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Education in urban areas.
Cross-national dimensions.
Westport [u.a.]


Nelly P. Stromquist

Our contemporary world is becoming increasingly urbanized. United Nations projections affirm that the urban populations of developing countries will represent 50 percent of their total population in the next decade and that the levels of urbanization of these developing countries will approach those of the industrialized countries by the year 2020. Unquestionably, urbanization is here to stay and grow.

A key characteristic of the urbanization process in developing countries is that it is taking place in the absence of concomitant transformations in the job market and the urban infrastructure. Castells ( 1979) reminds us that urbanization in Latin America, a phenomenon repeated in many African and Asian countries "is not an expression of a process of 'modernization,' but the manifestation, at the level of socio-spatial conditions, of the accentuation of the social contradictions inherent in its mode of development--a development determined by a specific dependence within the monopolistic capitalist system" (p. 63 ).

With large numbers of urban residents outside the formal economy and living in conditions of poverty and hopelessness, the dream linked to urban residence is far from being realized by millions of persons. They keep moving to the cities despite the harsh realities that will greet them because no matter how meager the rewards, they will still be larger than those in the countryside. A dream realized partially is better than no dream at all.

The city does consume larger amounts of resources than rural areas but it also has a greater array of problems and needs. The features of urban-ness have been explored primarily in industrialized countries, where attention has been paid to the conditions of marginalized populations, usually comprising minorities of color or primarily individuals of low income. Education in the cities of the more industrialized countries has been examined mostly in terms of the problems facing the populations served, such as low achievement, violence in the schools, and language needs. It has also been examined in terms of the inequality of the educational inputs: crowded facilities, high teacher turnover, and so forth. Finally, it has been studied for the political tensions that it reflects: school-community conflict, battles for desegregation, financial scheme, issues of parental choice. These problems suggest that the focus of attention of urban education has been placed on the users of and actors in the educational system who happen to reside in an urban area, rather than on how the features of the city itself bear a particular imprint on the way educational systems work or education is provided. In other words, the location, space, and texture of the city have not always been the focus of analysis in urban education.

Even approaches expressing great concern for equality such as Marxism have been lacking an urban-spatial dimension. Yet, it is accepted that social relations become fixed in space as the city space becomes highly segregated by social status. In the words of Katznelson, "What has been missing [in Marxism] is the linkage between the economic system and the social and spatial specificity of the structuring of working-class lives" ( 1992, p. 230). But a major exception to Katznelson's assertion can be found in the works of Castells ( 1979 and 1983), who offers an examination of the urban, not as a focus on space or the urban as a site, but on space as a social product. Castells says in this regard:
"Space, as a social product, is always specified by a definite relation between the different instances of a social structure, the economic, the political, the ideological, and the conjuncture of social relations that result from them"
( 1979, p. 430).

This kind of analysis calls for paying attention to such factors as dimension, density, social heterogeneity, and information diffusion as mechanisms that mediate between urban residents and social outcomes. Seeing urban from this perspective makes us alert to a critical question regarding everyday life: "What is the process of social production of the spatial forms of a society?" Or, posed in another way, the question becomes: "What are the relations between the space constituted and the structural transformation of a society?" ( Castells, 1979, p. 19). The analysis of educational systems in the light of this framework, in my view, is in its initial stages. This analysis is also difficult because often the content of the problem tends to draw importance away from the context that caused it in the first place.

This collection brings together articles on urban education from both developed and developing countries. It presents five studies focused on the United States and other industrialized countries, two studies on Asia, two on Africa, and one on Latin America. The juxtaposition of these different realities is illuminating because it allows a more territorial focus than that provided by urban education from industrialized countries. Nonetheless, the collection presents only a taste of the main issues regarding the urban context. It does not pretend to offer an exhaustive treatment of the array of urban issues.

In trying to analyze urban-ness, a distinction should be made between educational events that happen in a city but could also happen elsewhere (the urban as a site) and those events that could happen only in a city as a result of a variety of inherently urban features (the urban as a space produced by social forces). Urban education is an area that needs further treatment in terms of the impact produced by population and housing density, convergence of rich and poor social groups, coexistence of dominant and marginal cultures, the distance between the urban centers and rural areas, distances between points of interest within the city, the response of bureaucracies in dealing with dominant/subordinate groups, and the role of neighborhood movements in the promotion of sociocultural change.

The contributions comprising the book are arranged in four parts. Part I, "Concepts and Trends," begins with a discussion by R. Murray Thomas on the meaning of urban and its multiple definitions and varying assumptions. The ambiguity, the taken-for-granted, and the conflict in meanings at times show how elusive social reality can be in the final analysis. Our precision is challenged by a world that is much more complex than our bounded logic. The second chapter, by Nelly P. Stromquist, identifies a number of features characterizing the urban context and contrasts the manifestations of these features in developed and developing countries. She examines the urban features of developing countries as a by-product of their colonization experience and the current prevailing model of development, which continues to give priority to industrial growth while regarding rural areas primarily as sources of food, cheap labor, and export earnings. The third and final chapter of Part I is presented by Gerald Grace, who, taking mostly a First World perspective, scans the political ideologies that account for the limited attention that disadvantaged people in the cities receive. Using Galbraith's concept of "culture of contentment," he offers a sober prognosis of urban educational problems and their likely lack of solution. Part II, "Bureaucratic Dynamics in Urban Educational Systems," also comprises three chapters. Deirdre M. Kelly offers a finely woven account of the strategies implemented by a large school district in dealing with potential dropout students, and shows that programs ostensibly designed to help these students in fact enable the schools to retain a preferred type while making it possible to eliminate those seen as problematic from a performance or discipline point of view. W. O. Lee and Li Zibiao's chapter documents the economic and educational inequalities that emerge in a large city despite its embeddedness in a socialist regime with strong and genuinely egalitarian goals. As long as cities remain high in the hierarchy of social services and employment opportunities, no socialist planning can deter people from flowing into them. Malongo R. S. Mlozi's study focuses on the provision of a particular type of nonformal education, that of agricultural extension. He shows that even a form of education that originally was meant to address the needs of low-income groups ends up serving the interests and needs of more advantaged social classes who can command the attention and services of the state bureaucracy. Mlozi's chapter also shows how the rapid expansion of urban areas is bringing rural features to the city, thereby creating vague boundaries in city/urban cultural practices in the
African context.

Part III, "The City and Educational Politics," covers important manifestations of state power and response. The chapter by Roger Boshier illustrates the hermetic deployment of education and schooling that can happen in city-states whose survival depends exclusively on its human resources. The city, through its manageable size, makes possible a high degree of control and surveillance. The chapter by Nelly Moulin and Isabel Pereira gives insight into the evolution of neighborhood movements in the city and how their development shapes the type of educational demands they make when they perceive a state that will be responsive to their claims. Moulin and Pereira's study also shows how urban areas can become a terrain for the most heated disputes of equality. The changing demographics of the city also brings out some clear strategies and counter-strategies in the political arena. This is reflected in the study by Roslyn Mickelson, Stephen Smith, and Carol Ray, who offer an in-depth account of how economic interests in a rapidly growing city can generate demands for change in educational services, though these may reverse earlier efforts to attain equity through an integrated school system. Mickelson and her associates show that growth is an urban dimension that can become a strong element in the local political agenda; using the concept of the "growth machine," these authors analyze the set of coalitions that emerge to shape educational services.

Part IV, "The Educational Experience of Women and Marginal Students," brings up issues totally peculiar to developing countries. The chapter by N'Dri Assie-Lumumba explains how limiting the existence of secondary schools only to the cities (a situation that characterizes much of Africa) functions especially to the detriment of rural girls, whose mobility is constrained by sociocultural norms and whose lives as students in the city can be very difficult and can make them vulnerable to sexual exploitation. The chapter by Magaly Lavadenz shows how diverse populations of the city create many needs. Those needsidentified as pertaining to minorities (meaning here a group of small size), especially when mixed with other factors such as language, recent geographical dislocation, and introduction to a new culture, get lost in the response. Lavadenz offers a qualitative study focusing on three Central American students to demonstrate how their traumatic experiences with war in their countries have affected them and how these children pass through the urban school system completely undetected and thus untreated. Finally, the chapter by Adrian Blunt brings into the academic debate a relatively new subject, that of street children. Blunt explains the various urban factors that have resulted in the growing homelessness of children; he also shows that their educational needs at present are met only by nongovernmental organizations, usually with the support of ....
Inhaltsverzeichnis :

Figures and Tables vii
Preface ix
Introduction 1 Nelly P. Stromquist
Part I. Concepts and Trends
1. Defining Urban in Educational Studies 11
R. Murray Thomas
2. Some Trends and Issues Affecting Education in the
Urban Context 29
Nelly P. Stromquist
3. Urban Education and the Culture of Contentment: The
Politics, Culture, and Economics of Inner-City
Schooling 45
Gerald Grace

Part II. Bureaucratic Dynamics in Urban Educational Systems

4. Safety Net or Safety Valve: How Choice Is Constructed
in an Urban Dropout Program 63
Deirdre M. Kelly

5. Disparities in Educational Development in a Fast-
Developing Chinese City: The Case of Guangzhou 83
W. O. Lee and Li Zibiao

6. Inequitable Agricultural Extension Services in the Urban
Context: The Case of Tanzania 105
Malongo R. S. Mlozi
Part III. The City and Educational Politics

7. Education and Docility: The Dilemmas of Singapore and
the Next Lap 131
Roger Boshier

8. Neighborhood Associations and the Fight for Public
Schooling in Rio de Janeiro State 151
Nelly Moulin and Isabel Pereira

9. The Growth Machine and the Politics of Urban
Educational Reform: The Case of Charlotte, North
Carolina 169
Roslyn Mickelson, Carol Ray, and Stephen Smith
Part IV. The Educational Experience of Women and Marginal Students

10. Rural Students in Urban Settings in Africa: The Experi-
ence of Female Students in Secondary Schools 199
N' Dri Assie-Lumumba

11. The Effects of War Trauma on Central American Immi-
grant Children 219
Magaly Lavadenz

12. Street Children and Their Education: A Challenge for
Urban Educators 237
Adrian Blunt

Index 263

About the Editor and Contributors