Contemporary Issues In Education: This paper discusses problems in urban education

Essay by cindy51663University, Ph.D.F, April 2006

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Confronting the issues of educating urban youth involves examination of the overarching challenges and re-emerging issues that urban administrators encounter when hiring effective teaching staff. Specifically, one surmises that effective staff must embody characteristics that unilaterally create a classroom environment conducive to student learning and acceptance of individual differences (Nelson 2004; Shanklin, Kozleski, Meagher, Sands, Joseph & Wyman, 2003). While research acknowledges that these types of teachers exist, such teachers are not abundantly present in urban schools (Arroyo, Rhoad, & Drew, 1999). Furthermore, some research suggests that urban schools are not privy to candidates who are willing to teach minority students for various reasons, based mostly on preconceived notions (Jorissen, 2003; McConney, Ayres, Hansen, & Cuthbertson). With the assertion that urban schools are unable to recruit and retain capable teachers, one must question the effectiveness and diversity of remaining teachers to provide a comprehensive classroom experience for students (Mullen & Patrick, 2000; Weiner, 2000).

This paper examines the challenges of preparing teachers to overcome the obstacles present in urban schools, discusses efforts to attract qualified and effective teachers to these schools, and addresses the retention of teachers in this environment.

Interesting research emerges as one investigates the factors that contribute to the flight of teachers from urban schools, as well as their preparedness to teach students of different ethnicities. Schultz (as cited in Proctor, Rentz & Jackson, 2001) stated, "80% of . . . prospective teachers . . . believed that 'urban children' were lower in learning ability than other children or that their ability was limited by . . . personal attributes or . . . environment" (¶ 2). Clearly, this percentage speaks largely about the opinions of some teachers toward minority students. Thompson (2004) documents equally disturbing research of some attitudes toward minority students that suggests some teachers...