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“Race,” Inequality, and Education in the Czech Republic  

Dana Moree, Alena Kosak Felcmanova, and Magdaléna Karvayová

“Race” and education are profoundly interconnected in the Czech context, and this is especially visible with respect to the issue of the Roma population. The communist regime of the former Czechoslovakia made use of the educational environment to strengthen its ideology through teacher training, discriminative legislation, and changing the content of education. “Race” issues in society were “solved” by segregating most Roma children into what were called “special schools” for the mentally disabled. The fall of communism introduced freedom and changes to all of society, particularly in the education system, but new education legislation was not passed until 15 years after the fall of communism, and it did not address issues around discrimination sufficiently. In 2007, the European Court of Human Rights ruled against the Czech Republic for having discriminated against a group of Roma children during the 1990s. This means a discriminatory situation and its consequences were still visible almost 30 years after the fall of communism. In response to this ruling, inclusion policy began to be promoted in Czech schools as of 2016. The situation from the perspective of legislation has been becoming more equal—the Act on Education has been amended, the financial support for disadvantaged children in education has become more transparent, and so on, but data from research conducted after amendment of the Act on Education show that the situation in or near what are called “socially excluded areas” has become much more difficult. Roma children are segregated not just by the official decisions of school establishers (municipalities) but also through parents, teachers, and head teachers from the majority population who interpret the applicable rules in such a way that Roma children, pupils, and students are concentrated into specific schools and do not attend school together with majority-society (non-Roma) children. “Race” issues, in combination with poverty, are drawing new borders around access to education. Roma children are not always welcome in the schools. These are reasons why the interconnectedness of the education system with issues related to racism in the context of a transforming society should be carefully analyzed. There are several facets of the topic, which we should take into consideration: First, terms like race, culture, and ethnicity are very often used without a deeper discussion of their meaning. It is necessary to use them precisely and reflectively. Second, this interconnectedness between race and education works on individual and interpersonal levels, the cultural level, and the structural level. They all should be taken into consideration while planning research, changes, or interventions. Finally, the interplay between these three levels is visible when we analyze real examples from the field (e.g., an intervention initiated by a nongovernmental Roma organization, Awen Amenca, in the city in the Czech Republic with the highest concentration of socially excluded localities).

Article

Racial Violence in the United States  

Darius D. Prier

Since the “discovery” of the so-called New World, The U.S. has carried a history of a violent past. It is a past in which genocide toward Native Americans and enslavement of Black Americans are uncomfortable truths in the annals of history. The racial legacy of such a violent past has its roots in the ideology of White supremacy. This is an ideology in which racialized “others” are cast as subordinate and inferior to persons socially constructed as “White.” It is not just a designation of ideology but can inform discriminatory practices toward communities of color, with even fatal outcomes for this population. Subsequently, racial violence has become an empirical fact of the U.S. social reality. The U.S. legacy of racial violence continues to proliferate in the 21st century, albeit in different forms than genocide and slavery. African American, Latino(a)(x), Jewish, Asian/Pacific Islander, and the LGBTQIA+ communities have been subject to targeted acts of racial violence. In addition, women have been the victims of gender violence. The event that signified White America’s animus toward communities of color came to a crescendo happened when White nationalists went to war against democracy through a violent insurrection on Capitol Hill, January 6, 2021. The documented mass murders toward many of the aforementioned groups and the insurrection on Capitol Hill belie and challenge the notion and ideal of progress toward a “color-blind” society. The resurgence of racial violence since the 2010s has been coupled with many legislators of the nation-state rejecting all forms of anti-racist pedagogy, particularly in K–12 schools. This political movement to cancel discussions of race and racism in schools began with the Trump administration’s executive order to eliminate critical race theory in all areas of the workplace before he left office. While the executive order was rescinded by the Biden administration, several states have passed laws, rejecting any form of anti-racist pedagogy in K–12 schools. Proponents of the rejection of critical race theory argue that groups cannot be marked or stigmatized as morally incompetent or superior to other groups. In addition, they assert that no group should feel discomfort because of their history and that groups should not be discriminated against because of their race. Furthermore, proponents insist education should not be taught in an ideological or political manner. Critics offer that political efforts by far-right ideologues to reject anti-racist pedagogy can hinder students’ understanding of race, violence, and inequality. They also argue that these efforts are unethical, as they silence a critical education, in which students can read of the world of violence as a means to critique issues of racism, discrimination, and inequitable treatment toward communities of color. Debating, critiquing, and responding to racial violence in U.S. society are critical to the maintenance and preservation of democracy. Advocates for social justice education argue that the political is pedagogical, that racial violence toward communities of color requires an ethical and moral interrogation of our values as educators. Therefore, critics of those who decenter anti-racist pedagogy in a culture of racial violence suggest that their claims to a neutral education rest on unethical terms for social justice.

Article

Theater, Drama, Education, and Pasifika Youth in Aotearoa New Zealand  

Michelle Johansson

Pasifika people constitute a young, diverse, and growing portion of the population of Aotearoa New Zealand, with multiple cultural identities originating in the Cook Islands, Niue, Tokelau, Samoa, Tonga, Fiji, Tuvalu, Tahiti, and Kiribati. Pasifika people are also subject to both new and historical disparities in income, employment, education, housing, and health in comparison with other ethnic groups. Significantly, education in Aotearoa continues to fail Pasifika youth, reporting a persistent long brown tail of underachievement in standards-based assessment. Multiple government interventions have been implemented to address these increasing disparities, but these have been ineffective in achieving the widespread systemic change necessary for true equity. Pasifika youth are regularly required to code-switch between Western colonial worldviews, systems, and structures and those of indigenous-Oceania. Theater in Aotearoa provides a powerful site in which to navigate these multiple cultural identities, advocate for societal change, and negotiate the heritage literacies associated with storytelling and the performing arts. South Auckland, in particular, is a crucible for nurturing young Pasifika creative artists interested in re-storying their world.

Article

The Global Response of Universities and Colleges to the COVID-19 Pandemic and Their Post-Pandemic Futures  

Gwilym Croucher

For universities and colleges around the world the COVID-19 pandemic caused significant disruption. The pandemic created challenges and possibilities, as well as amplifying existing trends for higher education institutions. The initial pandemic-related disruption affected universities and their students in many countries and had widespread effects on their operations and teaching. In particular, the temporary closure of campuses had implications for the “on campus” experience, and the closure of inter- and intra-national borders reshaped patterns of the international movement of students. The widespread and rapid shift to online education showed possibilities and limitations for technology-enhanced learning. In addition, the pandemic had an impact on government priorities for funding higher education when many were faced with unprecedented fiscal pressures, leading to funding reductions for some universities.

Article

Centering Race Within Adult Education Theory in the United States  

Sydney D. Richardson

Higher education in the United States operates as it was originally designed: to benefit traditional-aged, middle-and upper-class White men. People of color and White women were meant to adapt to this structure and persevere through the higher education structure in order to succeed (i.e., graduate). This structure continues to exist. Institutions were originally designed for one student demographic; any student who does not fit this image is presented with barriers and obstacles as they matriculate, especially when the student is nontraditional (i.e., adult) and a person of color. As universities take on the challenge of creating diverse, inclusive campuses, one cannot help but realize how far education has to go to create this utopia for racially minoritized adult students. When reviewing many popular theories of adult education, it becomes easy to see that andragogy, self-directed learning, and transformative learning were not created with the Black and Brown student managing nonacademic adversities in mind. The theories were designed based on the ideal adult student at the time of development: White, young, middle or upper class, and needing education in the classroom. This ideal is very different from the Black or Brown student facing discrimination while walking to class due to societal microaggressions and preconceived stereotypes. However, reviewing adult education theories using components of critical race theory as a framework makes it possible to understand how racially minoritized adult students are at a disadvantage on college campuses.

Article

Critical Policy Analysis in Education  

Kate O'Connor and Sophie Rudolph

Critical policy analysis has emerged as a prominent tradition of research in the field of education. Beginning in the 1980s in response to the failings of more traditional forms of policy analysis, this work typically examines the kinds of discourses and power relations that may be at play through the construction and function of policy. It is critical in orientation and interested in the social, cultural, and political context of policy as well as how analyzing policy may reveal opportunities for social change and reform. In contrast to traditional approaches which take policy problems as given, research in this tradition interrogates how discourse, language, and text set the context for how policy problems and solutions are conceptualized and how and why particular issues come to be framed as objects of concern. Critical policy analysis encompasses a range of different methodological approaches rather than a single method, with the approach taken dependent on the nature of the policy under analysis, the site of its production, the purpose of the research, and the positionality of the researcher. Four particularly prominent and generative approaches to critical policy analysis in educational research include (a) analysis of how policy is formed and operates across local and global contexts; (b) the What’s the Problem Represented to Be? approach; (c) research on networks and mobilities; and (d) research drawing on Indigenous Critical Discourse Analysis. Each of these approaches offers insights for understanding problems of inequality and power in education and their origins and reproduction within and in relation to policy.

Article

Education Research Beyond Cyborg Subjectivities  

Annette Gough and Noel Gough

The term “cyborg,” as a combination of “cybernetics” and “organism,” was coined by Manfred Clynes and Nathan Kline in 1960 in a paper presented at a National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) conference on space exploration as a representation of a particular challenge of space travel: physically adapting a human body to survive in a hostile environment rather than modifying the environment. Soon after, NASA commissioned “The Cyborg Study” to investigate the theoretical possibilities of incorporating life support–related technologies into future spacecraft design. From the beginning, cyborgs were seen as the realization of a transhumanist goal—liberating humans from the limitations of the body and its environment by means of mechanization. Outside of space exploration, the term “cyborg” has evolved to encompass an expansive mesh of the mythological, metaphorical, and technical. Initially mainly taken up by science fiction writers to create superhumans, the notion entered cultural studies in the 1980s, particularly through Donna Haraway’s feminist “cyborg manifesto,” which argues that we are all cyborgs. Since then, terminology has shifted, and cyborgs are more likely called “posthumans,” “more-than-humans,” “other-than-humans,” or “companion species.” Discussions of cyborg and posthuman subjectivities in educational research have taken two main directions. The first argues that with equipment like tablets, smartphones, and laptops, students and teachers are already cyborgs—hybrids of human and machine—accessing information, resources, networks, groups, personal relations, libraries, and mass media through the Internet. Other research has investigated how the construction of cyborg and posthuman subjectivities changes the relationships between humans and their surroundings, devising new social, ethical, and discursive ways of thinking and representation.

Article

Race and the Educational Experiences of Multicultural Families and Biracial Children in Korea  

Eun-Jeong Han and Ellen Kang

Since the mid-1990s, Korea has been transitioning from an ethnically homogenous nation to a multicultural society, mostly due to the growing number of multicultural families. There are a number of issues associated with students from multicultural families (SMFs) in education: (a) lack of Korean language proficiency; (b) lower academic performance; (c) higher rates of mental or psychological issues; (d) higher rates of being bullied, discriminated against, and school dropout; and (e) lack of knowledge of support programs, the stigma of utilizing them, and program efficacy. Existing governmental programs utilize an assimilationist approach, which implies the problems reside in SMFs, when the emphasis should also be applied to an orchestrated shift in cultural values that would embrace multiculturalism.

Article

Career Change Teachers: Caveat and Opportunities in Workforce Planning for Schools  

Babak Dadvand, Merryn Dawborn-Gundlach, Jan van Driel, and Chris Speldewinde

Teacher shortage has emerged as a significant policy concern in post-pandemic times, prompting governments to attract more individuals into the teaching profession, including those with career experiences outside schools and the education sector. The term “career change teachers” refers to those who enter teaching often later in life after spending some time in other professions. Career change teachers have qualities that make them particularly attractive candidates for teaching, including a strong sense of purpose and a commitment to care, up-to-date content knowledge, practical skills that can make learning more engaging and meaningful for students, and a broad set of organizational skills from their previous career or careers. Various incentives from governments throughout the world and a growing number of alternative pathways into teaching that combine intensive studies with teaching duties have offered more flexibility for individuals to undertake their Initial Teacher Education (ITE) mid-career. However, front-focused policy solutions that prioritize teacher recruitment over teacher retention tend not to address the revolving door of admission and attrition. Loss of investment occurs when new teachers, including career changers, leave the profession prematurely because they are not adequately supported during their transition into study and teaching. A retention-focused workforce planning strategy is needed, one that addresses the structural and education system-level contributors to high teacher turnover. Such a strategy will have implications for the types of support provided to career change teachers in their transition into ITE and teaching.

Article

The Destructive Long-Term Impact of Disasters on Black and Brown Schooling Communities in the United States  

Cassandra R. Davis

Recent research shows that hurricanes, tropical storms, and flooding are likely to increase in quantity and intensity. Yet, despite the frequency of these hazards, there is little work that documents the relationship between disasters, low-income communities of color, and schooling. There is a dearth of literature documenting how these communities in high-impacted areas are affected, recover, and remain resilient following a storm.