Who was Jean Anyon?
There’s a flannel shirt and over-sized jacket missing, matched to a set of pearls
Classic Anyon-wear, Graduate Center Chic
Her shirt threaded with brilliance and chutzpa
Buttoned with love of Jessie, Marx, theory and her students
Patched with Bourdieu, flashbacks of Newark, existential weight of Occupy, labor struggles and the convictions of her daddy
Among the millions of words in the thousands of articles and books about urban education written during the last couple of decades, I find none has the power, truth, and simplicity of Jean Anyon's metaphor about urban educational reform: "Attempting to fix inner city schools without fixing the city in which they are embedded is like trying to clean the air on one side of a screen door."
I first met Jean Anyon at a University of Wisconsin-Madison AERA reception in the early 1980’s. I walked into the room, and there, sitting at a table off to the back, was Jean. I had, of course, read everything that she had written to date, and cited her extensively, but we had never met. I was looking forward to meeting her, and here she was.