The Inner City School:
Inequality and Urban Education
This conference brings together scholars, practitioners, students, and stakeholders in urban education to focus attention on the situation of the inner city school.
Typically, “the inner city school” is a coded way of referring to predominantly black and brown, poor, socially isolated schools in major cities. These schools are facing powerful challenges. Not only do their teachers lack adequate pay, recognition, and appreciation, but their students are supposed to meet high standards of achievement despite the fact that they do not receive adequate support. In response to these generally recognized problems, various agents and agencies of the larger society have set upon inner city schools with an assortment of plans for reform.
Many of these plans, however, ignore the value of the inner city school itself, placing educators on the defensive. Often teachers are blamed for their pupils’ shortcomings. Seldom is attention placed where it is most needed: on the daunting social and economic environment that is produced by structural poverty, inequality, and persistent joblessness. The iconic ghetto in which so many of these schools are located has become a potent source of stereotype, prejudice, and discrimination that afflicts the schools and their students.
By bringing students, educators, administrators, and scholars together to address these issues, we seek to broaden the conversation and work toward developing a better informed understanding of inner city schools and a more comprehensive approach to solving their problems.