws attention to structural racism behind school funding in Pennsylvania and nationwide, the actors who enable such racism to persist, and those who relentlessly work to challenge it. This is an important read for those who want to understand and address this enduring injustice of school funding in the United States."

— Erica O. Turner, author of "Suddenly Diverse: How School Districts Manage Race and Inequality"
Product Details
ISBN: 9780226832715
ISBN-10: 0226832716
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Publication Date: April 11th, 2024
Pages: 208
Language: English