Posts Tagged 'urban education'

When One Door Closes…

2972235208_f249b6a3c4_b.jpgBy Amanda Szramiak – On my last blog, I talked about my rejection from Teach for America. This week I have some more positive news to share.

I was offered to teach summer school with the Center for Urban Teaching, and I am so immensely excited. Though I am not sure what school or grade I will teach, I will be teaching! It is so exciting to finally be able to say I am going to be teaching for longer than a period or two. Others may be frightened by the 7a.m. to 5p.m. time commitment for six weeks, but I am truly overjoyed with the opportunity. I have been reaching out to some of my friends and colleagues who have been affiliated with CfUT, so if you are, please don’t hesitate to give me advice.

The Center for Urban Teaching’s main purpose is to “identify, prepare, and support high performing urban teachers.” Their values of being spiritually focused, respectful, courageous, perseverant, and dedicated coincide with my beliefs on what it takes to be a powerful teacher. I think having an organization instill these values in their teachers helps to ensure that the teachers will also inspire their students. Not only does CfUT want to enhance student achievement, but they also want to aid and support urban teachers to become high performing.

I think this experience coupled with my field experiences will give me all the valuable tools needed in order for me to be considered successful in my future classroom.

A Proposal for Teach for America

change-671371_640By Nick McDaniels – Hey, TFA. I’ve got an idea.

As you know, good teachers are important and class size matters. As you also know, your bloated budget allows you to have hundreds of employees who don’t actually teach students, but, rather, support teachers who teach students. And as you also know, despite this amazing level of support, your teachers perform at about as well as traditionally trained teachers who don’t have this support.

How about this? How about you take all these supporting cast members, and put them back into the classroom. Instead of having your best teachers working out of your offices, supporting your teachers, put them into schools, where they can teach students, and offer support to your other teachers, and newer teachers from other backgrounds.

Would this diminish the level of support that new teachers could get from these supporting crew members? Absolutely!

Would this also allow your best teachers to be directly in front of children? Absolutely!

Would this allow all students in schools to enjoy smaller class sizes? Absolutely!

So why don’t you do it? Why don’t you do what you do best? Fundraise! Generate the funds to put your best teachers back into the classroom. Donate the money to school districts to hire back your support teachers. And then use the remaining funds to pay your support teachers for additional “Teach for America” branded support, complete with all the lingo and a copy of Doug Lemov’s book, Teach Like a Champion.

The impact could be huge if you shifted your organizational strategy to have as much direct contact with students as possible. It’s certainly worth a shot, if you really want to have a positive impact on children.

David Stovall to Visit Marquette University

Join us for the 2013 Tommy G. Thompson Lecture featuring Peter McWalters
DR. DAVID STOVALL, University of Illinois – Chicago Revisiting Race Against the Post-Racial Myth: Life, Death and the Fight Against Disposability

You are cordially invited to join us for a chat with Dr. David Stovall on Thursday, October 24, 2013.

David Stovall is an Associate Professor of Educational Policy Studies and African-American Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). He studies the influence of race in urban education, community development, and housing. His work investigates the significance of race in the quality of schools located in communities that are changing both racially and economically. From a practical and theoretical perspective, his research draws from Critical Race Theory, educational policy analysis, sociology, urban planning, political science, community organizing, and youth culture.
Thursday, October 24, 2013
4:30 p.m.
Raynor Library, Beaumier Suite A
1355 West Wisconsin Avenue Marquette University
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A meeting of the Alliance of Black School Educators – Marquette University featuring extended conversation with Dr. Stovall will follow from 6:30 -8:30 p.m. Those interested in hearing Stovall speak about Chicago Public Schools or learning more about ABSE-MU are encouraged to attend. Pizza will be served.
Sponsored by the office of Dr. William Welburn, the Department of Educational Policy and Leadership in the College of Education, and the Alliance of Black School Educators-Marquette University.


Preparing All Students for Success — Yes, Even Students in Urban Areas!

Male_African_American_StudentBy Gabrielle Gray — Walking into school on the first day I was surrounded by bright smiles and eager minds that were excited to be back after summer vacation.

As I looked into the eyes of my students I could not help but to think of the common statistics that are casually thrown around to discuss the achievement gap for the city of Milwaukee:

  • Black students in Wisconsin have lower average fourth- and eighth-grade reading scores than Black students in any other state (U.S. Department of Education);
  • in 2008, only one in ten college students from the lowest income quartile earned a bachelor’s degree by their 24th birthday, compared to 77 percent of college students from the highest income quartile (;
  • Milwaukee has one of the lowest Black male high school graduation rates in the country at 24% (White, 2008).

Despite common discussions of this gap, one important question has yet to be answered satisfactorily- who is concerned for their success?

It is clear to me that there are no inherent differences between Black and Hispanic students from White students, or affluent students from poor students besides a matter of situational circumstances. Students that live in urban areas and attend schools in the city, whether they be public or charter, are no different from students elsewhere.

Like students all over the United States, the freshman are still nervous on their first day of high school as they walk in with book bags stuffed with enough school supplies to last them for all four years; the jocks are still raising their hands eagerly asking about the first day of tryouts, and seniors are starting off the year with their dose of senioritis and ready to let the excuses roll out of their mouths.

So, where does the major separation rest? What deficiencies do these “urban” students have that have not been exasterebated by poor schooling and a lack of concern for their futures?

Instead of preparing society to deal with an uneducated class of people, let us as educators prepare all students for a life of academic growth and professional success.  If they do not deserve the right to a quality education, then why do others?

What I Did This Summer: Discovering Why I’m Here

By Megan Morman — After being nearly convinced that I would have to spend the summer completely uselessly due to a lack of job opportunities, I saw the email from Dean Henk that informed Marquette’s College of Education students about a summer tutoring opportunity for the Milwaukee Summer Reading Project.

I was first drawn to the fact that it was a reading program, which, since I’m an English major, is my favorite subject to teach. Secondly, the entire program was created “in response to the recent reports of reading failure in Milwaukee Public School.”

I later learned that, more specifically, Wisconsin’s black fourth graders had the worst reading scores this year than black students anywhere else in the country. Dr. Fuller, Dr. Ellis, and others put together this program quickly, but with a lot of heart. Dr. Fuller expressed his outrage to all the summer employees concerning not only the reading scores, but even more how unconcerned others seemed.

The leaders of the program, the student support staff, and the donors represented the Milwaukee community coming together to show that we care about these students and are committed to doing what we can to address this problem – now. The student support staff, or literacy tutors, came from all different backgrounds, ages, and fields of study ranging from high school students to education students to nursing students. I was proud to be a part of such a diverse and hard-working team, one that was so committed to the children in MPS. Continue reading ‘What I Did This Summer: Discovering Why I’m Here’

What I Did This Summer: Discovering Successful Urban Education in the Big Apple

By Kelly ObrochtaAlthough procrastination is hard to resist during the school year, I found out a few weeks ago that it is even harder to combat during the summer!

This fact really hit home only two short weeks before traveling to New York City with the Center for Urban Teaching at Wisconsin Lutheran College.  At that point the reality of having to read five books by the time my plane took off hit me!  Needless to say, I spent many hours locked in my house during those two weeks ensuring that I had finished all of the books.  Each one proved to be very beneficial to my NYC experience (even giving me some relevant quotes I could share in this post).

Our director, Dr. Ray Dusseau, had hand-selected texts that would complement what we would see on our visit.  The books were full of suggestions and teaching ideas that will be very helpful in my future teaching.  The list included: Nothing’s Impossible by Lorraine Monroe, Ordinary Resurrections by Jonathan Kozol, “Ordinary” Children, Extraordinary Teachers by Marva Collins, Black Students, Middle Class Teachers by Jawanza Kunjufu, and Lighting Their Fires by Rafe Esquith. Continue reading ‘What I Did This Summer: Discovering Successful Urban Education in the Big Apple’

From Movie Clips to Leadership to Scholarship to Stewardship

By Bill Henk — How’s that for a catchy title, readers?  It happens when one’s mind engages in a kind of associative thinking some might call stream of consciousness.  One concept triggers another one that triggers still another and so on.

Actually, it’s not as simple as “one thing leads to another,” but it provides a reasonable backdrop for explaining how the particular mix of educational topics in this post ended up here.  Think of it as a look into the way at least one Education dean’s mind works. It might help to know that the other “clever” title I considered was, “Some Hopefully Meaningful Mental Musings and Meanderings.”

Be forewarned that my seemingly random and chaotic thinking could prove hard to follow and may be just plain weird.  But somehow the theme never wavers away from Education. Continue reading ‘From Movie Clips to Leadership to Scholarship to Stewardship’

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