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Teacher Education and Whiteness and Whiteness in Teacher Education in the United States  

Cheryl E. Matias, Naomi W. Nishi, and Geneva L. Sarcedo

A litany of literature exists on teacher preparation programs, known as teacher education, and whiteness, which is the historical, systematic, and structural processes that maintain the race-based superiority of white people over people of color. The theoretical frameworks of Critical Race Theory (CRT) and Critical Whiteness Studies (CWS) are used to explore whiteness and teacher education separately; whiteness within teacher education; the impact of teacher education and whiteness on white educators, educators of Color, and their students; and cautions and recommendations for teacher education and whiteness. Although teacher education and whiteness are situated within the current US sociopolitical context, the historical colonial contexts of other countries may find parallel examples of whiteness. Within this context, the historical purposes behind teacher education and the need for quality teachers in an increasingly diverse student population are identified using transdisciplinary approaches in CRT and CWS to define and describe operations of whiteness in teacher education. Particularly, race education scholars entertain the psychoanalytic, philosophical, and sociological ruminations of race, racism, and white supremacy in society and education to understand more fully how whiteness operates within teacher education. For example, an analysis of psychological attachments found in racial identities, particularly between whiteness and Blackness, helps to fully comprehend racial dynamics between teachers, who are overwhelmingly racially identified as white, and students, who are predominantly racially identified as of Color. Whiteness in teacher education, left intact, ultimately affects K-12 schooling and students, particularly students of Color, in ways that recycle institutionalized white supremacy in schooling practices. Acknowledging how reinforcing hegemonic whiteness in teacher education ultimately reifies institutional white supremacy in education altogether; implications and cautions as well as recommendations are offered to debunk the hegemonic whiteness that inoculates teacher education. Note: To symbolically reverse the racial hierarchy in our research, the authors opt to use lowercase lettering for white and whiteness, and to capitalize “people of Color” to recognize it as a proper noun along with Black and Brown.

Article

Restorative Justice in Education  

Kristin Elaine Reimer and Crystena Parker-Shandal

Restorative justice in education (RJE) is a philosophical framework that centers relationships in schools, calls attention to issues of justice and equity, and provides processes to heal harm and transform conflict. The use of restorative justice (RJ) in schools gained large-scale attention from teachers and school boards since the 2010s. In the 1990s and early 2000s many school boards around the world took up what was generally known as “zero tolerance” approaches. It meant that punitive responses, such as suspension, expulsion, and exclusionary practices, were used by administrators and teachers more readily and frequently. Research continues to show that exclusionary punishments are harmful—especially to Indigenous students, students of color, and other marginalized students—in many ways, for example, increasing dropout rates, decreasing overall student achievement, and strengthening the school-to-prison pipeline. Gaining more momentum in the 2010s (although practiced by many teachers and communities before this), RJ approaches became a way to challenge a system that was simply not working and further harming students. Many educators and school boards saw RJE as a means to reduce suspensions and expulsions and to increase their graduation rates. Others have seen RJE as a critical process for facilitating school equity and racial justice. This continuum of approaches to RJE impacts how research is conducted, what research questions are asked, who is included in the research process, and how it is disseminated. While some researchers still position RJE as solely an alternative to punitive disciplinary models, an increasing number of researchers view RJE as a paradigm shift for how people relate to one another in the context of schools, including through relational approaches to pedagogy. This relational way of being centers people’s humanity and promotes shared accountability within learning communities.

Article

Black Literacy Education in the United States  

Arlette Ingram Willis

Globally, nations have sanctioned histories, or versions of history, that they promote and use to indoctrinate the masses, usually from a flattering and narrow point of view that justifies actions and frames events based on a belief, ideology, philosophy, or value. There are multiple histories in every nation, histories among those who are not in power, that are dismissed, ignored, minimized, or removed; and this is especially true for people of African descent. Disentangling the interwoven histories of the past to provide a more accurate, honest, and thoughtful explanation is a necessary undertaking. History is informed by those with a ready pen, and histories of United States education and literacy are no exception. These histories also are framed by the ideological, political, and social contexts and supports, of a select version of history. In short, histories tell a story, not necessarily the story. Within the history of education and literacy in the United States, the lives and literacy of people of African descent have been diminished, mischaracterized, unreported, and undervalued. People of African descent possessed and used literacy prior to their arrival in the ‘New World’ from varying regions of Africa and prior to enslavement in the United States. Too often, Black literacy education, from the 1600s to the present, has not been informed by Black scholarship or an acknowledgment of the anti-Black racism and anti-literacy laws, policies, and statutes used to legally obstruct literacy access for Black people. Black historians seek to understand how beliefs, ideologies, and values framed and influenced Black literacy access. To do so, they have examined federal and state primary source documents and have interrogated written records describing the beliefs, ideology, and reasoning used to codify anti-Black racism and anti-literacy laws, policies, and statutes. Documents help to clarify how initial and repeated reasoning is used to justify patterns of behavior and maintenance of anti-literacy policies. Counternarratives informed by Black writers of articles, broadsides, essays, newspapers, novels, poems, slave narratives, and scholarship provide an alternative perspective on the history of Black literacy education. Vignettes celebrate and convey a rich history of Black people’s resilience and struggle for equitable literacy education from the late 1600s to the present, as the struggle continues.