Educ 308: Cities, Suburbs and Schools
Spring 2016 seminar, Mondays 1:15-3:55pm from Jan 29-May 2, 2016
MECC Nutt Center 293, Trinity College, Hartford, CT
Map to our classroom* — visitor’s map of Trinity campus
Jump to: Week 1: Jan 25 — Week 2: Feb 1 — Week 3: Feb 8 — Week 4: Feb 15 — Week 5: Feb 29 — Week 6: March 7 — Week 7: March 21 — Week 8: March 28 — Week 9: April 4 — Week 10: April 11 — Week 11: April 18 — Week 12: April 25 — Week 13: May 2 — Assessment
Our upper-level undergraduate seminar operates as a team research workshop on cities, suburbs, and schooling. To develop our skills with qualitative, quantitative, and historical methods, we closely read other studies and conduct our own small-scale research in metropolitan Hartford. As a community-learning seminar, we partner with local groups and share our findings and stories on the public web. Prerequisite: Ed 200 or the Cities Program or permission of instructor. (Cross-listed with American Studies and Public Policy & Law.) Enrollment limited to 20.
This semester our theme is School Choice and Civil Rights. We begin with present-day debates over public school choice as a reform strategy in the Hartford region, and go back in time to understand its historical roots in civil rights activism over discriminatory housing and schooling. Our seminar will work on three research projects:
- How do school choice programs communicate with families in the Hartford area?
- What does public school enrollment data reveal about choice in Connecticut?
- How have discriminatory barriers and civil rights activism evolved in the Hartford area, and how do we share meaningful histories and teaching ideas on the public web?
This semester we will share our research drafts for feedback with our “Sister Seminar” at Yale University: Cities, Suburbs, and School Choice, taught by Professor Mira Debs. See our Trinity-Yale GDoc Organizer http://bit.ly/TrinityYale2016
Also, guest evaluators for our historical web essays are: Jasmin Agosto (Trinity ’10 and NYU Gallatin MA ’15), an artist/activist/historical researcher in Hartford; and Glenn Mitoma, a professor of human rights and education, and director of the Dodd Research Center at UConn.
For each session, students must bring a laptop for in-class writing, peer editing, and data analysis. Contact me if you need to borrow my spare Chromebook. Most readings will be made available in digital and paper formats.
(Subject to change; asterisk* = more to come; revisions marked in red.)
Week 1: Jan 25
How do Hartford parents experience the public school choice application process?
- Before class, fill out quick student info survey
- Introduction to the syllabus
- Intro to sharing settings and our Google Doc Organizer (restricted to seminar)
- Assign: Team field notes on a downtown public school choice info location, on GDoc Organizer by end of Fri Jan 29
Week 2: Mon Feb 1
Why are there so many public school choice options in the Hartford area? How do choice programs market to different parents?
- Complete listed readings before seminar. We will discuss readings and work through presentations/exercises in seminar.
- Guiding question: After reading my essay below, how does student learning in this community-learning seminar differ from more conventional classes?
- Jack Dougherty, “Investigating Spatial Inequality with the Cities, Suburbs, and Schools Project,” in On The Line: How Schooling, Housing, and Civil Rights Shaped Hartford and Its Suburbs (Trinity College, book-in-progress, 2016), http://ontheline.trincoll.edu/book/chapter/investigating-spatial-inequality.
- Presentation with exercises: School Choice Conceptual Map for Hartford CT
- Study hint: During or after my Google Slide presentations, File > Make a Copy to insert notes about your own insights/questions.
- Guiding question: According to This American Life, what pressures influence how school choice providers market magnet schools to different communities? What storytelling techniques are most effective in this podcast format?
- Listen to podcast, act 1 on Hartford: Chana Joffe-Walt, “The Problem We All Live With – Part Two,” This American Life, August 7, 2015, http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/563/the-problem-we-all-live-with-part-two; see also link to transcript.
- Review each team’s field notes in Google Doc Organizer (restricted to seminar)
- Scan all of the school choice print information you received last week, and also these online resources:
- Regional School Choice Office (RSCO) manages lottery applications for interdistrict magnet schools, technical schools, and Open Choice city-suburban transfers, http://www.choiceeducation.org/.
- Hartford Public Schools (HPS) Choice office manages applications for district-wide (non-magnet) schools, http://www.hartfordschools.org/choice-page.
- Hartford Public Schools, Future Guide: How to Choose the Best School for Your Children and Their Future, 2016-17 School Year (Hartford Public Schools, 2015), http://www.hartfordschools.org/school-selection-resources.
- “Choose Success: A Guide to Public School Choice for Students and their Families,” Connecticut State Department of Education, 2014 website, http://www.sde.ct.gov/sde/cwp/view.asp?a=2681&q=335070 (see Q&A sections on charters, magnets, Open Choice, agri-science, and vo-tech schools).
- Updated Assignment on GDoc Organizer: Individual field notes on a public school choice fair on GDoc organizer before Mon Feb 8th seminar OR alternative assignment
- Assign students as advance annotators/discussion leaders for major readings to come
- Tutorial: How to annotate with Hypothes.is
Week 3: Mon Feb 8
How do different parents navigate school choice markets? How have other researchers investigated this process? How can we analyze our collective qualitative field note data?
- Read the Moodle versions with Hypothes.is annotations
- Allison Roda and Amy Stuart Wells, “School Choice Policies and Racial Segregation: Where White Parents’ Good Intentions, Anxiety, and Privilege Collide,” American Journal of Education 119, no. 2 (February 1, 2013): 261–93, http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/668753; see Moodle version annotated by Michelle and Vianna
- Mary Pattillo, “Everyday Politics of School Choice in the Black Community,” Du Bois Review: Social Science Research on Race 12, no. 01 (March 2015): 41–71, http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S1742058X15000016; see Moodle version annotated by Courtney and Jessica
- Maia Cucchiara, “Re‐branding Urban Schools: Urban Revitalization, Social Status, and Marketing Public Schools to the Upper Middle Class,” Journal of Education Policy 23, no. 2 (March 1, 2008): 165–79, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02680930701853088; see Moodle version annotated by Cara
- Jack Dougherty et al., “School Information, Parental Decisions, and the Digital Divide: The SmartChoices Project in Hartford, Connecticut,” in Educational Delusions? Why Choice Can Deepen Inequality and How to Make Schools Fair, ed. Gary Orfield and Erica Frankenberg (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2013), 219–37, http://books.google.com/books?isbn=0520274741; see Moodle version annotated by Lilly
- In class: Thematic analysis of collected field notes
- Assign: Essay 1 due on GDoc Organizer by end of Thursday Feb 11 for internal peer editing by end of Fri Feb 12th
- Sample essays by last year’s students *
- Assign: Revise Essay 1, due on Trinity-Yale GDoc Organizer by end of Mon Feb 15th, for Yale seminar peer editing by deadline ____*
Week 4: Mon Feb 15
Who chooses? Who enrolls? Who leaves? Who benefits from school choice?
- Jack Dougherty et al., Who Chooses in Hartford? Report 1: Statistical Analysis of Regional School Choice Office Applicants and Non-Applicants among Hartford-Resident HPS Students in Grades 3-7, Spring 2012 (Hartford, CT: Cities Suburbs Schools Project at Trinity College, May 12, 2014), http://digitalrepository.trincoll.edu/cssp_papers/46, and compare with presentation slides, led by ____________
- Robert Cotto, Jr. and Kenneth Feder, Choice Watch: Diversity and Access in Connecticut’s School Choice Programs (CT Voices for Children, 2014), http://www.ctvoices.org/publications/choice-watch-diversity-and-access-connecticuts-school-choice-programs, led by __________
- Kevin Welner, “The Dirty Dozen: How Charter Schools Influence Student Enrollment,” Teachers College Record, April 22, 2013, http://www.tcrecord.org/Content.asp?ContentID=17104, and publicly available at http://nepc.colorado.edu/files/welner-charter-enrollment-teachers-college-record.pdf, led by ____________
- Vanessa De La Torre, “Advocates: Hartford Magnet School Pushed Underperforming Student To Withdraw,” Courant.com, July 7, 2015, http://www.courant.com/community/hartford/hartford-cityline/hc-hartford-smsa-letter-0707-20150706-story.html.
- Watch: “The State of North End Schools,” video of public event by J. Stan McCauley, January 31, 2014, http://accesstv.org/archives/4178. (Focus on segment from 29:30 to 34:30 on school choice and neighborhood schools).
- In class: discuss your rewrite of essay 1 for Yale peer editing on GDoc Organizer by end of Monday Feb 15th
Mon Feb 22: No Class (Trinity Days)
- Recommended: Attend the courtroom trial on Connecticut Coalition for Justice in Education Funding (CCJEF) vs Rell. Learn more at http://ccjef.org
Week 5: Mon Feb 29
What are the goals of Sheff and public school choice, and how do we measure progress?
- Skim: General Statutes of Connecticut, 2013 and 2014 supplement.
– Charter schools, chapter 164, section 10-66aa; see also 2014 supplement
– Magnet schools, chapter 172, section 10-264h; see also 2014 supplement
- Read: Sheff v O’Neill stipulation [phase 3 of school desegregation remedy], December 13, 2013, http://sheffmovement.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/sheff_12-13-13_stipulation.pdf. , led by ________
- Jacqueline Rabe Thomas, “$20m Agreement Will Expand School Choice to Desegregate Hartford Schools,” The CT Mirror, February 23, 2015, http://ctmirror.org/2015/02/23/20m-agreement-will-expand-school-choice-to-desegregate-hartford-schools/.
- Presentation: Student Achievement and School Choice *
Tutorial: Create dataviz with current choice and demographic data
Assign: essay 2 due on GDoc Organizer by end of Fri March 4, for internal peer editing by end of Tuesday March 8
Week 6: Mon March 7
How have Sheff and school choice evolved from idea to implementation in the Hartford region?
- Read: New chapters on Sheff idea and implementation in On The Line, led by ____ *
- In class: Embedding your data visualization inside essay 2; internal peer editing
- Assign: comment on 2 Yale Choice essays due before departing for spring break on Friday March 11th *
Mon March 14: No Class (Spring break)
- Read: Susan Eaton, The Children in Room E4: American Education on Trial (Chapel Hill NC: Algonquin Books, 2007), in paper or digital format.
- Watch: T. J. Noel-Sullivan, Separate But Unequal: Sheff v O’Neill, Streaming video (Hartford, CT, 2014), https://vimeo.com/92868548.
Week 7: Mon March 21
How do we tell meaningful stories about civil rights, past and present, in the Hartford region?
- Discuss Eaton’s book, led by ____
- Introduce Essay 3: historical web essay and teaching ideas, with topics/sources*
- Invited guests: Emily Meehan ’16 and Elaina Rollins ’16 at 2:45pm
- Read: Essays by Meehan and Rollins in On The Line *
- Collect student preferences and assign specific topics (after class)
Week 8: Mon March 28
How have housing discrimination and civil rights activism evolved in the Hartford region?
- Read: chapters on housing barriers in On The Line, led by __________ *
- Invited guest: Jasmin Agosto ’10
- Jasmin Agosto, “Fighting Segregation, Teaching Multiculturalism: The Beginning of the Education/Instruccion Narrative of the 1970s Hartford Civil Rights Movement” (Educational Studies Senior Research Project, Trinity College, 2010), http://digitalrepository.trincoll.edu/cssp_papers/10, led by ______ *
Week 9: Mon April 4
How have public schooling and private housing influenced each other over time?
- Shopping for Schools part in On The Line, led by _________ *
- Jennifer Jellison Holme, “Buying Homes, Buying Schools: School Choice in the Social Construction of School Quality,” Harvard Educational Review 72 (2002): 177–205, led by ________ *
Week 10: Mon April 11
What is inquiry-oriented learning, and how can we strengthen this in the teaching of civil rights history?
- Selections from http://teachitct.org/ *
- Skim: Connecticut Elementary and Secondary Social Studies Frameworks, 2015, http://www.sde.ct.gov/sde/lib/sde/pdf/board/ssframeworks.pdf
- Invited guest: Glenn Mitoma, professor of education and human rights, director of Dodd Research Center, University of Connecticut
- Introduction to CT Digital Archives and WordPress
- Assign: Essay 3 due on GDoc Organizer by end of Fri April 15, for internal peer editing before seminar on Mon April 18
Week 11: Mon April 18
- Workshop: responding to internal peer editing and revising
- Assign: Revise Essay 3 due on GDoc Organizer AND WordPress by end of Monday April 18, for Yale peer editing by end of Friday April 22nd and Guest Evaluators
- Assign: Comments on 2 Yale final essay draft due before seminar Mon April 25
Week 12: Mon April 25
- Invited: Guest evaluators Jasmin Agosto and Glenn Mitoma to discuss their written feedback
- Discuss feedback from Yale sister seminar
Week 13: Mon May 2
- Read and comment on latest chapters in On The Line
- Seminar wrap-up
Students may access their individual scores on the password-protected Moodle site. Your work will be evaluated based on:
- Research Project 1: Qualitative analysis of school choice and parent information
- Team field notes = 5
- Individual field notes = 5
- Essay 1 draft and internal peer editing = 5
- Essay 1 revision for Yale peer commentary = 15
- Research Project 2: Quantitative analysis of public school choice data
- Data visualization = 5
- Essay 2 draft and internal peer editing = 15
- Research Project 3: Historical essay with teaching ideas
- Essay 3 draft and internal peer editing = 5
- Essay 3 revision for Yale and guest evaluators = 15
- Peer editing of 2 Yale school choice essays = 2 x 5 = 10
- Peer editing of 2 Yale final prospectus essays = 2 x 5 = 10
- Seminar peer evaluation of overall contribution to learning = 10
Total = 100 points
Late assignments will receive a 10 percent penalty for every 12 hours overdue, with exceptions granted only for verified medical or family emergencies.
In this course, unsatisfactory work (below 70%) falls in the D or F range, adequate work (70-79%) in the C range, good work (80-89%) in the B range, and outstanding work (90 to 100%) in the A range. Each range is divided into equal thirds for minus (-), regular, and plus (+) letter grades. For example, 80 to 83.33% = B-, 83.34 to 86.67 = B, and 86.68 to 89.99 = B+.
Students are expected to engage in academic honesty in all forms of work for this course. You are responsible for understanding and following the Intellectual Honesty policy (around page 20) of the Trinity Student Handbook.
Students with Academic Accommodations: Trinity College complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. If you have a documented disability and require academic accommodations, please schedule a meeting with me during the first two weeks of the semester and bring a copy of your accommodations letter. If you do not have a letter, but have questions about applying for academic accommodations, please contact Lori Clapis, Coordinator of Accommodation Resources, at 860-297-4025 or Lori.Clapis@trincoll.edu.
Please notify me during the first week of the course if you require any scheduling accommodations for religious observances.