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Urban Education with an Attitude

Lauri Johnson, Mary E. Finn, Rebecca Lewis

Publication Year: 2005

This book profiles local and national efforts to transform urban education and reinvent urban teacher preparation. It describes real programs in real urban schools that have developed policy initiatives that promote educational equity, community-based curricula, and teacher education and parent empowerment programs that emphasize democratic collaboration among universities, urban teachers, parents, and community members. By involving all stakeholders, this comprehensive approach provides a model for creating urban schools that not only excite and inspire, but also serve as engines for social change. Contending that urban education reform will fail without public engagement and a commitment to social justice, the contributors challenge urban educators to become accountable to their students and the communities they serve.

Published by: State University of New York Press

Title Page

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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-x

In times of social crisis, communities often turn to universities and colleges for help. As major repositories of intellectual capital, universities are also primary institutions of social power and, as such, it is understandable that communities would look to universities for help.This relationship suggests, however, the role and responsibilities...

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Introduction: Linking Theory, Practice, and Community in Urban School Reform

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pp. 1-7

THIS BOOK PROFILES LOCAL AND NATIONAL efforts to transform urban education and reinvent urban teacher preparation through the development of democratic school-community relationships and community-based curricula. It is premised on our belief that authentic urban school reform requires educators to work collaboratively...

Call to Action: Promoting Educational Equity in Urban School Reform

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pp. 9-57

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1. The Racial Achievement Gap: How Can We Assure an Equity of Outcomes?

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pp. 11-20

WHAT IS NOW WIDELY RECOGNIZED as one of the leading issues facing our country is the plight of our schools and the state of education. Not only has the current administration made education its first domestic policy initiative, but articles related to education and schools are featured daily in the media. There is a clamor in the country for ways...

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2. Things to Come: Teachers’ Work and Urban School Reform

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pp. 21-31

THESE DAYS, MANY STATE AND LOCAL school officials are occupied by discussions of how much progress is being made in winning the “war” against chronic underachievement among poor black, white, and Latino youth in urban schools, but in this chapter I suggest that we should question the idea of progress and what constitutes progress...

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3. Court-Ordered Reform of New York State School Aid

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pp. 33-40

IN AN HISTORIC DECISION ISSUED January 10, 2001, Justice Leland DeGrasse of New York Supreme Court declared that: "New York State has over the course of many years consistently violated the State Constitution by failing to provide the opportunity for a sound basic education...

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4. Connecting Community Development and Urban School Reform

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pp. 41-57

THIS CHAPTER MAKES THE CASE for building a bridge to link together the community development and the educational reform movements in distressed urban communities, and it discusses the barriers that must be removed before policy makers, practitioners, and activists create a new model of community development and school reform...

Linking Urban Schools to Their Communities

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pp. 59-105

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5. Creating Small Urban Schools: Expeditionary Learning as School Reform

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pp. 61-69

THE EVOLUTION OF EXPEDITIONARY LEARNING as an idea or a design for changing schools grew out of an Outward Bound course I took in the early 1960s. I was interested in the course because I was stimulated by the language of the man who had founded it, a German Jew named Kurt Hahn, who ran a private boarding school in Bavaria...

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6. Why the Arts Matter in Our Schools

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pp. 71-78

AS THE BASIS OF OUR ECONOMY SHIFTS from manufacturing to information, we are moving from people working in separate silos of service to people from different segments of the population who are concerned with lifelong learning and who work together holistically to meet the needs of young people. We...

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7. Art: An Educational Link between School and Community

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pp. 79-86

I CAME TO JENNER SCHOOL IN 1991 with four years of teaching experience and a desire to commit my energies to a single school site. I previously had been assigned in two half-time positions at schools on the far south side of Chicago, where I learned a lot about the management of students and materials in the art room...

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8. City Voices, City Visions: Digital Video as Literacy/Learning Supertool in Urban Classrooms

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pp. 87-105

IN 1997 A NATIONAL REPORT from the Educational Testing Service concluded that poor and minority students have less access than other students to computers, multimedia technology, and the Internet (see also Rohde, Shapiro et al., 2000). Moreover, even when poor and minority children are provided access to these more advanced technologies...

Reforming Teacher Education to Improve Urban Education

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pp. 107-153

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9. Teaching to Change the World

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pp. 109-120

I AM NOT A TEACHER EDUCATOR BY TRAINING, although I was a teacher before I became an education researcher. I became a researcher because I was concerned about issues of educational equity. My early work was to document patterns of inequality and the ways that conventional school practices work...

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10. Community Walk-About: Finding the Hope in Hopelessness

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pp. 121-133

TEACHER EDUCATION IS DICTATED, in large part, by state departments of education. Courses in content-specific methods, field experience, instructional strategies, and the sociological and psychological foundations of education are the staples of most teacher education programs.The hurried pace of intensive oneyear teacher...

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11. Transforming Urban Education through the Massachusetts Coalition for Teacher Quality and Student Achievement

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pp. 135-153

THE SIGNIfiCANT CHALLENGES confronting urban school systems in the United States are rooted in a complicated confluence of political, economic, and educational factors (Anyon, 1997; Bowles and Gintis, 1976). Urban schools form part of the dual economy of metropolitan regions, which combine the class hegemony of an affluent...

University Partnerships for Parent Empowerment

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pp. 155-217

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12. Giving Voice to Urban Parents: Using a Community-Based Survey to Leverage School Reform

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pp. 157-172

PARENT INVOLVEMENT HAS BEEN identified as a critical element in the improvement of urban schools by teachers, administrators, policy makers, and researchers (Comer, Ben-Avie, Haynes, & Joyner, 1999; Sanders, 1999). Educators who aim to increase parent involvement often uncritically adopt well-known national models...

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13. Structural Barriers and School Reform: The Perceptions of a Group of Working-Class Parents

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pp. 173-191

IN COMPARISON TO THEIR UPPER-CLASS COUNTERPARTS, working-class parents have historically been less involved with their children’s education, a problem that often is attributed to lack of cultural capital (Lareau, 1987), and thus the interests of their children are commonly ignored.1 Unless working-class parents bring pressure...

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14. Workshops with an Attitude

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pp. 193-217

THIS CHAPTER IS ABOUT A PROJECT—a series of workshops conducted by university faculty for parents and educators intended to develop “powerful literacy”— but it’s also about the place of theory and practice in action for change. In the fall of 1999, the Mayor’s office, through the Education Fund for Greater Buffalo...


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pp. 219-220


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pp. 221-224

E-ISBN-13: 9780791483589
Print-ISBN-13: 9780791463796
Print-ISBN-10: 0791463796

Page Count: 234
Illustrations: 5 b/w photographs, 1 table, 1 illustration
Publication Year: 2005

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Education, Urban -- United States -- Case studies.
  • Community education -- United States -- Case studies.
  • Curriculum change -- United States -- Case studies.
  • Popular education -- United States -- Case studies.
  • Teachers -- Training of -- United States -- Case studies.
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