Classrooms and Clinics is the first book-length assessment of the development of public school health policies from the late nineteenth century through the early years of the Great Depression. Richard A. Meckel examines the efforts of early twentieth-century child health care advocates and reformers to utilize urban schools to deliver health care services to socioeconomically disadvantaged and medically underserved children in the primary grades. Their goal, Meckel shows, was to improve the children’s health and thereby improve their academic performance.
Meckel situates these efforts within a larger late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century public discourse relating schools and schooling, especially in cities and towns, to child health. He describes and explains how that discourse and the school hygiene movement it inspired served as critical sites for the constructive negotiation of the nature and extent of the public school’s—and by extension the state’s—responsibility for protecting and promoting the physical and mental health of the children for whom it was providing a compulsory education.
Tracing the evolution of that negotiation through four overlapping stages, Meckel shows how, why, and by whom the health of schoolchildren was discursively constructed as a sociomedical problem and charts and explains the changes that construction underwent over time. He also connects the changes in problem construction to the design and implementation of various interventions and services and evaluates how that design and implementation were affected by the response of the civic, parental, professional, educational, public health, and social welfare groups that considered themselves stakeholders and took part in the discourse. And, most significantly, he examines the responses called forth by the question at the heart of the negotiations: what services are necessitated by the state’s and school’s taking responsibility for protecting and promoting the health and physical and mental development of schoolchildren. He concludes that the negotiations resulted both in the partial medicalization of American primary education and in the articulation and adoption of a school health policy that accepted the school’s responsibility for protecting and promoting the health of its students while largely limiting the services called for to the preventive and educational.
Recent research on inequality and poverty has shown that those born into low-income families, especially African Americans, still have difficulty entering the middle class, in part because of the disadvantages they experience living in more dangerous neighborhoods, going to inferior public schools, and persistent racial inequality. Coming of Age in the Other America shows that despite overwhelming odds, some disadvantaged urban youth do achieve upward mobility. Drawing from ten years of fieldwork with parents and children who resided in Baltimore public housing, sociologists Stefanie DeLuca, Susan Clampet-Lundquist, and Kathryn Edin highlight the remarkable resiliency of some of the youth who hailed from the nation’s poorest neighborhoods and show how the right public policies might help break the cycle of disadvantage.
Coming of Age in the Other America illuminates the profound effects of neighborhoods on impoverished families. The authors conducted in-depth interviews and fieldwork with 150 young adults, and found that those who had been able to move to better neighborhoods—either as part of the Moving to Opportunity program or by other means—achieved much higher rates of high school completion and college enrollment than their parents. About half the youth surveyed reported being motivated by an “identity project”—or a strong passion such as music, art, or a dream job—to finish school and build a career.
Yet the authors also found troubling evidence that some of the most promising young adults often fell short of their goals and remained mired in poverty. Factors such as neighborhood violence and family trauma put these youth on expedited paths to adulthood, forcing them to shorten or end their schooling and find jobs much earlier than their middle-class counterparts. Weak labor markets and subpar postsecondary educational institutions, including exploitative for-profit trade schools and under-funded community colleges, saddle some young adults with debt and trap them in low-wage jobs. A third of the youth surveyed—particularly those who had not developed identity projects—were neither employed nor in school. To address these barriers to success, the authors recommend initiatives that help transform poor neighborhoods and provide institutional support for the identity projects that motivate youth to stay in school. They propose increased regulation of for-profit schools and increased college resources for low-income high school students.
Coming of Age in the Other America presents a sensitive, nuanced account of how a generation of ambitious but underprivileged young Baltimoreans has struggled to succeed. It both challenges long-held myths about inner-city youth and shows how the process of “social reproduction”—where children end up stuck in the same place as their parents—is far from inevitable.
In 2002 the No Child Left Behind Act rocked America's schools with new initiatives for results-based accountability. But years before NCLB was signed, a new movement was already under way by mayors to take control of city schools from school boards and integrate the management of public education with the overall governing of the city. The Education Mayor is a critical look at mayoral control of urban school districts, beginning with Boston's schools in 1992 and examining more than 100 school districts in 40 states.
The authors seek to answer four central questions: • What does school governance look like under mayoral leadership? • How does mayoral control affect school and student performance? • What are the key factors for success or failure of integrated governance? • How does mayoral control effect practical changes in schools and classrooms?
The results of their examination indicate that, although mayoral control of schools may not be appropriate for every district, it can successfully emphasize accountability across the education system, providing more leverage for each school district to strengthen its educational infrastructure and improve student performance. Based on extensive quantitative data as well as case studies, this analytical study provides a balanced look at America's education reform.
As the first multidistrict empirical examination and most comprehensive overall evaluation of mayoral school reform, The Education Mayor is a must-read for academics, policymakers, educational administrators, and civic and political leaders concerned about public education.
Discuss real estate with any young family and the subject of schools is certain to come up—in fact, it will likely be a crucial factor in determining where that family lives. Not merely institutions of learning, schools have increasingly become a sign of a neighborhood’s vitality, and city planners have ever more explicitly promoted “good schools” as a means of attracting more affluent families to urban areas, a dynamic process that Maia Bloomfield Cucchiara critically examines in Marketing Schools, Marketing Cities.
Focusing on Philadelphia’s Center City Schools Initiative, she shows how education policy makes overt attempts to prevent, or at least slow, middle-class flight to the suburbs. Navigating complex ethical terrain, she balances the successes of such policies in strengthening urban schools and communities against the inherent social injustices they propagate—the further marginalization and disempowerment of lowerclass families. By asking what happens when affluent parents become “valued customers,” Marketing Schools, Marketing Cities uncovers a problematic relationship between public institutions and private markets, where the former are used to leverage the latter to effect urban transformations.
America's urban public schools are in crisis. Compared with their suburban counterparts, urban students have lower test scores and higher dropout rates. In an attempt to improve educational quality, responsibility for school governance has been handed over to mayors in several U.S. cities. Based on extensive research, including more than eighty in-depth interviews, Mayors and Schools examines whether mayoral control results in higher student achievement and considers the social costs of diminished community involvement. Using a comparative case study approach, Stefanie Chambers researches the impact of mayoral educational control in two big-city school districts, Chicago and Cleveland. On the whole, she finds, student test scores have improved since the takeovers but there are now fewer opportunities for grassroots participation in the educational system by minority community members. Chambers contends that these findings have important implications for democratic theory, arguing that urban schools cannot be successful in the long run without the active participation of local citizens.
Lora Bartlett Harvard University Press, 2013 Library of Congress LC5115.B37 2013 | Dewey Decimal 370.91732
Migrant Teachers investigates an overlooked trend in U.S. public schools today: the growing reliance on teachers trained overseas, as federal mandates require K-12 schools to employ qualified teachers or risk funding cuts. A narrowly technocratic view of teachers as subject specialists has led districts to look abroad, Lora Bartlett asserts, resulting in transient teaching professionals with little opportunity to connect meaningfully with students.
Highly recruited by inner-city school districts that struggle to attract educators, approximately 90,000 teachers from the Philippines, India, and other countries came to the United States between 2002 and 2008. From administrators' perspective, these instructors are excellent employees--well educated and able to teach subjects like math, science, and special education where teachers are in short supply. Despite the additional recruitment of qualified teachers, American schools are failing to reap the possible benefits of the global labor market. Bartlett shows how the framing of these recruited teachers as stopgap, low-status workers cultivates a high-turnover, low-investment workforce that undermines the conditions needed for good teaching and learning. Bartlett calls on schools to provide better support to both overseas-trained teachers and their American counterparts.
When courts lifted their school desegregation orders in the 1990s—declaring that black and white students were now "integrated" in America's public schools—it seemed that a window of opportunity would open for Latinos, Asians, and people of other races and ethnicities to influence school reform efforts. However, in most large cities the "multiethnic moment" passed, without leading to greater responsiveness to burgeoning new constituencies. Multiethnic Moments examines school systems in four major U.S. cities—Boston, Denver, Los Angeles, and San Francisco—to uncover the factors that worked for and against ethnically-representative school change. More than a case study, this book is a concentrated effort to come to grips with the multiethnic city as a distinctive setting. It utilizes the politics of education reform to provide theoretically-grounded, empirical scholarship about the broader contemporary politics of race and ethnicity—emphasizing the intersection of interests, ideas, and institutions with the differing political legacies of each of the cities under consideration.
In 1988, the Chicago public school system decentralized, granting parents and communities significant resources and authority to reform their schools in dramatic ways. To track the effects of this bold experiment, the authors of Organizing Schools for Improvement collected a wealth of data on elementary schools in Chicago. Over a seven-year period they identified one hundred elementary schools that had substantially improved—and one hundred that had not. What did the successful schools do to accelerate student learning?
The authors of this illuminating book identify a comprehensive set of practices and conditions that were key factors for improvement, including school leadership, the professional capacity of the faculty and staff, and a student-centered learning climate. In addition, they analyze the impact of social dynamics, including crime, critically examining the inextricable link between schools and their communities. Putting their data onto a more human scale, they also chronicle the stories of two neighboring schools with very different trajectories. The lessons gleaned from this groundbreaking study will be invaluable for anyone involved with urban education.
Was school reform in the decades following the Civil War an upper-middle-class effort to maintain control of the schools? Was public education simply a vehicle used by Protestant elites to impose their cultural ideas upon recalcitrant immigrants? In The Politics of School Reform, 1870-1940, Paul E. Peterson challenges such standard, revisionist interpretations of American educational history. Urban public schools, he argues, were part of a politically pluralistic society. Their growth—both in political power and in sheer numbers—had as much to do with the demands and influence of trade unions, immigrant groups, and the public more generally as it did with the actions of social and economic elites.
Drawing upon rarely examined archival data, Peterson demonstrates that widespread public backing for the common school existed in Atlanta, Chicago, and San Francisco. He finds little evidence of systematic discrimination against white immigrants, at least with respect to classroom crowding and teaching assignments. Instead, his research uncovers solid trade union and other working-class support for compulsory education, adequate school financing, and curricular modernization.
Urban reformers campaigned assiduously for fiscally sound, politically strong public schools. Often they had at least as much support from trade unionists as from business elites. In fact it was the business-backed machine politicians—from San Francisco's William Buckley to Chicago's Edward Kelly—who deprived the schools of funds. At a time when public schools are being subjected to searching criticism and when new educational ideas are gaining political support, The Politics of School Reform, 1870-1940 is a timely reminder of the strength and breadth of those groups that have always supported "free" public schools.
Eli Goldblatt spent six years teaching in a small private high school for low-income students in Philadelphia. The stories he tells about three of the students - Maria, Tita, and Kareem - center around their journal writing and drafts of papers they wrote about their neighborhoods during the 1988-89 school year. The stories collectively represent one teacher’s attempt to read his students’ writing with care.
Goldblatt uses the concept of “authority” to relate student writers to overarching social structures. He argues that established writers derive authority not from personal self-confidence, but from powerful social institutions such as schools, academic disciplines, business entities, and interpersonal relationships which they come to represent through the long course of their education, apprenticeship, and professional training.
Goldblatt also uses W.E.B. Du Bois’s concept of “double-consciousness” to illuminate the writing situation of students who come from communities whose social institutions are not powerful in the economic and political life of the dominant society, such as neighborhood organizations, local churches, and extended families. His theory allows for individual agency and struggle while still rendering writing as an intensely social human activity.
Within this theoretical framework, the writing of Maria, Tita, and Kareem takes on a quiet eloquence about the struggle to speak within and across the social institutions they are in daily contact with - in particular, their school, neighborhoods, an interpersonal relationships.
Aimed at a wide range of educators and general readers concerned about urban education and writing instruction, ‘Round My Way is, finally, a story about teacherly reading, providing both the theory and examples of practice to enliven other teacher’s readings of their students’ texts.
The problems commonly associated with inner-city schools were not nearly as pervasive a century ago, when black children in most northern cities attended school alongside white children. In Schools Betrayed, her innovative history of race and urban education, Kathryn M. Neckerman tells the story of how and why these schools came to serve black children so much worse than their white counterparts.
Focusing on Chicago public schools between 1900 and 1960, Neckerman compares the circumstances of blacks and white immigrants, groups that had similarly little wealth and status yet came to gain vastly different benefits from their education. Their divergent educational outcomes, she contends, stemmed from Chicago officials’ decision to deal with rising African American migration by segregating schools and denying black students equal resources. And it deepened, she shows, because of techniques for managing academic failure that only reinforced inequality. Ultimately, these tactics eroded the legitimacy of the schools in Chicago’s black community, leaving educators unable to help their most disadvantaged students.
Schools Betrayed will be required reading for anyone who cares about urban education.
Only 50 percent of kids growing up in poverty will earn a high school diploma. Just one in ten will graduate college. Compelled by these troubling statistics, Heather Kirn Lanier joined Teach For America (TFA), a program that thrusts eager but inexperienced college graduates into America’s most impoverished areas to teach, asking them to do whatever is necessary to catch their disadvantaged kids up to the rest of the nation.
With little more than a five-week teacher boot camp and the knowledge that David Simon referred to her future school as “The Terrordome,” the altruistic and naïve Lanier devoted herself to attaining the program’s goals but met obstacles on all fronts. The building itself was in such poor condition that tiles fell from the ceiling at random. Kids from the halls barged into classes all day, disrupting even the most carefully planned educational activities. In the middle of one lesson, a wandering student lit her classroom door on fire. Some colleagues, instantly suspicious of TFA’s intentions, withheld their help and supplies. (“They think you’re trying to ‘save’ the children,” one teacher said.) And although high school students can be by definition resistant, in west Baltimore they threw eggs, slashed tires, and threatened teachers’ lives. Within weeks, Lanier realized that the task she was charged with—achieving quantifiable gains in her students’ learning—would require something close to a miracle.
Superbly written and timely, Teaching in the Terrordome casts an unflinching gaze on one of America’s “dropout factory” high schools. Though Teach For America often touts its most successful teacher stories, in this powerful memoir Lanier illuminates a more common experience of “Teaching For America” with thoughtful complexity, a poet’s eye, and an engaging voice. As hard as Lanier worked to become a competent teacher, she found that in “The Terrordome,” idealism wasn’t enough. To persevere, she had to rely on grit, humility, a little comedy, and a willingness to look failure in the face. As she adjusted to a chaotic school administration, crumbling facilities, burned-out colleagues, and students who perceived their school for the failure it was, she gained perspective on the true state of the crisis TFA sets out to solve. Ultimately, she discovered that contrary to her intentions, survival in the so-called Charm City was a high expectation.
Teacher attrition has long been a significant challenge within the field of education. It is a commonly-cited statistic that almost fifty percent of beginning teachers leave the field within their first five years, to the detriment of schools, students, and their own career development. There Has to be a Better Way offers an essential voice in understanding the dynamics of teacher attrition from the perspective of the teachers themselves. Drawing upon in-depth qualitative research with former teachers from urban schools in multiple regions of the United States, Lynnette Mawhinney and Carol R. Rinke identify several themes that uncover the rarely-spoken reasons why teachers so often willingly leave the classroom. The authors go further to provide concrete recommendations for how school administrators can better support their practicing teachers, as well as how teacher educators might enhance preparation for the next generation of educators. Complete with suggested readings and discussion questions, this book serves as an indispensable resource in understanding and building an effective and productive educational workforce for our nation’s students.
How do our schools take bright, active, ordinary children, who happen to be poor and black, and turn them into ill-educated and violent delinquents? Lois Stalvey’s book will show you how it is done. In 1962, the Stalveys, a middle-class white family, moved from Omaha to an integrated urban neighborhood in Philadelphia, where the three children enrolled in public schools. For twelve years, Lois Stalvey watched her children and their predominantly African American classmates as both a parent and a volunteer teacher. What she saw was shocking. When her own children misbehaved or had learning problems, they were granted patience and understanding. In contrast, African American children were treated, by both black and white teachers, as naughty, dangerous, obstinate, or stupid. Though more than twenty years have passed since the first publication of this book, the tragedy is that the message Lois Stalvey shares with her readers can only be more important today. “Why bother moving children’s bodies around to achieve integrated education,” she asks, “if, like the children in our school, they cannot escape teachers with segregating eyes?”
Violent urban schools loom large in our culture: for decades they have served as the centerpieces of political campaigns and as window dressing for brutal television shows and movies. Yet unequal access to quality schools remains the single greatest failing of our society—and one of the most hotly debated issues of our time. Of all the usual words used to describe non-selective city schools—segregated, unequal, violent—none comes close to characterizing their systemic dysfunction in high-poverty neighborhoods. The most accurate word is toxic.
When Bowen Paulle speaks of toxicity, he speaks of educational worlds dominated by intimidation and anxiety, by ambivalence, degradation, and shame. Based on six years of teaching and research in the South Bronx and in Southeast Amsterdam, Toxic Schools is the first fully participatory ethnographic study of its kind and a searing examination of daily life in two radically different settings. What these schools have in common, however, are not the predictable ideas about race and educational achievement but the tragically similar habituated stress responses of students forced to endure the experience of constant vulnerability. From both sides of the Atlantic Ocean, Paulle paints an intimate portrait of how students and teachers actually cope, in real time, with the chronic stress, peer group dynamics, and subtle power politics of urban educational spaces in the perpetual shadow of aggression.
Most Americans agree on the necessity of education reform, but there is little consensus about how this goal might be achieved. The rhetoric of standards and vouchers has occupied center stage, polarizing public opinion and affording little room for reflection on the intangible conditions that make for good schools. Trust in Schools engages this debate with a compelling examination of the importance of social relationships in the successful implementation of school reform. Over the course of three years, Bryk and Schneider, together with a diverse team of other researchers and school practitioners, studied reform in twelve Chicago elementary schools. Each school was undergoing extensive reorganization in response to the Chicago School Reform Act of 1988, which called for greater involvement of parents and local community leaders in their neighborhood schools. Drawing on years longitudinal survey and achievement data, as well as in-depth interviews with principals, teachers, parents, and local community leaders, the authors develop a thorough account of how effective social relationships—which they term relational trust—can serve as a prime resource for school improvement. Using case studies of the network of relationships that make up the school community, Bryk and Schneider examine how the myriad social exchanges that make up daily life in a school community generate, or fail to generate, a successful educational environment. The personal dynamics among teachers, students, and their parents, for example, influence whether students regularly attend school and sustain their efforts in the difficult task of learning. In schools characterized by high relational trust, educators were more likely to experiment with new practices and work together with parents to advance improvements. As a result, these schools were also more likely to demonstrate marked gains in student learning. In contrast, schools with weak trust relations saw virtually no improvement in their reading or mathematics scores. Trust in Schools demonstrates convincingly that the quality of social relationships operating in and around schools is central to their functioning, and strongly predicts positive student outcomes. This book offer insights into how trust can be built and sustained in school communities, and identifies some features of public school systems that can impede such development. Bryk and Schneider show how a broad base of trust across a school community can provide a critical resource as education professional and parents embark on major school reforms. A Volume in the American Sociological Association's Rose Series in Sociology