Educational Resilience in Inner-City America: Challenges and Prospects

Educational Resilience in Inner-City America: Challenges and Prospects

Educational Resilience in Inner-City America: Challenges and Prospects

Educational Resilience in Inner-City America: Challenges and Prospects

Synopsis

The story of life in inner-city America and the education of its people is often recounted as a tragedy; the ending is often predictable and usually dire, highlighting deficiency, failure, and negative trends. As with most social problems, children and youth in the inner cities are hit hardest. But this dismal view is only half of the full picture. The cities of our nation are a startling juxtaposition between the despairing and the hopeful, between disorganization and restorative potential. Alongside the poverty and unemployment, the street-fights and drug deals, are a wealth of cultural, economic, educational, and social resources. Often ignored are the resilience and the ability for adaptation which help many who are seemingly confined by circumstance to struggle and succeed "in the face of the odds." This book helps to broaden the utilization of ways to magnify the circumstances known to enhance development and education, so that the burden of adversity is reduced and opportunities are advanced for all children and youth -- especially the children and youth of the inner cities who are in at-risk circumstances. The focus is on:
• raising consciousness about the opportunities available to foster resilience among children, families, and communities, and
• synthesizing the knowledge base that is central to implementing improvements which serve to better the circumstances and educational opportunities of children and families. This volume is intended for a wide audience of readers, but particularly those who are in a position to shape public policy and deliver educational and human services.

Excerpt

The story of inner-city life in the United States, and the education of its people, is often told as though it were a tragedy; the ending is often predictable and usually dire, highlighting deficiency, failure, and negative trends. The lives of many inner-city children and families across this country are indeed in disorder, and they are floundering, as are the community agencies to which they traditionally turn for help. As with all social problems and the modern morbidities of our time, children and youth in the inner cities are hit hardest. At a time when they should be learning more and developing broader competencies in better schools, the trend is disastrously otherwise. They should be provided with support for healthy development and constructively engaged in stimulating exchanges with the educational and cultural institutions of their community, but they are not.

But this dismal view is only half the picture. U.S. cities are a startling juxtaposition between the despairing and the hopeful, between disorganization and restorative potential. Alongside the poverty and the unemployment, the street fights and the drug deals, are a wealth of cultural, economic, educational, and social resources. Such resources can and should be cultivated and mobilized to enhance the capacity for education in the cities. Often ignored are the ability for adaptation and the resilience that help many who are seemingly confined by circumstance to struggle and succeed "in the face of the odds." Perhaps more than any other group, educators are expected to shoulder the burden of these odds--the enormous demographic transformations in the cities, the vast reshaping of U.S. families, the upswing in poverty, and the loss . . .

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