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A City Education: Telling the Truth About Modern School Segregation

A City Year Orlando corps member reflects on what attending a segregated school means for his students.


In our A City Education series, City Year corps members share their experiences working as tutors and mentors in schools in hopes of closing the achievement gap and ending the dropout crisis.

By all accounts, the walk down Auburn Avenue in downtown Atlanta is very different today than it was 50 years ago. What was once a truly vibrant black community is now divided by Interstate 75 and Interstate 85. Those overpasses don’t just serve as highways. Underneath one in particular is a paradox that embodies the community today. One side of the street is a large sculpture of Martin Luther King Jr.—a reminder that this is the place that produced our nation’s greatest civil rights leader. On the other side, the highway serves as a roof for the city’s most unfortunate and forgotten citizens.

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A City Education: Schools That Overcome Challenges Become Communities

What do schools that overcome challenges all have in common? They become true communities.


In our A City Education series, City Year corps members share their experiences working as tutors and mentors in schools in hopes of closing the opportunity gap and ending the dropout crisis.

In Anna Karenina, Tolstoy writes, "All happy families are like one another, each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way." I can see some resemblance of this idea in education.

A school may face policy problems like curriculum and funding or it may struggle with larger community problems like poverty, violence and substance abuse. But the schools that overcome those challenges and are the most effective all seem to have something in common: They have a diverse group people who care enough to do whatever it takes to help that school succeed. In fact, it seems to me that the more people who have a vested interest in seeing a school succeed, the more likely it is to happen.

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