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ERIC Number: ED548421
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 262
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-2674-1031-3
Urban-Focused Teacher Preparation: A Tale of Two Perspectives
Walcott, John R.
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, Michigan State University
Given the current crisis in urban education and the frequent calls for urban school reform, a number of colleges and universities have established teacher education programs designed specifically to prepare teachers for work in urban schools. These urban-focused teacher preparation programs seek to provide pre-service teachers with the knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary to meet the challenges that exist in many urban environments and to be successful in providing for the educational needs of the students in their classrooms. These programs are preparing teachers to enter an environment strongly influenced by a variety of viewpoints and approaches to urban school reform. In this study, I synthesize the various approaches to urban school reform into two leading perspectives: the accountability perspective and the equity perspective. The accountability perspective is characterized by a focus on academic rigor, high academic and behavioral expectations for all students, standardized tests, and accountability. The equity perspective focuses on promoting equity and social justice, multicultural education, culturally relevant and critical pedagogy, and democratic education. These two perspectives dominate the discourse surrounding urban school improvement and are therefore influential in urban-focused teacher preparation. However, given the often complex and competing nature of the relationship between these perspectives, it may be difficult to promote both accountability and equity in useful ways in the preparation of urban teachers. Through a document analysis of eight urban-focused teacher preparation programs and a case study of two of these programs, I investigated in this study the manner in which the accountability and equity perspectives are understood, presented, and received in these programs. Furthermore, based on the data analysis, I highlighted the relationship between these two perspectives and explored new approaches that may allow urban-focused teacher educators and urban teachers to embrace a new vision for the relationship between accountability and equity. I found that while both perspectives were clearly represented in these urban teacher preparation programs, there was significant variation both within and between the programs in the way these perspectives were presented by the program faculty and understood by the teacher candidates. In addition, based on the concept of nepantla (Anzaldua, 2002; Gutierrez, 2008), which is a space where existing perspectives are challenged and new realities are considered, I highlighted a new vision for the relationship between accountability and equity that includes a critical stance, a reconceptualized view of accountability, a student-centered approach to teaching and learning, and a social justice orientation. In addition, I described the practices of teacher educators who are working to engage themselves and their students in the complex space that considers how accountability and equity can be affirmed in ways that benefits urban schools and students. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A