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New Hope for Urban High Schools: Cultural Reform, Moral Leadership, and Community Partnership

4 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
ISBN-13: 000-0275991652
ISBN-10: 0275991652
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Editorial Reviews


"This book is the story of Dorchester High School in Boston. The groundwork for this case study is represented in great detail with a general history of schooling from 1945 to 2006, along with a thorough description of the impact of government mandates and their effects on schools like Dorchester High School, beginning in the late 1980s. There is little doubt that education since the 1960s has become more complex and unsettled. Such factors as a growing diversity in student population, students with special educational needs, and students with bilingual issues are all affecting our schools and testing educators, including those at Dorchester High. Authors Gonsalves and Leonard believe that the average urban high school is unable to fix itself. They state that the circle of responsibility extends far beyond the rolls of the school, and that a cultural reform strategy in this expanded community is a requirement for real school improvement. They intend to demonstrate how an alignment of forces, including businesses, legislative leaders, and involved educators, could significantly reform a school. They present numerous and varied stories that underscore the importance of how community partners facing unique challenges can work together to renew and reform our schools. Recommended. All levels." - Choice

"Gonsalves and Leonard's new book offers a strategy for educators and school officials to use that moves beyond traditional solutions like curricular changes, more rigorous academic content in the classroom, or school restructuring designed to maximize the impact of the classroom. The authors assert that effective and lasting change must come from cultural change….By examining the trends, policies, and challenges of Dorchester High School in Boston, much like those of high schools all over the United States, the authors capture the lessons learned from Dorchester's history that should be instructive to educators and school officials today. They also examined Dorchester High in the context of community partnerships. This book will engage the reader. The authors do a good job of helping readers to connect the characters, time, and context of the Dorchester case with the needs and experiences of the readers' own students and communities." - MultiCultural Review

"Gonsalves and Leonard provide a case study of Dorchester High School in Boston (where both the authors have worked), which they consider in the context of national and local history from 1945 to 2006, as well as the geographical and sociological context of the local neighborhoods and community partnerships. They then present lessons learned and recommendations for urban high school reform work through their framework, which is based on the theories of Urie Bronfenbrenner and his ecological systems approach. The impact of community partners, challenges urban teenagers face, and the role of school leaders in cultural change are discussed." - Reference & Research Book News

About the Author

Lisa Gonsalves is Assistant Professor at the Graduate College of Education, University of Massachusetts, Boston. She also serves as Faculty Coordinator of the Teach Next Year Professional Development School Teacher Preparation Program at Dorchester High School.

John Leonard is Headmaster, Economics and Business Academy, Dorchester Education Complex, Boston Public Schools.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 264 pages
  • Publisher: Praeger (March 30, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0275991652
  • ISBN-13: 978-0275991654
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 1 x 6.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,749,952 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover
Urban means something different in contemporary America. In the past it meant or peaked as meaning a place with more industry and professions and infrastructure and better amenities and schools. Today the term 'urban' is used as a euphemism for African Americans. This is a misnomer in and of itself, because the culture described comes from the lowest classes of the Rural Deep South: violent, overly demonstrative, anti-intellectual, and prone to sporadic intense religious sentiments. This population of migrants had a very low success rate at assimilating Northern Urban values. One could argue they didn't create the new "urban" culture until cheap stereo and music playing devices became heavily imported from japan.
Which brings us to the current 'crisis' of Urban High Schools. Apparently, Dorchester was already 20 percent black before the courts ordered desegregation. Perhaps the blacks there at the time were the most capable of attending high school. By ordering desegregation through busing and quotas, the courts achieved hyper-segregation. The results were pretty consistent and predictable. One could argue that a judge's training in Law destroys their ability to reason, but I suspect the real motive was to ramp up demand for new suburban construction of houses and shopping centers: plenty of people got rich, and we had more oil and steel and land than we new what to do with, so it was okay. The results were pretty consistent.
Anyways, the quality of education continually dropped. It hadn't been that the blacks were restricted to slums and bad schools, it was that every place they moved into became a slum, and every school they became a large portion of became a poorly performing school.
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New Hope for Urban High Schools: Cultural Reform, Moral Leadership, and Community Partnership
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