This conceptual article examines the influence of the current standards-based reform upon science education policies and practices within urban schools. We identify four negative yet unforeseen effects of the reform movement: undermining urban teachers' professionalism, eroding teacher-student relationships, diluting the science curriculum, and disparate instruction based on predicted individual test performance. Our awareness of these nuisances emerged from our first-hand engagement with urban science teaching and through our collegial relationships with exemplary urban teachers. In closing, we propose mechanisms by which university-based science educators might address these issues by assisting exemplary urban teachers to resist the reform-induced perils and by incorporating the urban milieu as a substantive aspect of science teacher education. © 2002 Wiley-Liss, Inc.