19 Urban Questions: Teaching in the City

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

CHAPTER SEVENTEEN

Why Is Health
an Urban Issue?
Asthma: A Case in Point

Leah Henry-Beauchamp

Tina Siedler

We never signed up for this e-tour of duty. I knew being a
parent was going to be hard. It was expected that our chil-
dren would get sick, but the hospital, the medicine, the worry
was never what we had in mind…. I hate asthma! Asthma
makes me feel helpless in my ability to help my own son. It's
terrifying when taking a simple breath becomes a chore.

Mother of a four-year-old

When students enter a teacher education program, they expect courses in curriculum, methods, and content knowledge. Colleges of education place emphasis on meeting the needs of teacher certification for individual states, preparing students for exams and assessment, and, on occasion, teaching about diversity and cultural difference. Preservice teachers do not enter a program expecting courses on or even mention of issues of health and safety. The occasional mention of urban health usually centers on problems with drugs and alcohol. In fact, images of the bad health of urban dwellers are obsessed with the consequences of addiction, crime victimization, and/or the dangers of sexual encounters. Issues like low birth weight, infant mortality, lead paint poisoning, poor diet, and the dangers of transportation are ignored. Teachers who plan to teach in urban areas must become well versed in the identification and treatment of both symptoms and diseases that are endemic to the city environment. In this chapter, I will discuss only asthma and its ramifications on young children. This chapter should serve as a model for teacher educators and teachers in what details are needed in order to educate those who are attempting to educate our urban children. I encourage readers to collect equal information on other ailments that are particularly serious in our cities.


Asthma: The Specifics

Asthma is a serious health issue that affects millions of urban children. The number of children diagnosed with asthma has steadily increased over the past ten

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