Urban Education


What has become vividly clear in recent years is that if education is to be truly reclaimed as a public good, if education for democratic citizenship is to be prioritized over mere workforce training, and if our students’ real learning is to take precedence over efficiency-driven standardized curricula and tests, such changes will not be initiated from the top. Particularly in urban settings, such changes will only be generated from the ground up; they must begin with teachers and activists. The Master of Science in Transformative Education and Social Change, with a certificate in Urban Education is aimed at students who are educators in Philadelphia – in schools and/or communities - who seek to examine their profession, and their own practice within it, as well as their work in relation to the society in which they live. Within the context of the action research model, this innovative, interdisciplinary, practitioner-oriented program is designed to provide educators with an opportunity to identify concerns and conduct research that has direct impact on their professional lives, communities, and workplaces.


For more information regarding the Educational Technology Certificate courses, please see the Graduate Catalog.


EDU500 - Introduction to Urban Education and Social Change

This course offers an introductory and cross-disciplinary examination of historical and contemporary issues related to education in urban America. Course readings and discussion will focus on various perspectives in the field in order to understand the key issues and debates confronting urban education. Students will examine historical, philosophical, political, economic, and socio-cultural frameworks for understanding urban schools, students, and teachers. The course is divided into three interrelated themes. Typical urban education courses examine and apply urban education theories without sufficiently studying the critical theories that ground said examination and application. Tacking in a slightly different direction, one of the aims of this course is to study theoretical frameworks that serve as the foundation for critical urban education theory and practice. The first theme of the course, Introduction to Critical Theories Applicable to Urban Education, introduces students to some of the canonical texts written by critical theorists from a variety of perspectives. Moving from Theme I to Theme II: Critical Analysis of Urban Education Philosophy, Policy, and Schooling, students will read the work of urban education specialists who conduct critical analyses of urban education realities in the United States. Because the aim of this course is to not only critique current urban education realities, but re-imagine and transform them, the course concludes with the study of Re-Imagining and Transforming 21st Urban Education, the third and final theme of the course. Taken together, the three themes of this course will empower urban educators to critically analyze and transform education in Philadelphia and other urban settings.
Typically offered in Summer. (3 Credits)

EDU530 - Education, Cities, and Social Struggle Across the Americas

In this course students will examine the concepts and practices of education emerging from urban social struggles in urban North, Central, and South America. The diversity of populations in Latin American cities and the region's political, cultural, and economic achievements and challenges have shaped unique education philosophies and practices. Likewise, a variety of education philosophies and practices within the region have had enormous sociological, political, and economic impacts on the region's populations, especially in urban centers. The principle aim of this course is to begin an exploration of Latin American philosophies of education and their potential impact on urban education. Particular emphasis will be placed on investigating the different ways that philosophers of Latin American education have conceptualized education as a (trans)formative and liberatory process.
Typically offered in Fall & Spring. (3 Credits)

EDU560 - Urban Education for Sustainability

This course offers an advanced overview of the principles and practices of environmental and sustainability education as they apply to formal and non-formal urban contexts. The course is designed to engage the student in an exploration of how environmental and sustainability education can contribute to urban sustainability. The focus is on perspectives and practices that foster individual and community well-being in urban contexts.
Typically offered in Fall & Spring. (3 Credits)


EDU580 - Critical History of Education in Philadelphia

This course will explore the history of education in the City of Philadelphia from the pre-Revolutionary War period to today, through the lenses of diversity, policy, and pedagogy.
Typically offered in Spring. (3 Credits)


A course in urban education or closely related field. Students must consult departmental advisor to confirm elective selection. 


Contact Information

Dr. Jason Wozniak

Assistant Professor

(610) 436-3019

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