A University Assisted Community Schools Approach to Understanding Social Problems and Social Justice 

Robert F. Kronick, PhD
Professor, Department of Educational Psychology and Counseling Faculty Associate, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN, USA

Series: Social Issues, Justice and Status
BISAC: SOC026000

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Volume 10

Issue 1

Volume 2

Volume 3

Special issue: Resilience in breaking the cycle of children’s environmental health disparities
Edited by I Leslie Rubin, Robert J Geller, Abby Mutic, Benjamin A Gitterman, Nathan Mutic, Wayne Garfinkel, Claire D Coles, Kurt Martinuzzi, and Joav Merrick

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As this book cogently states this is an eclectic examination of current social problems using the lenses of literature, whether fiction or non-fiction, to open doors to understanding the potential for new and creative interventions that have the potential for transformative change. The beginning quote from Toni Morrison bringing light to those who don’t always find themselves true ownership to the land to which they are rooted in is a climate system for readers of this book.

James Agee and Walker Evans provide a clear and yet complex vision of how they came to study three families in Hale County, Alabama. Their work gives excellent details on how to enter cultures different from their own. Hillbilly Elegy, Appalachian Reckoning and Nickel Boys all written in the past three years yield description and rhetoric that inform social scientists of the human condition. Appalachian Reckoning disputes much of what J.D. Vance wrote. Furious Hours is an excellent source for data collection and analysis. Literature is not new to social commentary but these are contemporary works that can help scholar activists and public researchers who are doing research and publishing for the public. This is a major goal of this book.

Educational issues and their intersection with crime and mental issues are key topics of this cogent book. Opportunity gaps, school to prison pipeline, anxiety and many more issues are fodder for scholar activists that are adumbrated in this forceful book.

The community school is proffered as a hub of services for those thorny issues. The school is the place to offer services because so many are fractured in this country today and very likely to become more so. Systemic thinking is a key part of the interventions applied currently. A plus on this topic is that systems thinking is presented in a demystifying way.

Vignettes are a strength of this book in that they are what happened and they give readers insight into what worked and what didn’t. If you are a bridge player, one peak is worth two finesses. The people in these vignettes are as alive today as they were when these events took place.
(Imprint: Nova)

Acknowledgements

Introduction – On the Relevancy of Toni Morrison

Prologue

Chapter 1. Art, Science, and Value: University Assisted Community Schools

Chapter 2. On Making Let Us Now Praise Famous Men a Valuable Social Science Tool for Understanding Poor People and Poverty

Chapter 3. Community Schools: What Are They? Important Scholar Activists Speak

Chapter 4. A Novel Way to Examine Social Science Questions: Casey Cep and Colson Whitehead, Following the Tradition of James Agee and Walker Evans

Chapter 5. The Past, Present, and Future of the Goals of Education for All: Some Personal Asides
Chapter 6. Historical Antecedents: What Roles for Universities in Community Change

Appendix

Epilogue

References

Index

“This book is written for both experienced scholar-activists and those new to the field of scholar activism. With over 40 years of experience, the author shares his most notable successes and failures, some deeply personal, others representative of larger systemic issues. In all of his successes and failures, there were lessons to be learned. The author embeds his theoretical analysis within a rich, cultural context that is littered with personal anecdotes, Bob Dylan songs, and some of his favorite fiction and non-fiction authors. For example, he describes one notable failure in a section entitled “To get [sic] stuck inside a mobile with the Memphis blues again.” In this chapter the author describes his foray into an urban, politically contested school debate that seemed to play out along racial and class lines. His team – an undergraduate student from Memphis, a graduate student, and a state representative – were all deeply committed to the community school model but soon realized they had failed to adequately consider the legacy of segregation. The lesson: context matters. A number of successes provide readers with the foundational and conceptual frameworks that demonstrate the utility of community schools. Communities and campus partners give each school a unique character that affects programming, goals, and engagement with children and their families. Two university-assisted community schools in Knoxville, Tennessee illustrate this point. The lesson: context matters. The social, political, and economic climate in which schools exist punctuate the need for community schools that reflect the people of the communities in which they are embedded. Community schools will continue to fill the gaps left by compromised systems, which deny full educational opportunities to marginalized groups. This book provides a lens by which this model can be further understood and replicated.” - Sylvia D. Turner, Ph.D., Associate Director, Haslam Scholars Program, The University of Tennessee, USA

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