This article can be found in the current issue of the Journal of Urban Affairs regarding Contributions of Community Psychology to Urban Research and Policy.
This article currently has free access and is available to read and download.
Addressing the problems of urban education: An ecological systems perspective, by Maury Nation, Brian D. Christens, Kimberly D. Bess, Marybeth Shinn, Douglas D. Perkins, & Paul W. Speer
Many urban school districts have been beset by a variety of problems including low achievement, high dropout, and disciplinary referral rates. Frequently, efforts to improve urban education are focused on interventions at the student, school, or district level. However, urban scholars recognize that many of these problems are embedded in urban poverty and related issues, including residential racial segregation, housing and food insecurity, and high levels of residential mobility and criminal justice system involvement. Ecological systems theory can help to explicate some of the mechanisms through which poverty and related problems adversely affects educational outcomes, and to identify systemic changes likely to lead to improved educational outcomes. This article describes how housing and criminal justice systems are interrelated with urban education, and examines these dynamics in Nashville, Tennessee. We then describe several multi-sectoral change efforts to improve urban education in Nashville, including their effects and limitations.