This course offers an introduction to, and an overview of, many of the key issues confronting urban public schools in America. Conversations about schooling, and urban schooling in particular, are currently at the forefront of public discussions about how to improve the economy and the nation as a whole. In this course we will examine the historical, social, and cultural contexts of urban education and schooling in society. Beginning with philosophical and theoretical perspectives on why we educate, this course will also explore the ways in which schools are implicated in a range of social issues and we will interrogate the role of education in relation to social mobility, life changes, and civic opportunity. This course will also critically examine recent policies and reform efforts which have been designed to remedy the urban public school "crisis." In addition to readings and class discussions, popular media (e.g. news reports, and films and documentaries on urban schools) will also be used to provide students with an opportunity to explore these larger course themes and issues, particularly as they relate to public schools in Philadelphia.