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A Basis for Hope
Urban Schools and the Unfulfilled Promise
of American Education

Footnotes for Chapter 1

by Pedro A. Noguera
New York, New York

1. Several public opinion polls have shown that education is regarded as the number one domestic policy issue. Even after September 11th, education follows closely behind concerns about security and terrorism. For an analysis of public opinion and the response of policy makers see “The 29th Annual Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup Poll Of the Public’s Attitudes Toward Public Schools” in Phi Delta Kappan, September 1997, pp. 41-56

2. Polls of parents reveal that while many are critical of public education in general, they tend to hold more positive views toward the particular schools their children attend. For a discussion of the polling data see “31st Annual Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools” by Lowell C. Rose and Alec M. Gallup in Phi Delta Kappan, September 1999, pp. 41-56.

3. In addition to education, a growing number of schools serving poor children frequently provide a variety of other services to children including free lunch, health centers, immunizations, etc. See Rising to the Challenge; Emerging Strategies for educating At-Risk Youth” by N. Legters and E. McDill in Schools and students at Risk edited by R. Rossi (New York; Teachers College Press, 1994)

4. In a public lecture at a conference on Human Rights in the Americas (May 1993), the former Dean of Boalt Law School at UC Berkeley, Jesse Choper, used the term positive and negative rights to distinguish between rights that constitute a social entitlement (e.g. housing, health care, etc.) versus rights that are intended to prevent individuals from being harassed from exercising certain “freedoms” (i.e. religious beliefs, gun ownership, speech. etc.).

5.Shelby Steele and John McWhorter are two of the better known Black scholars who have argued that the failure of African Americans is largely explained by what McWhorter refers to as “self sabotage” and Steele describes as embracing “victim focused identity”. See Losing the Race by J. McWhorter (New York: Free Press 2000) and The Content of Our Character by S. Steele (New York; St. Martin’s Press, 1990)


7. It is not uncommon for the best paying jobs available cities to by held by individuals who live outside of the city limits. For a discussion of the role cities play within regional economies see “Cities and Uneven Economic Development” by M. Savage and A. Warde in The City Reader edited by R. Legates and F. Stout (New York: Routledge, 1996)


9. Part of the problem with most voucher and choice plans is that they fail to address the fact the most of the better suburban and private schools lack the space to accommodate significant numbers of poor children from the inner-city. For analysis of choice plans and access to schools see Who Chooses, Who Loses by B. Fuller and R. Elmore (New York: Teachers College Press, 1996)

10. The Education Trust and the heritage Foundation have identified a number of high performing schools that serve minority children. Several of these are also located in high poverty inner-city communities. However, these schools are relatively isolated and their existence has generally been difficult to replicate. See No Excuses, Lessons from 21 High Performing, High Poverty Schools by Samuel Casey Carter ( Washington, DC: The Heritage Foundation, 2000) and “New Frontiers for a New Century’ in Thinking K-12, Vol.5, Issue 2 Spring 2001(Washington, DC: The Education Trust)

11. For an analysis and discussion of academic programs that have proven effective in serving low income minority students see “Promising Programs for Elementary and Middle Schools: Evidence of Effectiveness and Replicability” by O. Fashola and R. Slavin in Journal of Education for Students Placed at Risk, 2(3), 251-307

12. It is important to note the school improvements are often temporary. Changes in personnel can significantly alter the effectiveness of a school and produce a change in priorities.

Chapter One of "City Schools and the American Dream: Reclaiming the Promise of Public Education" (Teachers College Pr; published September 2003) by Pedro A. Noguera, Ph.D. Pedro Noguera is a professor in the Graduate School of Education at Harvard University. The book is available online at

Published in In Motion Magazine October 2, 2003

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