Article written by

Nadine Hylton

Nadine is pursuing a Ph.D. in Education Policy at the Warner School. Having received her K-12 education in Jamaica, where school choice is the norm, Nadine has developed an interest in urban-suburban schools as a way to mitigate the disparity between the experiences of urban and suburban students.

5 Responses

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  1. Andrew Thomas
    Andrew Thomas at |

    Outstanding points.  I totally agree.  As you state, Kelley Williams-Bolar’s actions and subsequent conviction are the unfortunate symptoms of the inequalities of our public education system.  One can easily imagine it going the other way, as in the case of Wake County Schools in North Carolina, which established long standing policies that support racial and socioeconomic diversity and equitable access (see related articles below).  Unfortunately, this responsible and socially progressive policy is being dismantled by community elites who are in favor of re-segregated “community schools”.  For more info visit: http://articles.latimes.com/2011/feb/05/nation/la-na-diversity-20110206 and http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/01/19/stephen-colbert-wake-county-schools_n_811048.html?ref=fb&src=sp

  2. Dwayne Campbell
    Dwayne at |

    Great points Andrew and Nadine; but I have a problem with an education policy that addresses inequality and inequity by discriminating on the basis of race.  In effect, this is what the urban-suburban program does, since white students are not allowed to participate in this program.  Poor White students in urban communities deserve as much a chance at an “effective schooling” as their poor Black counterparts are few times afforded through the limited urban-suburban programs.  In fact, all students deserve a high level of education, whether they reside in an urban, rural or suburban community. And since the urban-suburban program only takes a few non-White urban students into suburban communities, is it the intention (covert or overt) to continue making urban schools unattractive to suburban students and their parents? Is the implication that suburban students have little or nothing to gain from urban students in urban communities? Perhaps what we should do is change how schools are funded, and make meaningful changes to ensure that all schools are attractive, regardless of their zip codes.  This way, Williams-Bolar and other poor parents won’t have to lie to escape the education injustice that attempts to blight the dreams and aspirations of many urban families.


    I remain impressed at the dedication and expertise that teachers in urban schools possess, and I continue to hope that other stakeholders will join them in ensuring that urban students have a fair chance at meritocracy.

  3. Nadine Hylton
    Nadine Hylton at |

    While it may appear to some individuals that the urban-suburban program promotes inequality and inequity in education on the basis of race, such a program is needed unfortunately to alleviate systematic inequalities that are found in the nation’s education system, as Andrew notes. Dwayne I agree with you that the systems in place for school funding must be changed in order to remove the need for such race-based education policies such as urban-suburban and create an atmosphere for the even exchange of ideas and learning amongst students of all racial and socio-economic groups.

  4. Nahoko
    Nahoko at |

    Nadine, thank you for this thoughtful entry.  The conversation around inequities that exist between different schools, particularly between urban, suburban, and rural schools raises two main questions for me, and echoes the points that Dwayne raises.  One, is the difference in financial resources the primary factor for the difference in quality of education between urban and suburban schools?  Secondly, how can we move the conversation to address how we define “high-quality education”?
    The current funding model based on property taxes as a huge chunk of revenue for local public school funding means that schools in affluent areas with higher property values will have a greater advantage than schools that are located in areas that have a higher concentration of poverty and lower property values.  Some students and families that attend schools with greater resources also supplement, if not substitute, extracurricular and academic preparation in addition to what is already offered in the schools, giving them a huge advantage towards currently defined academic achievement over students whose families do not have the same resources (often concentrated in the urban areas).  Would changing the funding revenues for schools that is less based on property tax have an impact on the quality of education that schools can provide?
    My second question regarding how we define ‘quality education’ is of greater concern to me.  I believe that no matter how prominent a suburban school district may be, it may be failing to provide a quality education due to the lack of diverse perspectives that are represented or recognized in the classrooms.  In higher education, the Grutter v. Bollinger (2003) case demonstrated that a diverse student body increases the quality of education for ALL students.  I am concerned for the lack of exposure to conflicting and differing perspectives and dialogue that is often lacking in exclusive school environment that uses people’s (in)ability to afford where where they can live as an insulation from a larger community.  If we can move beyond individual’s benefits that are on a track to a ‘better’ college, and a ‘better job’, but rather focus the purpose of education towards actualizing individual’s uniqueness within the context of an interrelated local, national, and global community, and cultivate the ability to address locally defined challenges, I think it would be a good start.
     

  5. George Queen
    George Queen at |

    Hi Nadine, I just want to say that I enjoyed reading the articles in this site.. Thank you.. Keep posting!

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