Critical Issues in Urban Education | UChicagoX on edX | Course About Video


SARA RAY STOELINGA: My
name is Sara Ray Stoelinga. I’m the Senior Director at the
University of Chicago Urban Education Institute and a Clinical Professor
in the Committee on Education. Most of us are informed about what
we think about public education, about the state of public
education, and about what it will take to reform urban schools by
what we see every day in the headlines, on our Twitter feed, in
the newspaper, online. And we see these
critical debates that are going on around a targeted set
of issues like charter schools and school choice, around
high stakes accountability, around standardized testing, around
things like the Common Core State Standards, or the No
Child Left Behind Act. And this course focuses on
understanding those issues more deeply. We will see that the experts from
these different bodies of work in these different
realms within education also have very divergent perspectives
on the topics that we’ll be discussing. Because they’re polarized, because the
public and participants in this course will be of opposite perspectives
or different perspectives, we’re going to get at
these issues, really attack these issues
using a debate format. If we can become more informed,
and we can understand the issues in a more nuanced and deep way,
that’s representative of how complex the space actually is. I believe that that leads to more
informed involvement, better citizens, more ability to use our platform
from wherever we sit-in the field. Whether we’re a parent
thinking about our own student or whether we’re a teacher
in front of students or whether we’re a policymakers
voting on educational issues, it will enable us to make
more informed decisions that can help to improve schooling. So I think some of the
biggest challenges that we face around urban public
schooling today have to do with limitations that we
have in terms of the resources that we need to serve children’s needs. And also the set of needs that children
bring to school in urban areas. And the desperate
inequality that we have across our country in being able to meet
the needs of the students who need it most. And so I think urban public schools,
what they have the opportunity to be, is really a central
location for resolving some of these larger issues
of social inequality. It’s the American dream. It’s this idea that you
can grow up poor in America and the President of the United States. And urban public education is the
lever that allows that to happen.

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