19 Urban Questions: Teaching in the City

By Shirley R. Steinberg; Joe L. Kincheloe | Go to book overview

CHAPTER SIX

How Do We Locate
Resistance in Urban
Schools?

Luis F. Mirón

Like most institutions funded with taxpayer monies, public schools must honor the laws of the country. Beginning with passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, discrimination because of race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, or religion has become forbidden. For example, it is against the law for any public school or university to deny admission to immigrants (legal or illegal) because of their noncitizen status. However, many building administrators and classroom teachers believe that if they follow the guidelines of federal laws, their schools will be protected from discrimination, racism, and prejudice. Educators assume that by following the letter of the law, the spirit of the law will be honored and respected. Research and knowledge of professional practice tell us differently. More precisely dejure desegregation is equated with educational equality.

Desegregation of Little Rock, Arkansas, public schools after the passage of the historic Brown v. Board of Education decision unleashed nearly a half century of externally generated reforms of urban public schools. Today public schools are situated differently as the global political economy, and the worldwide concentration of capital in particular, has caused a host of demographic and other pressures on urban schools (see Lipman, 2002). Urban schools are now resegregated and notoriously underfunded in comparison with their more affluent suburban counterparts. Furthermore, they are perhaps somewhat academically weakened owing in part to the influx of immigrant populations who arrive with limited English, low family incomes, and a lack of cultural support for learning. This context is similar to the historical circumstances of inner-city schools serving poor students of

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