Tangled Up in School: Politics, Space, Bodies, and Signs in the Educational Process

By Jan Nespor | Go to book overview
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2 A Tangle of Cities, Corporations, and Kids

Discourses that speak for and against the city, then, like all discourses, are strategic incursions into our imaginations.

-- Beauregard, 1995, p. 77

Several intertwined discourses were linked to the idea of information age pedagogy. One discourse portrayed cities as areas of decline, difference, and danger. Another portrayed the economy as shifting from a manufacturing base to one founded on knowledge- or communicationsbased services. Finally, a third cast education as the key to reinvigorating the city and to smoothing the transition in labor markets produced by the economic shifts. In this chapter I'll show how regional politics disseminated these discourses; then I'll look at how the discourses intersected (along with other flows of activity) at Thurber. I present a case study of a school-business collaboration, describe its ideological foundations and the stresses it created for teachers, and show how it ultimately floundered in the classroom. To begin, I sketch the urban context of Thurber's attempts to change.


INDUSTRIAL DECLINE AND ECONOMIC TRANSFORMATION

Imagine Roanoke as a circle divided into quadrants. The downtown sits at the center at the intersection of the railroad tracks and the interregional highways. The poorest neighborhoods cluster around this core. To the northeast and southeast several important commercial roads cut through European American working-class neighborhoods. The southwest contains the most affluent part of the city, with tree-lined streets, big yards, and large houses, both old and new. The northwest, on the other hand, is the poorest, the area where almost all the African

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Tangled Up in School: Politics, Space, Bodies, and Signs in the Educational Process
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