David Tyack and Larry Cuban have created the notion that education reform is an iterative process directed toward some type of social utopia. By learning our history, looking for clues in that history that match up to current scenarios, we can make better choices in reforming our education system. Looking specifically at our urban schools, however, their deterioration and resegregation defies pattern.
Schools in urban centers started out separate, and as we became a more industrialized culture, whites began to flee the cities, leaving the factory workers and a dwindling tax base to their own devices. When the automobile came into more homes across the country, suburbanization sped up and the urban schools became poorer. On October 4, 1957, the Soviet Union launched Sputnik and the US realized that she wasn't the most intellectually advanced nation in the world. Who looked the stupidest? Wasn't the white suburban kids. Lack of funds and fingers being pointed at the urban schools didn't make it more attractive to stay in the cities. They became somehow more dangerous. Does this sound like an iterative process aimed at some utopia? If so, whose utopia is that?
So, the question is: Is the urban utopia the same as the suburban utopia? If not, why do they have the same learning standards? If "The Academy" was in an inner city, how should their curriculum differ from their suburban counterparts? In the Cornel West interview, he said: "Louis Armstrong would have been on the other side of the achievement gap, I don't give a god damn. Give me Louis Armstrong."
Click the title above to witness a VERY POWERFUL look that speaks to these issues by a friend who thinks very deeply about education reform.
Some of the best recommended readings (from the sidebar):
-Tyack, D. & Cuban, L. (1995)