Urban Education    Education 2272      Spring 2017
Thursdays    6:30 – 9:25 pm     Adams 208

Doris Santoro


Riley House 209


Office Hours:

Tuesdays 3:00-5:00pm

Wednesdays 9:30-11:00am

Class email:

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.

Required Texts

In bookstore

Anyon, J. (2014). Radical Possibilities: Public Policy, Urban Education, and a New Social Movement. New York: Routledge.

Emdin, C. (2016). For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood …and the Rest of Y’all Too: Reality Pedagogy and Urban Education.

Picower, B. & Mayorga, E., eds. (2015). What’s Race Got To Do With It? How Current School Reform Policy Maintains Racial and Economic Inequality. New York: Peter Lang.

All other assigned readings are available via Blackboard and Library Reserves.

Please try searching for author and title as the titles may appear differently in library reserves. If you have trouble locating a reading, please contact a member of the library staff.

Course Requirements & Grading Policy

You are expected to attend every class, on time, prepared to participate in the discussion of the day’s assigned reading.  I appreciate your letting me know if you must be absent for a class meeting.

Letter of introduction – P/F

Reflective paper on research in urban school (4 pp.) – 10%

Weekly Tweets – 20%

Analytic paper (8 pp.) – 30%

Reform & activism website – 40%

Accommodations for Students with Disabilities

If you have a documented disability, please meet with me to ensure that we both understand the accommodations determined by the College.

Academic Honesty

  • Completion and submission of all assignments by the dates specified in the syllabus requirements for the course. Late assignments will not be accepted and will result in a grade of “F.”
  • Please refer to The Bowdoin College Academic Honor Code at

Course Topics, Outline & Due Dates

  • The Contexts & Purposes of Urban Public Schools •

1/26 – Introductions

Milner, “But What is Urban Education?”

Noguera, City Schools and the American Dream: Reclaiming the Promise of Public Education, Chapter 2 [jigsaw]


Fresh Air, How the Systemic Segregation of Schools Is Maintained by “Individual Choices


60 Years On: Segregation Is Not Yet American History

Separate and Unequal

2/2 –Katz, Improving Poor People: The Welfare State, the “Underclass,” and Urban Schools as History, Chapter 3

Massey & Denton, American Apartheid: Segregation and the Making of the Underclass, Chapters 1 & 5

Winfield, “Eugenics and Education in America”

**Letter of introduction due**

2/9 – Picower & Mayorga, “Introduction”

Lipman, “School Closings: The Nexus of White Supremacy, State Abandonment, and Accumulation of Dispossession” (in Picower & Mayorga, eds.)

Aggarwal, “School Choice: The Freedom to Choose, the Right to Exclude” (in Picower & Mayorga, eds.)

Southern Poverty Law Center, The Trump Effect: The Impact of the 2016 National Election on Our Nation’s Schools

Strauss, “Almost All the Students Here are Refugees and They Speak 16 Uncommon Languages. How This School Makes it Work


Blackboard resources about Portland Public Schools

2/10 – Field research in Portland Public Schools

Presumpscot Elementary, Lyman Moore Middle School and Portland High School

**Leaving at 7:00 a.m. and returning by 3:00 p.m.**

2/16 – Anyon, Radical Possibilities: Public Policy, Urban Education and a New Social Movement, Introduction & Parts I-III

Duncan & Murnane, Whither Opportunity, Executive Summary

Brown, “Philanthrocapitalism: Race, Political Spectacle and the Marketplace of Beneficence in a New York City School” (in Mayorga & Picower, eds.)

  • Teaching & Learning in Urban Schools •

2/23 – Emdin, For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood…and the Rest of Y’all Too: Reality Pedagogy and Urban Education

**Reflective paper on field research due**

3/2 – Quinner and a movie at 6:00 p.m. at Mac House The Year We Talked About Love

Blackburn & McCready, “Voices of Queer Youth in Urban Schools: Possibilities and Limitations”

ANDChoose 2 of the following

Kohli, “Unpacking internalized racism: teachers of color striving for racially just classrooms”

Lapayese, Aldana & Lara, “A Racio-conomic Analysis of Teach for America: Counterstories of TFA Teachers of Color”

Jones, “Keys to the Schoolhouse: Black Teachers, Privatization, and the Future of Teacher Unions” (in Picower & Mayorga, eds.)

White, “Charter Schools: Demystifying Whiteness in a Market of ‘No Excuses’ Corporate-Styled Charter Schools” (in Picower & Mayorga, eds.)

3/9 – Library workshop (6:30-8:00)

Barkan, “Hired Guns on Astroturf: How to Buy and Sell School Reform

Buras, “Grassroots educational organizing in an era of venture capital”

Hartney, “Education reform from the grassroots: How and when parents can shape policy

Anderson, “Why White Students Need More Teachers of Color–For White Students”

**Spring Break**

3/30– Chris Emdin, “What it Takes To Be a Scientist: Employing Reality Pedagogy To Transform Schools and Society,” Kresge Auditorium, 7:00 p.m.

**Analytic Paper Due**

  • Grassroots Activism in Urban Schools and their Communities •

(((I made some changes in order – students need to be alerted…)))

4/6 – Anyon, Radical Possibilities, Part IV

Warren, “Communities and Schools: A New View of Urban Education Reform”

4/13 – Tintiangco-Cubales, Daus-Magbual, & Daus-Magbual, “Pin@y Educational Partnerships A Counter-Pipeline to Create Critical Educators”

Benson, TBD

Catone, TBD

4/20– Taines, “Intervening in Alienation: The Outcomes for Urban Youth of Participating in School Activism”

Warren, Mira & Niundiwe, “Youth Organizing: From Youth Development to School Reform”

Conner, Zaino & Scarola, “‘Very Powerful Voices’: The Influence of Youth Organizing on Educational Policy in Philadelphia”

Kirshner, “‘Not down with the shut down’: student activism against school closure”

4/27– Rogers & Oakes, “John Dewey Speaks to Brown: Research, Democratic Social Movement Strategies, and the Struggle for Education on Equal Terms”

Oakes & Rogers, Learning Power: Organizing for Education and Justice, Chapter 7

Renée & McAlister, “The Strengths and Challenges of Community Organizing as an Education Reform Strategy: What the Research Says”

5/4 – **Website demos & peer review

5/15 – Websites due at 12:00pm (noon)