This article, even though short, has really opened my eyes to a new way that could reform urban education. There are factors such as social, political, economical, and racial issues that surround the achievement gap present in many urban schools. This article touches on the suggestion that future teachers need to be taught and trained how to teach in real life situations such as urban environments. There needs to be a partnership between the univerisities and colleges that are training future teachers in which they prepare them to teach in real life education school systems and stop just training them with the traditional middle-class, everything is so lovely, public environment.

This made my mind turning as I have not really thought  about changing teacher-prep programs to help deal with urban education issues. Programs are now infusing more diversity issues as America is a big melting-pot of diverse students and learners. But, in a way I see how teacher prep-programs do cater towards training future teachers for the perfect job environment. I think that altering teacher prep-programs for the students who want to teach in an urban enivronment could be useful. However, I think since urban education is in such a bad state as it is in now that including more real-life situation aspects and teaching environments to a teacher pre-program would have positive results. I think that changing the teacher-prep programs seems to always face opposition. I can see how reforming the teacher prep programs to tailor towards urban, inner ciy and poor students, could change the course of these types of education systems. Urban schools need highly-qualified and compasionate teachers for the students to start triving in those environment. Read this website and see if anything sparks into your mind about changing teacher preperation programs to help urban schools.

http://www.ur.umich.edu/9899/Jan25_99/urban.htm

Advertisements

 This is a great simple website that discusses various ways for parents to get involved and help decrease the achievement gap that is present in urban schools. The site offers the following ways to help decrease the achievement gap: parental involvment, before & after school programs, data modeling & reporting, and community adopting a school.  I strongly believe that parental involvement can play a key role in a student’s academic success. If parents can not or will not become involved, it is very neccessary to find a struggling student positive role models.  The site provides a tab for getting informed on the achievement gab. The information under this tab is great. It provides numerous ways for families to get informed and provides tips on what to do to together as a family to help their children in school. The involement tab provides resource links and tips that parents can do to to personally ensure that their child(ren) are getting the support they need.

Even though this site was designed for a certain school district, I think it can be used as a general site for all urban and inner city schools that suffer from achievement gaps. This site is easy to navigate and uses stright forward language. This is a definate muct look site for educators who need resources to provide parents on how to get involved with their child(ren) education with no sugar-coating.

 

http://www.achievementmatters.org/index.html

 

This video is very moving to me as a person who cares about the education of urban students. The students of Baltimore, Maryland are protesting their under funded education system. Real students tell of the hardships they face in their school and education because of the lack of funding. What you may ask is the allocation of funding for public schools? Porperty taxes! This makes no sense what so ever. The children that live in poor communities with low property taxes have less funding. The children that live in wealthier communities have a way better quality of education as well as school. The way funding is allocated is very outdated- it is very hard to believe that this is still acceptable. The students in urban and inner city schools that already face numerous hardships and bad odds are only given worse odds due to their lack of funding in their education.

The inequalities that exist because of the way schools are funded is endless. School integration of whites and African Americans was thought to change the inequalitites that were once so noticable. Now, people tend to see but not really realize the effects that these inequalities are having in present day society. This is amazing to me as someone who believes that urban students should have the same education as students in suburbs.

Former President Bush put the No Child Left Behind Act into law. This creates a set standard for ALL STUDENTS in America’s public school system. The results of standardized tests allocate government funding to the schools and if the scores are bad no funding. WHAT?  How are we suppose to improve our nations must hardships schools in urban environments if we are going to punish them by taking away funding? Government funding needs to be put into the schools in need and not the schools that get the funding from higher property taxed areas.

 

This is a great interactive interview type speech by Thomas Sowell that address what has become of the public education system in America. This video is a must watch for any person involved in public education.

Sowell believes that funding, even though may play a part, is not the main factor for the inequalities that exist in our public school system. Standardized testing as well as other testing scores are based on performance. What is performance suppose to be compared to? Why is this the case all all children perform differently and not the same as another? Performance based assessment is ineqaulity when comparing schools from different socialeconomic status.

Grades, yup there important, but how does a teacher decide who gets the B, C +, or A-. Teachers hold so much power in our education system as they rate the performance on their students. The grading system differs from teacher to teacher as well as school to school. How is this grading system equal or legitamate?

Sowell discusses the “teacher shuffel” in America.  It is cheaper for schools to keep moving teachers to different schools than to down right fire them. These bad teachers goes down the list of schools and end up in urban and inner city schools. Why are we having bad teachers teach our students in America that need the most help in their quality of education??? There is no reason for bad teachers to stay in the public school system period.

Another point that Sowell talks about is our American Universities, which he calls ‘International Univeristies’. Our nation’s universities are so well known around the world that it attracts numerous foreign students. But, our universities, wanting to be equal, accept alot of international students which leaves less spots for American students to the point it is very hard to even get into them. We are not investing in post-secondary public education in a way that supports are nation’s future. Our public school system all in all needs a total restructuring that hopfully the Obama administration can make happen.

 

 The No Child Left Behind Act is one of the most controversial topics and laws in current public school education. Do you know this act really involves? Do you know what real educators think of No Child Left Behind?

This video provides real educators inputs on No Child Left Behind. Basically, they do not like it and I do not blame them. Support for this act as been deminishing over the last few years since more and more details about the act have been assessed and criticized. How can this act of standardized and high stakes testing eliminate the achievement gab by it goals of 2014? The statistics show that this goal is not going to be reached.

But, is anyone thinking of the effects that these tests and ways of learning will impact students? NO. I know that I did not grow up learning to a test and using process of elimination to find all my answers that counted. Children need to use critical thinking and creativity not just learn elimiation process for an exam. These children will not be able to apply what they learned in school to real life as real life is not eliminating choices and filling in the most correct answer. How easy but boring would our society be? Our society would definatly not be ahead as the top powerhouse nation of the world if are society was mimicted by the ways we test our students. This whole process is messed up, we should be teaching our students to use their minds and not hinder their capacity of learning.

No Child Left Behind involves each school to report their scores in 37 categories. Each of these categories must be meet for the school to have the passing title. This is not how we should judge our students and schools as passing and failing. Teachers in this video want people of America to wake up and realize that education and learning in not done through filling in bubbles on an exam.  

Personal experiences from inner-city and urban teachers are the best way to see the current realities that face our public education system. I came across an article online that contains the words to a speech entitled, “A Crisis in Inner City Education”, which Frank Marrero, an inner-city teacher in California, gave to legislators in California in 2006.  Marrero talks about his personal experiences in working at an elementary school in Richmond, California which was considered to be the “murder capital of California” at the time. He discusses situations about shootings and death that surround the children at his elementary school. Marrero states how the school’s construction differs from other “normal” schools. He talks about how he personally brought pencils and towel paper to every student because the students lacked them or the school did not provide them. Poverty affects the funding his school receives. Even though the students in the school get a meal before school and lunch for free, he talks of this free food as “prison” quality food. He brings to light the effects standardized testing on poverty stricken, inner city schools. The biggest difference he talks about is the difference he sees in his children’s school and the inner city school he works at.  “I see these two worlds 30 minutes apart nearly every day, and I can’t believe the gulf of disparity is so wide (Marrero).” His children go to an all white school in the suburbs where he teaches at a school in the inner city that consists of mostly African Americans and Latino students. Marrero talks about the education case of Serrano vs. Priest that happened in 1971 near Los Angeles where a school district sued another over funding issues. He touches on California’s Proposition 13 and the effects on education. He talks about some obstacles that inner city schools face in receiving funding. Marrero suggests reforms like the following: a funded pre-school for early learning, ample tutors, and provide incentives for great teachers to teach at the school. He made this speech to bring to light what he sees on a daily basis to legislators trying to bring reform and action in the state of their education. I know that this article is based on a personal situation in California, but the circumstances are very relatable to other inner city struggles found throughout the nation.  

Here’s the link to read the text of the speech online:

http://www.inmotionmagazine.com/er/fm_crisis.html

Jonathan Kozol is an author who writes about his personal experiences within the American Public  school system. His newest book “The Shame of the Nation: The Restoration of Apartheid Schooling in America” is a must read. This book brings to light the racial inequalities that still exist within our public school system.  He discusses how schools are still segregated by race as well as social class. The difference between the education that middle to upper class students receive in a suburban school and the education that inner-city and low social economic students recieve is huge. This book is based completely on his first hand experiences within over 60 schools in various states. Kozol provides a lot of comparisons between inner-city education and suburban education. He touches upon military recruitment in schools, No Child Left Behind, and racial integration. Inner-city and urban area teachers can relate to Kozol’s  “The Shame of the Nation: The Restoration of Apartheid Schooling in America”, since they see what he talks about in real life on a daily basis.

Here is the link for his book review from Education Review- a journal of book reviews:

http://edrev.asu.edu/reviews/rev470.htm