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Transforming Urban Education: Implications for State Policymakers

Abstract

"This report employs scenario planning to envision a wide array of possible futures for education in urban centers. The authors recommend several steps urban educators can take today to prepare for these futures. The brief is based on work undertaken in 2008 by the two organizations with the Ohio 8 Coalition. The Coalition is a group of eight of Ohio's largest school districts, which used the scenario building process to explore trends likely to impact education and create four "plausible but divergent" scenarios, or stories, for education in the year 2020. The scenarios envision the following possibilities: governmental support of vouchers accompanied by increased segregation in cities; full-service models that bring together education, community, and healthcare needs; the widespread use of technology, which promotes grassroots options for learning; and a global economic crisis resulting in drastically diminished resources for schools.

The brief outlines three recommendations for state-level policies that could help urban districts position themselves for success in any of these futures. These recommendations are: 1) to develop a comprehensive approach to urban schooling ("the Hub"); 2) to prioritize service learning for urban schools; and 3) to prepare urban students to meet the challenges of the 21st century. The writers explain the recommendations in detail and give existing examples of each."

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