Urban schools are complex social, historical and political constructs. Historically, there have been many attempts to create, reform, eliminate, restructure and reassess urban schools. These efforts to shape urban schools reflect broader efforts to shape American society, in general, and American schools particularly. Some of the profound effects on urban schools reflect decisions that on the surface were not about education at all but about immigration, housing, zoning, health concerns, global competition, social justice initiatives and constitutional interpretation. At a deeper level these initiatives have had a profound effect on urban schooling. As a means of exploring urban schools, we will utilize a single question throughout this course: How do urban schools mirror the search for equity among all people in the United States? Utilizing this question, we will explore equity in attendance, school funding, pedagogy including tracking and de-tracking initiatives, assessment including the standardized test movement, curriculum with an emphasis on the Common Core Standards, classroom management and family involvement. The course will introduce the students to the historical, sociological, economic, and political background that has led to today’s urban schools so that the student can participate as a teacher leader in urban education.
Why was this course your focus?
“I revised EDU 527: Foundations of Urban Education within the Secondary Education Initial Certification Program. I chose the course because it is already centered on many of the topics that emerge in the competencies including educational equity and anti-racist practices, so it seemed like a natural starting point. My goal was to redesign the class to more explicitly teach specific beliefs, dispositions, and practices that reflect racial literacy and critical cultural consciousness.”