Resources for Understanding

Urban Education

Your Resources

Big picture issues

Help in the classroom

Learn @ my school

Connect to Educ Issues


How do I become a teacher


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Key Links:

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2008 Urban Ed January Program Blog: All participants in the 2008 Program will be enrolled as authors on this blog. It will be a place to post observations, readings, and serve as informational clearinghouse. Smith students will be required post as part of their Fellowship commitment.


What is the big picture of urban education?

***You will need a free NY Times subscription***

What it Takes to Make a Student: November 2006 cover story by Paul Tough in the New York Times Magazine examines what schools must do to help poor children perform better.

  What no schools can do. By James Traub, The New York Times-A provocative cover story from the New York Times Magazine that explores why educational reform has for the most part failed to dramatically improve student achievement in urban centers.

The Urban Report: A special edition of EdWeek examines issues in urban education from a variety of perspectives. Reading this report would give you a broad understanding of the many issues that urban educators struggle with in the quest to create successful schools for all students.

Video Profile of Joel Klein: New York City is the largest public school system in the U.S., by far. About 92,000 teachers, more than 1,300 schools and nearly 1.1 million students. How big is that? Only nine cities in the U.S. have that many people. Chancellor Joel Klein runs the system. John Merrow asks, how is Klein doing in what President Bush once called 'the toughest job in America'? We take a look back and a look forward in this profile of Joel Klein.

Learning to Teach: Mrs. Moffet's First year-A New York Times Reporter spends a year reporting on the experience of a first-year teacher. Reading this will give you a real sense of life for a first-year teacher.  Faced with a serious shortage of teachers, New York City has been recruiting people from other careers and, after just a short "boot camp," assigning them to some of the most troubled schools. "Learning to Teach: Ms. Moffett's First Year" follows one novice teacher participating in the program, known as the New York City Teaching Fellows.

An Education Mayor Takes Charge Mired for decades in Byzantine bureaucracy that wasted untold millions of dollars and incalculable numbers of student academic lives, the management of the New York City school system was taken overy by Mayor Bloomberg and Chancellore Joel Klein. Two articles present a review and evaluation of the work being done in NYC.

What resources can help me be effective in my classroom?

Culturally Responsive Management Strategies:

Gaining students' cooperation in urban classrooms involves establishing an environment where teachers address students' cultural and ethnic needs, as well as their social, emotional, and cognitive needs. This research article describes the management strategies of urban teachers and compares their practice to what we know about culturally responsive teaching.

Do you need a lesson plan? These lesson plans are written by the NY Times. Each lesson plan focuses on a particular NY Times article. The lessons plans are substantive and creative. This is a terrific resource if you find yourself with a class to teach.

Guide to Literacy Tutoring: Provides multiple strategies and approaches to working with readers.

How can I learn about my school?

New York City Department of Education Report Page: You should search for your school and find the accountability reports. Review the data, generate questions, and generally learn about your placement through demographic and test score data.


How to stay connected to educational issues?

What reforms help improve urban schools?

Primer on No Child Left Behind: You will hear a lot about NCLB. Here is a very informative fact sheet on the policy. You'll hear a lot of intense and emotive perspectives on NCLB -- you should read up on the facts so you can filter 'red herring' critiques from more substantive positions.

KIPP: profile of KIPP (Knowledge is Power) schools, which are a national charter school system focusing on educating low-income students. You will hear a lot of

Geoffrey Canada's Harlem Children's Zone: The project’s goal is nothing less than changing the lives of thousands of children in Harlem, starting at birth and continuing until they go to college. Paul Tough reports on the Harlem Children’s Zone, and its CEO and president, Geoffrey Canada. Among the project’s many facets is Baby College, an 8-week program where young parents and parents-to-be learn how to help their children get the education they need to be successful.

Primer on Charter Schools: Charter schools are new, innovative public schools that are accountable for student results. They are designed to deliver programs tailored to educational excellence and the needs of the communities they serve.

Primer on Privatization: Public Schools: Make them Private by Milton Friedman, Nobel Prize Winning Economist. Our elementary and secondary educational system needs to be radically restructured. Such a reconstruction can be achieved only by privatizing a major segment of the educational system--i.e., by enabling a private, for-profit industry to develop that will provide a wide variety of learning opportunities and offer effective competition to public schools. The most feasible way to bring about such a transfer from government to private enterprise is to enact in each state a voucher system that enables parents to choose freely the schools their children attend.

Obama's educational policy as contrasted to John McCain: A very interesting article written by one of my former professors from grad school.


What options do I have if I want to become a teacher?

Option #1: Teacher Education Programs

If you are serious about wanting to be a teacher and you believe that teaching is challenging intellectual work than I suggest you pursue receiving your license through a high-quality teacher education program.

Project Coach Fellowships: Full Tuition Waiver plus a stipend. You work in Project Coach and receive

Smith College Campus School Fellowships: Full Tuition Waiver plus a stipend to receive your MAT in elementary education.

Option 2: Alternative Licensure Programs: These programs provide high quality preparation. I differentiate between fast track preparation programs (like TFA or NYC Teaching Fellows) that do not have the time or resources to fully prepare students for the challenges of the urban classroom.

Boston Teacher Residency

Math For America

Knowles Science Teaching Fellowships

Articles about the January Program

Wanted: Passionate, Intelligent, Caring Teachers for the Inner-City Classroom

Last January, undergraduates from Smith and three other colleges came face-to-face with the daunting realities of urban education, when they served as teaching fellows in eight New York City public schools. The students were part of the Urban Education Initiative, a unique new program directed at Smith by assistant professor of education Sam Intrator and educational outreach director Gail Scordilis.