Volume 1 Issue 1

Excerpts from the 2002 Ethnography in Education Conference

Introduction from Dr. Diana Slaughter-Defoe Guest Editor

The Clayton Lectures

 Waiting for a Miracle: Why Schools Can't Solve Our Problems and How We Can
James P. Comer, Maurice Falk Professor of Child Psychiatry, Yale University

Race and School Desegregation: Legal and Educational Issues
Edgar G. Epps, Marshall Field IV Professor of Urban Education Emeritus, The University of Chicago, and Professor of Educational Policy and Community Studies, The University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee

Waiting for a miracle: Why schools can't solve our problems and how we can

James P. Comer, M.D., M.P.H.
Maurice Falk Professor of Child Psychiatry
Yale University School of Medicine - Yale Child Study Center

Keywords: Child Development, Cultural Differences, Educational Change, Elementary Secondary Education, Minority Group Children, Poverty, Racial Bias, Social Problems, Urban Schools

After twenty-five to thirty years of work, I really became concerned and began to reflect on what was going on, and why it was so difficult to change schools. Waiting for a Miracle, my latest book, is just that-a first-step reflection on the resistance and difficulty in changing schools.

Race and school desegregation: Contemporary legal and educational issues

Edgar G. Epps, Ph.D.
Marshall Field IV Professor of Urban Education Emeritus, The University of Chicago, and 
Professor, Educational Policy and Community Studies, The University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee

Keywords: Black Students, Desegregation Litigation, Educational Legislation, Elementary Secondary Education, Equal Education, Racial Bias, School Desegregation, Urban Schools, Educational Issues

Neighborhood narratives: Learning about lives through conversations, writing, and photographs

Angela M. Wiseman

In the suburbs, the police are much more on top of things than in the city. In Philly, they will beat you, but not in a good way. I have a girlfriend who lives in Cheltenham (a nearby suburb) and her car was stolen. They told her before she even knew it was gone! They called her in the morning and said, "We have your car. Some kids took it for a joyride." This would never happen where I live.

Our house was broken into. They took our wedding rings, Nintendo, other things. Those wedding rings were very special. We will have to save our money to get other ones.

I don't do anything in this neighborhood. Even as a child, my parents would take me out of it so that we could get things done.

Compiling a racial justice report card

Paul Socolar and Raymond Gunn
Reprinted with the permission of the Philadelphia Public School Notebook

"The School District is failing or refusing to provide an equal educational opportunity and a quality education to children attending racially isolated minority schools."

"The School District has not provided to Black and Hispanic students equal access to . . . the best qualified and most experienced teachers, equal physical facilities and plants, equal access to advanced or special admissions academic course offerings, or equal allocation of resources."


Starting Strong: A Different Look at Children, Schools, and Standards Patricia F. Carini. New York: Teachers College Press, 2001. 219 pp.

Betsy Wice
Frederick Douglass Elementary School, Philadelphia

The title comes from a story told by Toni Morrison in her Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech. Uppity children badger an older woman: "Is there no context for our lives? No song, no literature, no poem full of vitamins, no history connected to experience that you can pass along to help us start strong?... You are an adult... Stop thinking about saving your face. Think of our lives and tell us your particularized world."