The ideologies, values, and belief systems that appear to be indigenous to individuals identified as being representative of urban communities have proven to have devastating effects on the social, educational, and political advancement of those who represent this culture. This culture, that is reflective of the erroneous generational marginalization of certain groups of disadvantaged people, has been perpetuated, promoted, and passed down by the political power structures that fervently seek to maintain their control and supremacy over scarce resources at the cost of the less fortunate. This aristocratic ideology has extended beyond our communities and is evidenced in our schools. The critical implications of this belief system on the socio-cultural structure of our schools has been highlighted in research and discourses over the years, leaving some to identify it as a contributing factor in the educational neglect experienced by many urban youth.
Dating back to the late 1950s and early 1960s, studies conducted by individuals such as James Coleman, Robert Rosenthal and Lenore Jacobsen, and N. Keddie began to identify correlations between the functioning of schools and the schools perception of individuals that were representative of urban communities. With these understandings, what is to be said about the current direction of urban education in America? Are we as an educational community making zealous attempts to identify with and address the challenges that confront the urban community on a daily basis or are we continuing to “appear” committed to change? Responses to such questions can take an array of perspectives, depending on the respondent. It is time we take real action by escaping the blaming the victim approach that has mentally enslaved many and held schools captive over the years. While I believe that individuals in urban communities must institute a higher degree of accountability among its members, I also believe schools must undergo a shift in paradigm and began to examine urban communities through more productive lenses. This paradigmatic change will empower these communities and promote educational, social, and political success. The collaborative bridge between the school and community must be strengthened and roles of the community and school in the change process must be redefined. Once there is a better understanding of how each institution can better serve the other, opportunities will be maximized.