The Children in Room E4: American Education on Trial author to speak at Fairfield University Feb. 24

Susan Eaton, author of "The Children in Room E4: American Education on Trial"; and Research Director for the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice at Harvard Law School, will speak at Fairfield University on Tuesday, Feb. 24 at 6 p.m. in the Presentation Room of the Kelley Center. The talk is part of the Black Studies Program Lecture Series, "Remaining Awake through a Great Revolution." A book signing will follow her talk. The public is welcome and admission is free.

"The Children in Room E4" interweaves the stories of a landmark contemporary civil rights case, Sheff v. O" Neill, brought against the State of Connecticut in 1989 charging the segregation of poor and minority students in under-funded schools. Though the case was decided in favor of the plaintiffs, appeals are still pending after 18 years.  Eaton argues convincingly that as long as racial isolation exists, schools will not improve and students will be denied the chance to learn at the same rate as their suburban neighbors, thereby impeding their chances to improve their lives and their futures.

Eaton’s interests center around the causes and cures for unequal opportunities for racial, ethnic and linguistic minorities in the United States. She is particularly concerned about the challenges of schooling and childrearing in high-poverty, urban neighborhoods. She has lectured, studied and written about related subjects for two decades as a journalist, scholar and activist across the United States, in South Africa and in Japan.

She is also the author of "The Other Boston Busing Story: What's Won and Lost Across the Boundary Line" (Yale, 2001), which explores the adult lives of African-Americans who'd participated in a voluntary, urban to suburban school desegregation program as children. And she is co-author, with Gary Orfield, of "Dismantling Desegregation: The Quiet Reversal of Brown v. Board of Education" (New Press, 1996), an overview of recent and tragically overlooked jurisprudence on school desegregation.

Eaton holds a doctorate in education from Harvard where she was assistant director at the Project on School Desegregation. For nearly a decade, Susan was a staff reporter at daily newspapers in Massachusetts and Connecticut where she won several awards for her writing about public education.

The lecture is being sponsored by the Humanities Institute in the College of Arts & Sciences, and co-sponsored by FACE AIDS; the Dolan School of Business; the Graduate School of Education and Allied Professions; The Center for Faith and Public Life; the Departments of Sociology and Anthropology, History, International Studies, Peace and Justice Studies; New Student Programs; and the Dean of Freshmen.

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Media Contact: Nancy Habetz, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2647,

Posted on February 12, 2009

Vol. 41, No. 219

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