Education in Urban Areas: Cross-National Dimensions

Education in Urban Areas: Cross-National Dimensions

Education in Urban Areas: Cross-National Dimensions

Education in Urban Areas: Cross-National Dimensions

Synopsis

Dimensions peculiar to urban life, such as high population density, proximity to power centers, heterogeneity of residents in terms of class and ethnicity, susceptibility to political action, and tensions between rich and poor, have considerable impact on educational policies. Important studies have been conducted on urban conditions in the developed world, but few studies on education in Third World cities have appeared. This volume looks at urban problems related to education cross-nationally, beginning with a careful definition of what is distinctly urban in educational settings. Chapters on trends and issues, bureaucratic dynamics, disparities and inequities, goals, neighborhood movements, politics, and the experience of women and marginal students round out this internationally contributed volume.

Excerpt

The subject of this book derives from a western regional conference of the Comparative and International Education Society (CIES) held on 15-16 November 1991. At that time, given its sponsor (the School of Education at the University of Southern California) and its location (Los Angeles, California), it seemed appropriate to organize a conference that would highlight the particular physical, demographic, and social features of the city that have substantial implications for the educational system. Living in Los Angeles does convey a sense of "urban-ness" that is inescapable. the vast spread of its population, the large distances between points of interest, the rich cultural and ethnic diversity, and the strong differentiation among neighborhoods are features that permeate everyday living, give a particular feeling to urban life and fill the people on its contrasting streets and crowded freeways simultaneously with hope and despair. in many ways, Los Angeles is at the threshold of the future.

Professor Michael Dear, from the Department of Geography at usc, gave the keynote speech at this cies conference and entitled his presentation "Taking Los Angeles Seriously: Time and Space in the Post-Modern City." He described Los Angeles as postmodern in the sense that it is characterized by complication and fragmentation: "In post-modern thought all rationalities disappear. No new single rationality emerges and a tremendous diversity rushes to fill this vacuum." Social life, he said, is engraved in a space/time fabric, and in Los Angeles this fabric has been stretched to such a point that we cannot now recognize its coordinates. His view of Los Angeles was that of "a First-

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