Rebuilding Schools, Restoring Communities: A Vision of Urban Educational Evaluation

Rodney K. Hopson, Jennifer C. Greene, Katrina L. Bledsoe, Trinidad M. Villegas, Tanya A. Brown

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Our vision of evaluation for urban education contexts is indeed multi-dimensional and expansive. Such a vision is respectful of the complexity and heterogeneity of urban settings in North America, and it offers multiple spaces for reconstituting this complexity in more democratic ways. Our vision of urban educational evaluation, that is, aims both to respect the multiplicity and diversity of life experiences and values that comprise urban communities, as well as to encourage and promote meaningful engagement with experiences, activities, and policies that serve democratic values of voice and empowerment, justice and equity. The vision is thus ideological – but so are all conceptions of evaluation (Greene, 1997). Yet, it is driven not by its ideological character but rather by its commitment to respectfully engage with the complex contours and dynamics of educational interactions and activities within urban school communities.

So, to understand our vision for evaluation in the dynamic urban educational settings of North America inevitably means understanding how evaluation is framed alongside notions of democracy, social change, and social justice within our contemporary society. Additionally, this vision is shaped by our interdisciplinary interests in educational, public health, and social policy and prevention efforts among all communities, especially those of color who tend to be most often marginalized, are immigrant, and may also be bilingual or multilingual. The chapter begins with insights from selected theoretical underpinnings that help us make sense of evaluation in urban educational settings. The chapter then considers major trends in urban education as it simultaneously problematizes how urban education is defined and perceived in North America with primary attention on the U.S. Snapshots of the unique experiences of evaluation in urban educational contexts and settings of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Illinois are presented, followed by an elaboration of our vision for urban educational evaluation. Overall, the chapter strives to advance a character of urban education and a vision for urban education through evaluation that values and privileges the creation of more equitable educational relationships and spaces.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationInternational Handbook of Urban Education
EditorsWilliam T. Pink, George W. Noblit
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-4020-5199-9
ISBN (Print)978-1-4020-5198-2
StatePublished - 2007


  • social capital
  • civic engagement
  • urban school
  • evaluation team
  • civic action


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