College of Education
Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

ELPS 203
Urban Education in American Society

Fall 2015
Tuesday, 4:00 p.m. - 6:45 p.m.
Juniper Hall 1232
Class Number:  14673
3 Semester Credits

Instructor:    Thomas R. McCambridge, Ph.D.
Phone:    (805) 279-1125

 If you have a disability that requires an accommodation, please contact me immediately.

Michael D. Eisner College of Education

California State University, Northridge


The faculty of the Michael D. Eisner College of Education, regionally focused and nationally recognized, is committed to Excellence through Innovation.  We believe excellence includes the acquisition of professional knowledge, skills, and dispositions and is demonstrated by the growth and renewal of ethical and caring professionals - faculty, staff, candidates - and those they serve.  Innovation occurs through collaborative partnerships among communities of diverse learners who engage in creative and reflective thinking.  To this end we continually strive to achieve the following competencies and values that form the foundation of the Conceptual Framework.

o   We value academic excellence in the acquisition of professional knowledge and skills.

o   We value the use of evidence for the purposes of monitoring candidate growth, determining the impact of our programs, and informing ongoing program and unit renewal.  To this end we foster a culture of evidence.

o   We value ethical practice and what it means to become ethical and caring professionals.

o   We value collaborative partnerships within the College of Education as well as across disciplines with other CSUN faculty, P-12 faculty, and other members of regional and national educational and service communities.


o   We value diversity in styles of practice and are united in a dedication to acknowledging, learning about, and addressing the varied strengths, interests, and needs of communities of diverse learners.

o   We value creative and reflective thinking and practice.


Introductory foundation course. Designed to provide students with the fundamental knowledge of the understanding of the American educational enterprise, especially problems in urban multicultural schools. Concepts and methods from the fields of sociology, philosophy and the politics of education are used to gain knowledge of, understand and analyze the current conditions of American schools and to evaluate selected proposals/ models for reform. The California Standards for the Teaching Profession, the Teaching Performance Expectations, and the K-12 subject matter content standards are introduced. A minimum of 30 hours of observation and participation in multicultural school and community settings is required.


  Through coursework and fieldwork, teacher candidates will build a base of theoretical knowledge and acknowledged practice concerning the social and cultural foundations of K-12 schools in California.  Specifically,

  1. in discussion and writing, analyze and evaluate professional literature pertaining to contemporary issues in California schools,

  2. in discussion and writing, demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of diverse student backgrounds,

  3. discuss classroom bias and methods to minimize it,  

  4. through writing and discussion, demonstrate knowledge of the historical, philosophical, social, cultural, and political ideas that have informed American public schooling,

  5. examine research regarding social and cultural conditions of  K-12 schools,

  6. examine and evaluate teaching/learning contexts, 

  7. reflect on pedagogical practices in relation to purposes, functions, and inequalities of schools,  

  8. demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of the effect of student diversity on observed classroom policy and practice

  9. demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of the effect of applied philosophies of education in observed classroom policy and practice with regard to content, method, and classroom environment,


all readings are available on this on-line syllabus


Recommended Reading and Resources

"Leaving No Child Behind," by Mike Rose, in American Teacher, Vol. 85, No. 3 (November 2000)

"Strengthening Teacher Quality," in Thrust for Educational Leadership, Vol. 29, No 3 (January/February 2000)

"Connecting Teaching to Testing," by Ellen Wright, in Thrust for Educational Leadership, Vol. 27 (January 1998)

"Standards, Assessment, Accountability: The Tangled Triumvirate," in Phi Delta Kappan, Vol. 78 (May 1997)

"The Goals of Multicultural Education: A Critical Re-evaluation," by Walter Feinberg of the University of Illinois

"Challenges of Multiculturalism in Democratic Education," by Amy Gutmann of Princeton University

"Postmodern Doubt and Philosophy of Education," by Nick Burbules of the University of Illinois

"Explaining the Black Education Gap," by John McWhorter, in The Wilson Quarterly, Summer, 2000

"White Racism, White Supremacy, White Privilege, and the Social Construction of Race: Moving From Modernist to Postmodernist Multiculturalism," by Omawale Akintunde, in Multicultural Education, Winter, 1999

"Challenges and Hopes: Multiculturalism as Revolutionary Praxis:" Gustavo Fischman interviews Peter McLaren, in Multicultural Education, Summer, 1999

"Respect in the Classroom: Reflections of a Mexican-American Educator," by Eva Midobuche, in Educational Leadership, April, 1999

"Why Standardized Tests Threaten Multiculturalism," by Bill Bigelow, in Educational Leadership, April, 1999

"Expanding the Borders of Liberal Democracy: Multicultural Education and the Struggle for Cultural Identity," by Eduardo Manuel Duarte, in Multicultural Education, Fall, 1998


Goodbye, Mr. Chips
Tom Brown's Schooldays
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie
Blackboard Jungle
Rebel Without a Cause
The Miracle Worker
Born Yesterday
Good Morning, Miss Dove
To Sir , With Love
Dazed and Confused
Pump Up the Volume
Stand and Deliver
Lean On Me
Dangerous Minds
Ma Vida Loca
American History X
Renaissance Man
The Emperor's  Club
Freedom Writers


As part of the course requirements for ELPS 203, you will spend 30 hours in a public school classroom, observing and participating, between March 9 and May 5. You will be required to keep an accurate log of the time spent; the teacher with whom you are working will sign off on this log. And you will be required to write a 750-1000 word essay on your experience for this class.

Details about how you will be assigned and what is expected of you will be presented in class.

No matter how well you do on the academic assignments in this class, unless you complete the O/P requirement successfully, you will not pass the course.


I)      Midterm Exam: This will be an essay exam taken in class on October 13.  (20% of the semester grade)

II)    Teacher Interview:  Due on October 27.

  This is a paper of 500-750 words based on your interview of your Host Teacher. This paper is worth 20% of the semester grade. The teacher must meet the following criteria:

            1.    no less than 5 years experience
            2.    presently teaching to the California academic content standards
            3.    presently teaching to a classroom of diverse learners
            4.    a record of success in teaching to the California academic content standards to classrooms of diverse learners.

    In your interview, you should seek answers to the following questions:

            1.    what methods do you use to achieve success in teaching the standards to diverse learners?
            2.    do you integrate standards? if so, why? what is an example of integrating standards?
            3.    do the members of your school faculty collaborate on teaching to the standards?
                            a)    do they collaborate on "targeting" standards?
                            b)    do they collaborate on creating assessments of students?
                            c)    do they collaborate on defining teaching strategies?
                            d)    do they collaborate on reviewing assessment data?
            4.    does your principal support teaching to the standards? if so, how?
            5.    do you involve parents in helping their children meet the standards? if so, how?
            6.    do you think that teachers should be held accountable for students' academic success or failure? why or why not?
            7.    to what extent has your faculty been prepared to teach the Common Core Standards?

    Your paper should include these elements in this order:

            1.    Introduction:    begin with a one-sentence statement that sums up your findings, then tell who you interviewed,
                        what her experience is, where she works, what her students are like, what her classroom is like, etc.
            2.    The methods question and answer
            3.    The integration question and answer
            4.    The principal's support question and answer
            5.    The parental involvement question and answer
            6.    The poor, urban children question and answer
            7.    The accountability question and answer
            8.    Conclusion: your analytical  and interpretive reflections on what you saw and heard

    Your goal in this process is to provoke the person you are interviewing into thinking about these questions, so it is important that you really listen to the responses, don't just wait for her to finish so you can go on to the next question on your list. Listen carefully and follow up on anything that interests you or puzzles you or that seems contradictory or that you find inspiring or whatever. A good interview is a conversation. Be engaged so that the person you are interviewing can be engaged.

    Papers must be typed, double-spaced, 12 pt font, reasonable margins, and stapled. No cover page, no plastic binders, no paper clips.

    Papers must be handed in at the beginning of class on Tuesday, . If you are going to be absent, you may e-mail the paper to me at or send it to class with someone else.

III)    Class Participation: This will include several different elements and will be worth 20% of the semester grade.

         First, "class participation" includes all ways in which you can demonstrate your engagement in and thoughtfulness about the assigned reading.

          Second, you will be asked to recite in class, almost every week. The recitation will be based on the readings for that day and will expect you to have specific information and be able to explain it to the class. Later in the semester, recitations will be based on your observations of specific TPE's in your O/P classroom

          Third, you are expected to be involved in class discussion, showing that you know what you read and that you thought about it.

          Fourth, and most obvious, you can't participate if you are not present, so attendance matters: it will matter that you are present, on time and prepared to participate at the beginning of class, and that you stay for the whole class.

          Fifth, all electronic devices are to be turned off and put away before class starts. All note-taking is to be done by hand.

          In sum ---

          Teacher candidates will be expected to engage in discussion of significant texts.
          The quantity and --- especially --- the quality of contribution to the discussion, including knowledgeable and pertinent use of the readings will be necessary to achieve a higher grade.
           Regular attendance and good behavior will earn a "C" for Class Participation.

           Regular and punctual attendance, proper behavior, and some indication that you have read the material will earn a "B-" for Class Participation.
           The above plus occasional contribution to the discussion and occasional demonstration that you have read the material will earn some kind of "B" for Class Participation.
           The above plus regular contribution to the discussion and regular demonstration that you have read the material, thought about the reading, and tried to connect it to other things we've read will earn an "A" for Class Participation.

IV)      Group Reports on TPE's:   These will be part of your Class Participation grade. Reports should be 15-20 minutes in length. PowerPoint presentations are preferred. Groups will be 3-5 students. It is up to you to teach the TPE's to your classmates. All presentations will be given on October 27.

V)    Field Study Report:  This paper will be due on December 1 and is worth 20% of the semester grade.

On the basis of your O/P experience, you will write a report.

            1.    an essay of 750-2000 words

            2.     the essay should include the following sections:

                        a. Introduction: where and who did you observe? what was the school like? what was the student population
                                    of the classroom? what grade did you observe? what subject matter lesson did you observe? And a Thesis
                                    Statement; i.e., a single, simple, clear, specific statement that sums up the paper.

                        b. What did you observe regarding TPE 2: Monitoring student learning during instruction? How often? What strategies?
                                    How did it affect the teacher's methods of instruction?

                       c.  What did you observe regarding TPE 4: Making content accessible and TPE 5: Engaging students? What specific
                                    strategies were used? How successful were they? What did you learn that you can apply to your own teaching?

                      d.  What did you observe regarding TPE 7: Teaching English learners? How many English learners were there in your
                                    classroom; what percentage of the class were English learners? Given that situation, how did your Host
                                    Teacher go about teaching the English learners?

                     e.  What did you observe regarding TPE 10: Use of instructional time? Good ideas? Bad ideas? How did what you saw
                                    indicate good use of TPE 9: Instructional Planning

                    f.   What did your Host Teacher tell you about her use of TPE 8: Learning about students; TPE 9: Instructional Planning;
                                    and TPE 11: Social Environment?

            3. If you are observing more than one teacher, write about the one who seemed most beneficial to your professional growth.


    Papers must be typed, double-spaced, 12 pt font, reasonable margins, and stapled. No cover page, no plastic binders, no paper clips.

    Papers must be handed in at the beginning of class on December 1. If you are going to be absent, you may e-mail the paper to me at or send it to class with someone else.

V)   Final Examination:  This exam will be taken in class. Specific guidelines for preparing for this exam will be given to you 3-4 weeks before the exam; preparing the guidelines will prepare you for the exam. And there will be some choice of questions on the exam. (Worth 20% of the semester grade)


Midterm Exam October 13 20%
Teacher Interview October 27 20%
Field Study Report December 1 20%
Final Examination
December 8
Class Participation all semester 20%




Grades are assigned on the basis of the following scale:

100 - 94 A
93 - 90 A-
89 - 88 B+
87 - 84 B

83-80    B-

79-78    C+

77-74    C

73-70    C-

69-68    D+

67-64    C

63-60    D-

59 and below    F

    An "A" is given to an exam answer or to a paper where the content is accurate and complete, the organization is logical and coherent, and the writing (syntax, grammar, spelling, etc.) is perfect.
    An "A-" is given when the content is accurate but not complete, the organization is logical and coherent, and the writing is close to perfect.
    A "B+" is given when the content is close to being accurate and complete, the organization is logical and coherent, and the writing is close to perfect.
    A "B" is given when the content is generally accurate but not complete, the organization is close to logical and coherent, and the writing is not marred by too many usage errors.
    A "B-" is given when the content is partially accurate and incomplete, the organization is haphazard, and the writing is marred by several usage errors.
    And so on.
    I will be happy to discuss any of my evaluations of your work with you at a time of mutual convenience. It is possible that either errors of fact or errors of judgment can be made, and I would be happy to correct such errors. In preparation for such discussions, I would ask you to write down the reasons you believe an error has been made and explain the reasons why the evaluation should have been different.



    There will be an e-mail distribution list for this class and you will be responsible for all information sent on it. It will also be a way for us to communicate with one another outside of class time regarding assignments, questions of interest, research opportunities, etc.

    Twenty-percent of your grade depends on class participation. You cannot participate if you are not here, so any tardiness, leaving early, or absence will lower your grade. Roll will be taken at the beginning of class each class meeting.


    There are no make-up tests and no late papers.  The assignment is either in on time or it receives a failing grade. Assume that there will be a catastrophe just as you have to turn in an assignment, and plan for it now. Seek assistance prior to due dates: Assignments may not be redone.

    Turn off all electronic communication devices before entering the classroom.


   All note-taking must be done by hand, not on computer/tablet. 


August 25           Introduction
                            Review of O/P process and student requirements
                            O/P on-line survey:


September 1         The Activities of Teaching
                              Reading:    "Eleven Ways to Be a Great Teacher,"  by Donald C. Wesley, in Educational Leadership,
                                                February, 199
8; "Ten Tips for Great Teaching"; "Eight Characteristics of a Great Teacher";
                                                "Why Tough Teachers Get Results," by Joanna Lipman



September 8          The Content You Will Teach: Reading
                              Reading: "Literacy Statistics;" "More Literacy Statistics;" "Literacy is the Key to Unlocking the Cycle of Poverty;"
                                     "Importance of Culture";  "Invisible Dropouts: Thousands of California Kids Don't Get Past Middle School"
                              Viewing:   and
                             DEADLINE:  Survey Monkey (all students) closes at 5:00 p.m.

September 15        The Content You Will Teach:  Reading
                              Reading: "Why Should We Make Time for Reading Aloud?" by Jennifer Dorsey; "11  Alternatives to Round-Robin
by Todd Finley;   "......Reading Aloud....Builds Literacy," by Susan Frey

September 22         The  Content You Will Teach: Reading
"How to Read to Young Kids"; "5 Reasons Why Words Matter," by Gracy Olmstead; "Family Reading Time....,"
                                by Annie Holmquist

                             DEADLINE:  Form and letter for Special Circumstance O/P students

 September 29            The Content You Will Teach: Reading
   Guest Speaker:  Kris Brown, 6th grade teacher, Parent Elementary, Inglewood, CA
October 5                 Placement information e-mailed to your CSUN address no later than October 5

October 6                  The Content You Will Teach:  Language Use by Students
"What's Lost as Handwriting Fades;"  "Making Learning Visible;"  "Dancing With Words"

October 6, 7,or 8     O/P Check-in Days

October 12 - December 1      O/P Hours

October 13                MIDTERM EXAM

October 20                  The Methods You Will Use: Lesson Planning                
                                      Reading:  The CSUN Generic Lesson Plan; Good Objective Words, Bad Objective Words;
                                                   Instructional Strategies
                                   Class Activity: Building a Lesson Plan

October 27                  Guidelines for Instruction: The TPE's
Class Activity: Group Reports on the TPE's
                                          Group 1:  TPE's 4, 8, and 11
                                           Group 2:  TPE's 9 and 10
                                          Group 3:  TPE's 5 and 6
                                          Group 4:  TPE 2
                                          Group 5:  TPE 7
                                 Due: Teacher Interview

November 3                   The Methods You Will Use: Student Diversity
Reading:     "Understanding Diversity, Accepting Others: Realities and Directions,"  by M. Lee
                                           Manning, in Educational Horizons, Winter 2000; "Teaching the New Immigrants:
                                           How 'Multicultural' Are You Prepared to Be?", by Gary K. Clabaugh, in Educational
, Winter 2000
 "Low achievement imperils black students in L.A., report says," in the
                      Los Angeles Times
, February 26, 2013; "Latest ACT Results Reveal Huge Race Gap as Only 1 in 20
                                          African-American Student 'Fully Ready' for College," in the New York Post, August 21, 2013

                                         Class Activity:  Discussion/debate of Manning vs Clabaugh

November 10               The Methods You Will Use:  Organization
                                    Reading:  Plan Book;  "Simple Student Routines for Back to School Success"; "Make a Weely Plan for YOU"


November 17                  The Classroom Culture You Will Create: Your Attitude Toward Students
                                  Reading:  "A Martinet Helped us Learn," by Gail Saunders; "Love Kids?  Then Teaching is Not For You,"
                                      by Regina Powers
Review of good and bad objective words
                               Instructional Strategies

November 24           Reading:  Goals for Student Teaching
                           CSUN TPE Portfolio   

December 1          The Classroom Culture You Will Create:  Your Insights Into Your O/P Classroom Culture
                            Oral Reports on O/P Experience
                            Due:  Field Study Paper

December 8         Review        

December 15        FINAL EXAM  
                            Document Log due to instructor