Robert Doyle

SOCY 327

Week 12, Blog 10


My name is Robert Doyle and I am a student at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Va.  I am very interested in pursuing an internship with you during the summer.  I am getting my degree in Sociology and have developed an interest in urban education.  I am currenting taking a course in Urban Sociology and it has opened my eyes to the multiple problems with our urban cities.  Prior to this course, I did not have a full understanding of the plight of our urban cities.  My experience with education has been completely different in what I have read of our poorer urban youths.  I feel more empathy for poor neighborhoods and am completely overwhelmed by their disadvantages.  It does seem to be fair to have such a huge difference depending on where you live.  I hope to continue to learn more on how I can help to improve these conditions.   It is also unfair that the color of your skin can influence your educational opportunities.  Thank you for considering my application.


According to “Three Charts Showing You Poverty in Large Cities and Metro Areas”, The ACS reported that in 2016, 14.0 percent of the U.S. population lived below the poverty line, down from 14.7 percent in 2015.”  Large metro areas had more significant drops than the suburbs.  New Orleans is another example of concentrated poverty ten years after Hurricane Katrina.  There has been a lot of emphasize on cities, but the data shows that are pushing the poverty out to the suburbs.  We need to continue to look at what the reasons behind the data and not just at the numbers.  Another example is New York.  As neighborhoods are bought and improved, the wealthy people are moving in.  People who grew up in the neighborhood can no longer afford to live there.  On the surface, the improvements seem like a good thing but if they push out lower socioeconomic families, they have not addressed the issues. The rising cost of housing and rent becomes an issue for the current tenants.   It seems that the U. S. is just moving the problem to another area. This leads to less resources for the schools and other public areas.  This leads to more problems.  There needs to be a systematic overhaul to help the impoverished areas.

Urban Education:

I believe that Dr. Noguera said it best when he stated that the only way to address the state of education in the U. S. was to address the social inequality.  It is not a simple problem of race.  According to Dr. Noguera, we must look the backgrounds of the children.  This would include the family income, education, neighborhood support and the schools themselves.  Do the schools have adequate resources to include competent teachers?  Unfortunately, there is still significant lack of African Americans and Latinos in higher education.  This is especially evident in how these males are viewed by our society.  There is an organization that is helping this.  It is the Coalition of Schools Educating Boys of Color.  Unfortunately, the high cost of tuition for colleges are going to be a detriment to lower income students.  These biggest problems will continue to be access and cost.


Social stratification is class separation that is determined by wealth, power and prestige.   Marx view of social stratification was two classes.  There was the proletariat or working class and the bourgeoisie who were the owners of the production.  He predicted an uprising with the working class.    Marx felt that the working class was not valued and treated poorly by the owners.  Weber did not agree with Marx.   Weber viewed social stratification more as a spectrum of wealth.  He felt that prestige, power, property and wealth were all important.  He felt that the workers could benefit with increases in production.  Weber’s view is a more modern view with workers becoming more educated and increasing in wealth.

  1. Segregated Schools/Segregated Neighborhoods


                                                  New York        New Orleans          Detroit          Oakland

Segregated Schools                    50%                         43%                       55%             35%

Segregated Neighborhoods        33%                         45%                       54%             22%

  1. Kid Count

Kids Count-Childhood Poverty

100%                                       25%                        28%                       48%            48%

150%                                       39%                        41%                       34%            65%

200%                                       49%                        50%                       76%            47%

  1. The Opportunity Atlas

Black Males (Low Income)

Household Income                    $21k                      $ 27%

Incarcerated                               10%                         6%

Married                                      14%                        19%

Employed                                   71%                        76%

Individual Income                       $20k                       $25


  1. The first thing that jumps out at you is the high percentage of segregated schools. Except for New Orleans, all the school are more segregated than the neighborhoods.  Detroit is closer in percentage than the others.
  2. The poverty level for the children are huge.  At 100%, Detroit and Oakland are the highest.  The numbers change at 150% with Oakland being 31% higher than the Detroit at the lowest.  At 200%, New York, New Orleans and Oakland are very close in their percentage, but Detroit had a huge jump to 76%.  This data should be researched further to see what the significance of this is and why.


  1. In looking at the five data points between New York and New Orleans, it looks very similar. Both the household income and individual income is lower in New York than New Orleans.  New York has a higher rate of black males incarcerated and a lower employment rate.  There is also a lower rate of married black males in New York.  Many of these factors could lead to a higher crime rate.  It wasn’t a data point but in previous blogs, New York had a higher cost of level.  There is also a great margin between the wealthy and the poor.


Final Reflections:

As you can see, I am very passionate about urban education.  I know that it is not a simple problem with a simple solution.  There is less ability for young African American and Hispanic males to get a good education.  The cost of education is rising.  The neighborhoods which have been improved have higher rents.  Landlords are forcing their tenants out to make more money. In Kandice Summer’s Ted Talk, she talked about survivor remorse. When she was five, she took an hour bus ride to get a better education.  She felt that she didn’t deserve this good education when her friends couldn’t.  I never had to do any of the things that her family had to do.  No child should feel that they don’t deserve a good education.  It shouldn’t matter where you live.  Maybe we can’t fix the cost of colleges, but we should be able to fix public education.  Every child should have the same advantages regardless of their neighborhoods.  Even if I don’t get a chance to work with you, I will continue to work to improve education.  I think that courses like this one will continue to inspire us to change and not accept that it is okay.