Urban Studies
Spring 2008

Essay Project: What Is To Be Done For William Paca Elementary School?

This essay is due on Friday, March 7th at 3:30 p.m.

During the next few weeks we will be reading Jonathan Kozol’s The Shame of the Nation: The Restoration of Apartheid Schooling in America (2005): a muckraking attack on current policy for the administration and finance of urban schools in America.

Your task is to evaluate the validity of Kozol’s critique by closely observing the way one urban school functions: William Paca Elementary School in East Baltimore. Is our current policy, as mandated by the federal “No Child Left Behind” law, working?

As a group we need to generate a series of questions which will help us ascertain the reality of the situation at Paca. We need to decide if the picture Kozol paints of the situation in urban schools is true. So while we are helping the kids at Paca prepare for their annual MSA Reading, Writing and Math tests, we will also be interviewing students, teachers and administrators to find answers to our questions.

Once you have gathered enough information to make an informed decision, you will write a profile of the student with whom you have worked the closest. Is this child being left behind despite the legislation? Who is to blame?