Creating Change in the Large Urban Public Schools of the United States

By Heyman, Ernest L.; Vigil, Peter | Forum on Public Policy: A Journal of the Oxford Round Table, Summer 2008 | Go to article overview

Creating Change in the Large Urban Public Schools of the United States


Heyman, Ernest L., Vigil, Peter, Forum on Public Policy: A Journal of the Oxford Round Table


Introduction

The United States prides itself on providing an opportunity for the poor to improve their circumstances by taking advantage of a public education. However, over the last several decades minority groups, particularly Hispanic, Native-, and African-American, which make up a disproportionately large part of the poor, have had a difficult time taking advantage of this educational opportunity (1). In spite of policy efforts as broad ranging as No Child Left Behind (NCLB), more than fifty-years since Brown v. Board of Education, and a nationwide reconsideration of educational equity, the major tension points and associated problems have pretty much remained the same: low test scores, high dropout and absentee rates, high suspension rates, and problems related to prejudice (2). While federal legislation such as NCLB undoubtedly influences the direction and decisions of policy makers at the state level, for many stakeholders the issues often stall at the local level. Administrators and boards of education have the responsibility to see that the appropriate policies are in place and the needed changes are made. Across the U.S. large urban school districts are experimenting with policies and procedures aimed at improving educational opportunity and accountability. Many urban school boards have tried a variety of research-driven approaches in attempting to solve the unique and persistent challenges to urban education, which have variously emphasized improved achievement, grade reconfiguration, charter schools, and most recently in Denver, releasing individual schools from certain contract provisions (3). Some of these approaches have been tried multiple times, and often with great intensity. These solutions have, by and large, just not worked. The various boards may be faulted for trying to solve the problems by taking the wrong approach, but they cannot be blamed for lack of effort. Over the last thirty years, the problems of the large urban school districts, such as Denver and Detroit, have essentially remained the same. The answers are simply not that easy to come by. There are no simplistic answers, and the frustration level of everyone remains high.

The premise of this paper is that solutions to the above problems reside in the identification of the changes that must be made by each of the major stakeholders. Taking responsibility for solving these problems means each stakeholder must say, "What can we do differently to move the district's students toward success, once and for all?" Below, several key issues are identified for consideration. First, we begin by identifying four principal assumptions.

1. Minority students in large urban school districts are just as capable and have the same potential as students from any other school district.

2. Teachers in the urban schools are as well trained and as competent as the teachers from other school districts.

3. Minority parents and the various community groups care deeply about the education of their children.

4. Racism and prejudice continue to exist and take a painful toll in the large urban public schools.

Numbers two and four present a question of possible incongruity. Could school personnel be both competent and racist? This question will be discussed below. Number two contends that school personnel are competent, but that does not mean that they cannot improve, and that is precisely what will be addressed in the conclusion.

A review of the literature concerning urban school problems revealed issues involving each of the major stakeholders. The following sections identify specific concerns requiring examination and change. The first stakeholder to be reviewed will be the teachers.

The Teachers. Public school instructors are often blamed for the failure of the large urban public schools, and frequently their capabilities are brought into question. In an attempt to improve teacher performance, new tougher teacher licensure requirements have been mandated by statute (Colorado Senate Bill 99-154).

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Creating Change in the Large Urban Public Schools of the United States
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.