Course Overview

We will explore the roles of urban public schools in their communities, the historic, sociocultural, and economic contexts for urban schools and examine what we know about excellent teaching and learning in urban schools as well as reform and activism efforts in urban schools and their communities. Films and readings will interrogate representations of urban students, their teachers, and their schools. We will analyze the purposes, challenges, and possibilities of urban education, consider schools’ relationships to the cities in which they are located and will interrogate the politics of urban teaching. The perspective of this course views urban schools as sites of promise and innovation as well as sites for social and political struggle.

One day of field research will give us an opportunity to learn firsthand from urban schools, their teachers and their students. Participation in this field research is mandatory for enrollment in the course.

A portion of your grade will be based on your weekly tweets pertaining to the course readings and your participation in #educolor chats. You can highlight and comment on a specific passage (using a photograph of the text), ask a question about the text, synthesize a reading, connect the reading to events and policies in the news, etc. For each of your tweets pertaining to this class, you must include the hashtag #urbaned. A bare minimum is one tweet per week (for a grade of C). Tweet meaningfully and thoughtfully to a community that is committed to urban education. You are expected to read the previous week’s tweets in #urbaned before each class and be prepared to discuss them. It is recommended that you favorite tweets you would like to discuss. Each week, two-to-three students will be responsible for kicking off the discussion.

Grassroots Activism in Education Website
Peer review of websites:  May 4th
Websites due:  May 15th at noon

This assignment is designed to enable you to see the action students, teachers, parents and communities are taking to ensure high-quality urban education.  You will gain valuable research skills and learn how to design a website that conveys information effectively.

Essential skills

  • Evaluating web-based and social media sources
  • Utilizing academic data bases
  • Analyzing scholarly and professional articles
  • Synthesizing various sources of information
  • Designing a user-friendly website
  • Establishing a hierarchy of information
  • Analyzing information through writing
  • Referencing sources (websites, social media, videos, images, and journal articles)

Components of the website

There is no pre-determined format for the website.  Part of your assignment is learning how to organize information effectively in order to convey content that others may utilize.  Here is what you must include:

  1. A description of your topic [this can be drawn from your analytic paper]
  2. A synthesis of the grassroots organizing on your topic (Who is involved? What is their message? How has their work affected their topic? What are the challenges they are facing?)
  3. Links to 8-10 webpages of grassroots organizations addressing this topic
  4. A two-to-three sentence description of each website
  5. Links to 8-10 social media connections addressing this topic (should not be redundant with webpages, although could be an individual involved in one of the organizations)
  6. A two-to-three sentence description of each social media link
  7. A synthesis of two peer-reviewed journal articles on this topic (must have been published in last 3 years)
  8. A synthesis of two practitioner-oriented articles on this topic (must have been published in last 3 years)
  9. A 750-word statement about what you have learned about grassroots organizing and urban education through this project.
  10. APA references for all cited material and images.