UB to Host Leading Urban Education Scholar at Colloquium on Social Class and Education

Release Date: October 4, 2002

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Jean Anyon, professor at the Urban Education Graduate Center at City University of New York, will present the 2002 Charlotte C. Acer Memorial Colloquium on Urban Education at the University at Buffalo on Oct. 17.

Anyon, one of the nation's foremost urban education scholars, is known for her groundbreaking analyses of inner-city education in the context of other social issues, particularly the confluence of social class and race. Many of her published articles have been widely reprinted.

Her Oct. 17 presentation, "Social Policy, Urban Education and a New Civil Rights Movement," is sponsored by the UB Graduate School of Education Alumni Association. The colloquium will take place from 4-6 p.m. in the University Inn & Conference Center, 2401 North Forest Road, Amherst.

The colloquium, funded through The Charlotte C. Acer Fund of the UB Graduate School of Education, will be free and open to the public.

The fund was endowed by Acer, an alumna of the UB Graduate School of Education, to facilitate informative and provocative lectures, discussions and analyses that address complex issues in urban education.

At the colloquium, Anyon will address issues she presented in her highly regarded study, "Ghetto Schooling: A Political Economy of Urban Educational Reform" (1997). In it, she demonstrated that the failure of contemporary urban schools is deeply embedded in 100 years of punitive federal, corporate and state policies toward American cities.

After briefly presenting the critical facts of American poverty, Anyon will describe federal, regional and local policies that could eradicate low-wage jobs and urban poverty. Unfortunately, she says, it will take a new civil rights movement to pry such policies from reluctant governments, although she says there now exists the possibility and potential for such a movement.

Anyon also is the author of "Social Class and the Hidden Curriculum of Work," in which she makes the point that the real function of school is to reproduce social class.

That article, drawn from a study she conducted with fifth graders from different economic backgrounds at five different schools, described how the concept of "work," defined differently at each of the schools, prepares students to do particular kinds of work in the world.

She notes that almost half the adults who work full-time in the U.S. earn poverty-level wages, and that women and minorities continue to hold the vast majority of these jobs, despite notable increases in the educational attainment of both groups.

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