Center helps bridge education gap

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    The nation's urban schools are suffering. Education, one of the elements that form the foundation for a stable society, isn't equal for children in urban areas.

    But the university is doing something about that inequality.

    The College of Education is operating the Center for Urban Education, which aims to balance that inequality by fixing the broken urban education system.

    According to the center, schools with low socioeconomic and/or predominantly minority students, have the most critical shortages of qualified teachers.

    The center aims to satisfy the need for qualified college graduates with graduates who know the issues facing urban schools.

    Jennifer Brooks, the director of the Center for Urban Education, said it's necessary for students to experience the problems in urban schools, and that's why teachers do observations and internships that expose them to those issues.

    "That is what helps the most – actually being there," said Chelsea Edge, a graduate student in the College of Education. "We can talk about it all we want to, but actually seeing and doing it makes a difference."

    There is also an effort to help students from urban schools be part of the solution, by encouraging them to pursue a career in education.

    It's impossible to close the gap between rich and poor or fix the problems that are plaguing urban communities and spilling over into troubled schools overnight. But by addressing issues like education, the university is chipping away at one challenge and giving young people in urban communities a fighting chance.

    Maybe they'll even come full circle and help the next generation – or even better, maybe by then there won't be a gap to close anymore.