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Urban Schools: Crisis and Revolution describes America's inner-city public schools and the failure of most to provide even a minimally adequate education for their students. With numerous examples, James Deneen and Carm Catanese argue that these failures are preventable. Early chapters document the two-tiered character of American public schools, the tragic consequences of failing schools for millions of students—mostly Black and Hispanic—and the financial costs to American society. In later chapters, Deneen and Catanese describe the special problems of inner-city schools and the changes in school organization and curriculum needed to overcome them. They also provide examples of schools in severely disadvantaged communities in which such changes have enabled students to succeed academically, graduate, and enter college. In the final chapters, the authors examine the public and non-public school options available to urban parents. They discuss school choice, a hotly debated issue in urban education. The book concludes with a plan, consisting of six recommendations, for reforming a failing urban school.
For more than a decade, school choice has been a flashpoint in debates about our nation's schooling. Perhaps the most commonly advanced argument for school choice is the notion that markets will force public schools to improve, particularly in those urban areas where improvement has proved so elusive. However, the question of how public schools respond to market conditions has received surprisingly little attention. Revolution at the Margins examines the impact of school vouchers and charter schooling on three urban school districts, explores the causes of the behavior observed, and explains how the structure of competition is likely to shape the way it affects the future of public education. The book draws on research conducted in three school districts at the center of the school choice debate during the 1990s: Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Cleveland, Ohio; and Edgewood, Texas. Case studies examine each of these three districts from the inception of their local school choice program through the conclusion of the 1999 school year. The three school districts studied did not respond to competition by emphasizing productivity or efficiency. Instead, under pressure to provide some evidence of response, administrators tended to expand public relations efforts and to chip holes in the rules, regulations, and procedures that regulate public sector organizations. Inefficient practices were not rooted out, but some rules and procedures that protect employees and vocal constituencies were relaxed. Public school systems are driven by political logic, according to Hess, and their incentives lead them to respond generally through symbolic and metaphorical gestures. Choice-induced changes in public school systems will be shaped by public governance, the market context in which they operate, and their organizational characteristics. Revolution at the Margins encourages scholars and policymakers to think more carefully about the costs and benefits of educational competition, to understand how competitive effects will be heavily shaped by the outcomes of more conventional efforts to reform schooling, and to reevaluate some of the facile promises of market-based education reform.
Connecting with Students: Strategies for Building Rapport with Urban Learners focuses on how educators can efficiently establish ongoing rapport with each student through three simple steps: Seeing beyond barriers, sharing their intentions, and showing their "face". Chapter details are narrated through anecdotal experiences, confirmed by research, and seconded by actual urban learners. Educators are prompted to consistently reflect on their classroom practices and implement new strategies and techniques. This text will provide immediate strategies and techniques to build relational capacity in the urban classroom, so that frustration levels are lowered, classroom management is enhanced and academic deficiencies can be addressed. The content of the text is delivered in a multi-genre format. Within the narration there are several true anecdotes, analogies, extended metaphors, dialogue, and genuine student reflections on teaching.
Having worked for three decades to develop urban ministries, Campolo suggests ways that churches can help resurrect beleaguered inner cities, illustrating proven methods used in Camden, New Jersey.
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