University Of California at Berkeley

Graduate School of Education

Urban Education

ED 283F

Spring 2013

Overview / Course Description:

The term “urban education” dominates much of the popular and academic discourse around education and public schooling. Rarely, however, is this concept fully defined, understood, deconstructed, or challenged.

When the conversation turns specifically to “urban schools”, they are frequently described as “failing”.

They are often characterized as unsafe and ineffective, criticized for low levels of student achievement and high drop out rates, and castigated for bureaucratic dysfunction and political corruption. Urban educational reform efforts focus on equity as the key to transformation.

But what does “educational equity” mean in an urban context? How will we know when we’ve achieved it? A closer examination of the challenges confronting urban public schools reveals that their problems are inextricably connected to the social, economic and political conditions present within the urban environment and the larger society (and world).

micia coursework

This course will provide students with a setting where we can learn about these issues through open, critical discussion and activities; and together we will work toward developing an understanding of how they might be addressed.

Course Goals:

The first goal is to provide students with practical experience in using research to address the problems and issues confronting urban public schools.

A second goal of the course is to provide students with substantive knowledge; information and perspectives related to the complex issues facing urban schools

The final goal of the course is to help students make connections between theory, research, policy and practice in order to strengthen our ability to act as leaders, educators and researchers on the complex issues influencing the academic performance of students and schools in urban areas.

University of Massachusetts at BostonCollege of Education and Human Development Critical and Creative Thinking Program



Summer 2012 Syllabus (online)


This course explores two related forms of education-antiracist education andmulticultural education-approaching them as issues in moral and value education and exploring controversies in the theories and practices of antiracist and multicultural education.

The course deals with both practical and theoretical issues but concentrates more on theory. Specific topics include racism, race, and school achievement; ethnic identity and self-esteem; Afrocentrism; religious pluralism; multiculturalism as a unifying or divisive force.

Each week involves a 2-hour synchronous session as well as peer-to-peer written engagements via on-line posts.

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