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ERIC Number: EJ771035
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Jul-6
Pages: 1
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0009-5982
San Diego State U. Runs 3 Schools to Improve a Neighborhood -- and Itself
Hebel, Sarah
Chronicle of Higher Education, v53 n44 pA18 Jul 2007
The 3-mile neighborhood along the boulevard from San Diego State University to the City Heights is one of San Diego's most diverse, with more than 30 languages spoken among its 72,000 residents. It has also developed a reputation as one of the city's most impoverished and crime-ridden. More than a decade ago, as part of an effort to transform City Heights, Price Charities enlisted San Diego State University to take over the operations of three struggling public schools to improve the learning of City Heights children while also helping San Diego State find better ways to prepare teachers to work in urban environments. The university supplies more than half of the teachers in the San Diego Unified School District, of which City Heights is a part. The partnership differs from the charter-school arrangements under which other universities operate public schools. The three City Heights schools managed by San Diego State have less autonomy from their district than do most charter schools. Their teachers have remained unionized, belonging to the local affiliate of the National Education Association. Whereas charter schools often have control over their admissions policies, the City Heights schools are subject to enrollment fluctuations based on changes in the local population and districtwide planning decisions. Being involved with City Heights provides San Diego State a "real life" laboratory; through the partnership, student teachers learn how to tackle -- and university faculty members can closely study -- the complex challenges faced by urban educators. The City Heights partnership has also led to improvements at the schools themselves. All three have logged progress on California's academic-performance index. The university's advice has been solicited to improve instruction for a new course to help students who were struggling to learn English as a second language, and a series of tests was developed to measure whether the new instruction was working. The partnership does not always work smoothly. University faculty members sometimes volunteer expertise that does not mesh with the schools' most pressing concerns and the extent of curricular reforms at the university seems to have been limited by the nature of academe, in which professors enjoy large amounts of autonomy to pursue research interests that may not connect to the City Heights work. Despite such concerns, university officials say the City Heights program is helping San Diego State improve teacher preparation and conduct research that will find pragmatic solutions to regional problems.
Chronicle of Higher Education. 1255 23rd Street NW Suite 700, Washington, DC 20037. Tel: 800-728-2803; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education; Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: California