School Social Workers and Urban Education Reform with African American Children and Youth: Realities, Advocacy, and Strategies for Change

By Teasley, Martell | School Community Journal, Fall 2004 | Go to article overview

School Social Workers and Urban Education Reform with African American Children and Youth: Realities, Advocacy, and Strategies for Change


Teasley, Martell, School Community Journal


Abstract

After over 40 years of education reform policies and strategies, America continues its need for systemic education reform. The greatest challenge confronting the nation remains within large urban metropolises where large numbers of minority students attend underfunded and low-performing schools with low standardized test scores and high dropout rates. African American children and youth constitute over 50% of all students in urban school systems. The social work profession has a long history of advocacy with urban minority students dating back to the beginning of the 20th century. Yet, the appropriate body of knowledge that either conceptually or empirically documents practice methods by school social workers practicing within urban school settings with African American students does not exist. In a solution-oriented presentation with implications for school social work practice, advocacy, and research, the author will first review past and present education reform measures. The discussion then turns to ways in which the social work profession can address major issues of education reform with a clear understanding of the educational needs of urban African American children and youth using macro, mezzo, and micro practice measures.

Key Words: education reform, social work advocacy, social work practice, urban school systems

Introduction

At the beginning of the 21st century, changing demographic and economic patterns and past inequalities continue to alter the landscape of schools; as such, America continues its systemic need for education reform.The greatest challenge confronting education reform is within large urban metropolises where large numbers of minority students attend underfunded and lowperforming schools with low standardized test scores and high dropout rates. Thesocial work profession has a long history of advocacy with urban minority students dating back to the beginning of the 20th century. However, despite the linkage between social work values and education reform, there seems to be little movement inside the profession that addresses the complexities of urban education reform. "Even though the goal for equal educational opportunity is supported by the values held by the social work profession, the profession's commitment to its achievement and record of accomplishment are not what they should be" (Allen-Meares, Washington, & Welsh, 1996, p. 7).

Urban America contains the nation's 25 largest school systems and is populated by minority majorities, mainly African Americans and Hispanics. According to the U.S. Census Bureau (McKinnon, 2003), 47% of those attending inner city public schools are African American, and they constitute another 25% of those attending urban public schools. In all, 76% of all students within the domain of inner city and urban residences attending elementary and secondary education (grades 1-12) are African American children and youth (Jamieson, Curry, & Martinez, 2001). What is more, while the general rate of poverty in the U.S. for children under 18 was 16% in 2001, for black children the rate was 30%, with 4 out of 5 impoverished African American families residing in urban communities (McKinnon).

The educational needs of African American youth are disproportionately affected by the problems associated with urban public schools. In terms of school performance, the problems are multifocal for urban African Americans. A 1998 study released by Education Week revealed that most students in urban public schools were failing to perform at the basic level of educational achievement (Viteritti, 1999). In the same study, only 40% of 4th and 8th graders in urban districts had satisfactory scores on national reading, math, and science exams, whereas "nearly two-thirds of all students in suburban and rural districts met or exceeded standards" (Viteritti, p. 7). Many black children drop below grade level starting in elementary school and continue to fall behind each school year until, by age 16, at least 35% are below grade level (Yeakey & Bennett, 1990). …

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

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 ...
Default project is now your active project.
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.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

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

School Social Workers and Urban Education Reform with African American Children and Youth: Realities, Advocacy, and Strategies for Change
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
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?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access 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

    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.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.