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Article

Racial literacy includes understanding of the ways in which race and racism influences the social, economic, political, and educational experiences of individuals and groups. It includes being able to engage in competent and comfortable discussions about race and racism. Critical racial literacy focuses on understanding how systemic racism works. Systemic racism is embedded in institutions such as education, employment, housing, health services, religion, media, government and laws, and the legal systems. Critical racial literacy involves praxis (reflection and action) in order to interrupt racism in educational and familial contexts. An important premise of critical racial literacy is that racism can be intentional or unintentional. Racism is complex and occurs on different levels including individual, institutional, and societal and cultural forms. Educators who engage in critical racial literacy reject colorblind and race-neutral approaches. Likewise, reflecting on one’s racial identity is an important part of the process of becoming racially literate. In school settings, critical racial literacy can be used to detect and dismantle five types of racial violence in schools (physical, symbolic, linguistic, curricular or instructional, and systemic) as well as ways to interrupt them. A key focus is on developing racial literacy among educators and students at all levels from preschool through college. Critical racial literacy is important in families. Even young children can be engaged in the teaching and learning process about race and racism. African American and other families of color often have to teach children about racism because it is likely that children will encounter it in schools and society in general. A key part of racial literacy that families of color stress is how to straddle two cultures—their own and mainstream culture.

Article

Vanessa Dodo Seriki and Cory T. Brown

Racial realism, as posited by Derrick Bell, is a movement that provides a means for black Americans to have their voice and outrage about the racism that they endure heard. Critical race theorists in the United States have come to understand and accept the fact that racial equality is an elusive goal and as such studying education—teacher education in particular—requires the use of analytical tools that allow for the identification and calling out of instances of racism and institutions in which racism is entrenched. The tools for doing such work have not traditionally been a part of teacher education research. However, in 1995 Gloria Ladson-Billings and William F. Tate introduced a tool, critical race theory, to the field of education. Since that time, education scholars have used this theoretical tool to produce research that illuminates the pernicious ways in which racism impacts teacher education in the United States.

Article

Darrell Cleveland Hucks

Teachers’ values and beliefs shape learning environments and reinforce and support their expectations of students’ behaviors. Overtime, students’ behavior undergoes a norming process that influences their understanding of gender roles and gender identity. While there have been political shifts since the early 1980s around gender roles; for many in 2021 these traditional dichotomous notions of gender roles for boys and girls still exist in schools. Many boys are still encouraged to be tough, strong, and emotionally devoid of feelings. For girls, many are encouraged to be polite, sweet, and emotional. Boys are still given a pass for being aggressive, and it is still quite acceptable for girls to be passive. This non-inclusive gender binary continues to damage us as adults and promotes behaviors that do not allow for the complexities regarding gender identity, and then add the factor of race to the mix, and it gets even more complicated and, all of this left unchallenged, can lead to toxic behavior. Various examples of toxic masculinity can be found in the now readily available videos of police officers’ negative engagement with people of color around the globe. Teachers still have tremendous opportunities to intervene and educate students at all levels in ways that embrace difference and create a more empathetic society—will they do it? And what are the implications for changes that must occur in how they are prepared via teacher education programs to work with diverse learners?

Article

Barbara Applebaum

In 1903, standing at the dawn of the 20th century, W. E. B. Du Bois wrote that the color line is the defining characteristic of American society. Well into the 21st century, Du Bois’s prescience sadly still rings true. Even when a society is built on a commitment to equality, and even with the election of its first black president, the United States has been unsuccessful in bringing about an end to the rampant and violent effects of racism, as numerous acts of racial violence in the media have shown. For generations, scholars of color, among them Ralph Ellison, James Baldwin, and Franz Fanon, have maintained that whiteness lies at the center of the problem of racism. It is only relatively recently that the critical study of whiteness has become an academic field, committed to disrupting racism by problematizing whiteness as a corrective to the traditional exclusive focus on the racialized “other.” Critical Whiteness Studies (CWS) is a growing field of scholarship whose aim is to reveal the invisible structures that produce and reproduce white supremacy and privilege. CWS presumes a certain conception of racism that is connected to white supremacy. In advancing the importance of vigilance among white people, CWS examines the meaning of white privilege and white privilege pedagogy, as well as how white privilege is connected to complicity in racism. Unless white people learn to acknowledge, rather than deny, how whites are complicit in racism, and until white people develop an awareness that critically questions the frames of truth and conceptions of the “good” through which they understand their social world, Du Bois’s insight will continue to ring true.

Article

Amra Sabic-El-Rayess and Stephen P. Heyneman

Corruption is a societal problem which adversely affects nations’ efforts to improve lives of their citizens. It is normally thought to be centered on government procurement, taxation, and legal decisions and not in education. But it is a problem in education. How serious is it? The difficulty of responding to this question is that corruption in education, as with all illegal and unprofessional activities, is difficult to accurately measure. This limits researchers to predicting institutional and systemic levels of corruption by relying primarily on individual perceptions. Measuring direct experience with corruption is more difficult and hence more rare. Since 1993, Transparency International has taken a global pulse of corruption by conducting the world’s largest corruption survey to derive the Corruption Perception Index and rank nations from the most to the least corrupt. When it comes to corruption research, participants generally hesitate to share their experiences for fear of repercussions, which is why less corruption is likely to be reported than may be actually occurring within education systems. Corruption is manifest in a wide variety of forms. A broad range of literature on corruption in education has been published in the early 21st century, with the goal of defining corruption typologies and examining the effects which corruption has on education systems and those who depend on those education systems. But anticorruption efforts in education have had limited success and more research is needed on non-pecuniary forms of corruption and their relation to elite formation and institutionalized racism.

Article

The issue of language is a fundamental factor for redressing social inequalities in education. Language is also central to policy measures and management reflections, on political events and social processes that are often not factored in education policy discussions in Angola. Critical stance affords a growing acceptance of teaching and learning as a complex situated social practice. Critical multiculturalism insights and perspectives on language rights enable theproblematization of the media of instruction policies and how existing education policies downplay the question of inequalities to access quality education based on social class and race in Angolan education. Language education policies in Angola represent colonial legacy. Lusotropicalism ideologies are often used to reinforce colonial social and cultural imaginaries that result in disenfranchised indigenous communities. Thus, in the context of globalization, in which immigration imposes rapid changes in the sociolinguistic landscape of the country, initiatives aiming to promote the use of African languages in education (acquisition planning) might provide an opportunity for people who viscerally suffer from the marginalization of these languages. However, the opportunity to carve out a space for candid debate on the issues of language, social class, and education are fraught with tensions due to the fact that the issue of language, education, and race remains a taboo that has not deserved any systematic attention on the part of the government and educationists in particular. Therefore, complementarity between literacy teaching in African languages and Portuguese might project African languages into the linguistic market, provide privileged planning opportunities, and develop an educational system toward bilingual and multilingual literacy. In the heyday of postnational ideologies, language diversity is an asset that needs to be harnessed through critical engagement and critical multicultural education, while recognizing the role that language plays in enabling and disabling both majority and minority groups to access social, cultural, and economic resources that are necessary for surviving in the increasingly commodified and globalized world.

Article

In Germany, at the beginning of the 2000s, the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) not only served as a catalyst for the development and implementation of an overall strategy for quality assurance and development of the state school systems. The school effectiveness movement has also brought the issue of educational inequality, which had been lost out of sight in the 1980s, back on the agenda. In ongoing reforms, the improvement of the educational success of children and young people with a migration history and/or a socioeconomically deprived family background has been declared a priority. However similar to the situation in Anglo-American countries, where output-oriented and data-driven school reforms have been implemented since the 1980s, considerable tensions and contradictions became visible between the New Educational Governance and a human rights- and democracy-oriented school development. A Foucauldian discourse analysis of central education and integration policy documents at the federal political level from 1964 to 2019 examined how, and with what consequences, demands of inclusion, social justice, and democracy were incorporated, (re)conceptualized, distorted, or excluded in the New Educational Governance, which was a new type of school reform in Germany. The results of the study indicate that the new regulations of school development are far from shaping school conditions in a human rights–based understanding of inclusion and democratic education. The plethora of measures taken to improve the school success of children and young people with a history of migration (in interaction with other dimensions of inequality such as poverty, gender, or special educational needs) is undermined by a far-reaching depoliticization of discourse and normative revaluations. In the interplay of epistemology, methodology, and categories of school effectiveness research with managerialist steering instruments, spaces for democratic school development and educational processes, in which aspects of plurality, difference, and discrimination can be thematized and addressed in concerted professional action, appear to be systematically narrowed or closed. But the case of Germany also discloses some opposed tendencies, associated with the strengthened human rights discourse and new legislation to combat discrimination.

Article

Critical race theory (CRT) is a framework that attends to the prevalence, permanence, and impact of racism embedded within and manifested through the policies, practices, norms, and expectations of U.S. social institutions and how those concepts have differentially impacted the lived experiences of Black and Brown individuals. CRT bore out of the legal studies—complemented by philosophical and sociological fields—and has since been applied to a multitude of disciplines including education. Composed of several tenets or principles, CRT approaches to research, scholarship, and praxis take a structural, systematic, or systemic perspective rather than an individual or isolated perspective. CRT provides scholars and practitioners the ability to acknowledge and challenge structural racism and intersectional forms of oppression as foundational to the perceived and experienced inequities outlined by various constituents. In providing such a perspective, CRT facilitates the opportunity for future ideologies that promote radical and transformative change to systems and structures that perpetuate racial and intersectional-based oppression. STEM education—representing the disciplines of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics from inter- and intradisciplinary perspectives—constitutes the norms, ideologies, beliefs, and practices hallmarked by and within these fields, examined both separately as individual disciplines (e.g., science) and collectively (i.e., STEM). These concepts comprise what is noted as the culture of STEM. Scholarship on STEM education, broadly conceived, discusses the influence and impact of STEM culture across P–20+ education on access, engagement, teaching, and learning. These components are noted through examining student experiences; teachers’ (faculty) engagement, pedagogy, and practice; leadership and administration’s implementation of the aforementioned structures; and the creation and reinforcement of policies that regulate STEM culture. Critical race theoretical approaches to STEM education thus critique how the culture of STEM differentially addresses the needs and desires of various racially minoritized communities in and through STEM disciplines. These critiques are based on the fact that the power to disenfranchise individuals is facilitated by the culture of whiteness embedded within STEM culture, a perspective that is codified and protected by society to favor and privilege White people. CRT in STEM education research tackles the influence and impact of racism and intersectional oppression on racially minoritized individuals in and through STEM by revealing the manifestation and implications of racism and intersectional oppression on racially minoritized individuals’ STEM interactions. CRT in STEM also provides opportunities to reclaim and create space that more appropriately serves racially minoritized individuals through the use of counterstories that center the lived experience of said individuals at the crux of epistemological and ontological understandings, as well as the formation of policies, programs, and other actions. Such conceptions strive to challenge stakeholders within STEM to alter their individual and collective beliefs and perspectives of how and why race is a contending factor for access, engagement, and learning in STEM. These conceptions also strive to challenge stakeholders within STEM to reconfigure STEM structures to redress race-based inequity and oppression.

Article

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.

Article

Jennifer A. Vadeboncoeur, Paulo Padilla-Petry, Natalia Panina-Beard, and Surita Jhangiani

While descriptions of transitions between childhood and adulthood have existed for millennia, “adolescence” was first defined as a universal developmental stage characterized by instability, conflict, and risk-taking in the early 20th century in American psychology. Research has challenged this view of adolescence—as a biologically determined, universal stage marked by turbulence—and has exposed the assumptions underlying its characterization. Much of this scholarship highlights limitations in the theoretical and methodological assumptions that form the foundation for how research was and is conducted, as well as the claims made from research. The lack of acknowledgment of the ways in which history, society, and culture influence definitions of adolescence and the persistence of historical biases against young people may mask the needs and interests of particular groups of young people and individuals. Reviewing current research in the developmental sciences, with insights from various disciplines, highlights a growing awareness of the significance of interdisciplinarity and the limitations of the current body of scholarship. There is a significant need for theoretical and methodological perspectives that make visible the complexity of learning and developing into and through historical, social, and cultural environments, and the ways in which conditions specific to these environments impact children and youths. Even more urgent, however, is the need for approaches that attend to the ways in which dominant perspectives regarding culture, “race” and ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and gender and sexuality are systematically woven into environments, creating different learning and developmental opportunities for youths. Conceptualizing adolescences and inquiring into variations in the lived experiences of young people requires conceptual and methodological innovation, attention to the ways in which the conduct of research affects the outcomes of research, critical reflexivity on the part of researchers, and balancing research foci to include conducting research with young people as a method for understanding the experiences of groups of young people and individual youths in studies of participation and meaning-making. Cultural-historical approaches, emerging for almost a century, offer both theoretical and methodological advances for making visible how children and young people grow into and through their historical, social, and cultural environments. As individuals and their environments are inseparable, these approaches describe and explain how young people both shape and are shaped by the ecologies within which they are entangled. Further, these approaches acknowledge—and inquire into—the ways in which dominant perspectives regarding culture, “race” and ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and gender and sexuality frame ecologies and are accommodated, resisted, and/or transformed by youths.

Article

Despite the ubiquity of categories of race, sexuality, and gender in K–12 schools in the United States, there is limited research documenting how these categories influence the experiences of students, reflecting constraints on knowledge production, particularly with respect to queer of Color theories in education. Within the research that exists, scholars have used varying paradigms of difference, some of which erase and others of which recognize and theorize the relationships between race and queerness. Many studies have described intersecting structures of domination in U.S. schools and the lack of attention to intersectionality in school-based supports for queer youth. Fewer studies document examples of student resistance and activism, suggesting needs for future theorizing, research, and practice. Although the bodies of students, educators, staff, and family members in K–12 schools have been and continue to be understood through categories of race, sexuality, and gender, there is limited empirical research discussing the ways that race and queerness are co-constitutive of people’s experiences in the U.S. schooling system. In part, scholarly knowledge production has been constrained because of schools’ hostility to queer research and critical projects more generally, with queer research, and especially queer of Color research, often producing oppositional knowledge in tension with schools as state-sanctioned institutions. When research has been conducted about race and queerness in U.S. schools, scholars have used three main paradigms to conceptualize, or problematically erase, the relationship between race and queerness: discrete, additive, and intersectional perspectives. Discreteness suggests that race and queerness are separate, disconnected identities. The other two perspectives recognize interrelationships. An additive perspective suggests that identities are a sum of parts, whereas an intersectional perspective suggests identities as co-constitutive and resulting in unique, qualitatively different experiences. Research attending to the relationships of race and queerness has revealed that U.S. schools are unwelcoming if not outright hostile to queer youth, resulting in negative consequences such as lowered academic achievement and poorer psychological well-being. The particular experiences of and reactions to such marginalization vary with respect to intersections of race, ethnicity, sexuality, gender, and social class. Although school-based supports such as supportive educators, inclusive curriculum and policies, and extracurricular clubs are beneficial, too frequently these supports lack attention to intersections of race and queerness, limiting their beneficial impact. These tensions show the need for intersectional coalition building approaches to a key element of anti-racist queer educational activism. Importantly, queer youth enact resistance and activism in schools in ways that are individualized and collective. Some resistance has been school-sanctioned (such as writing) and other instances beyond what schools sanction (such as violence). Collective forms were most common as queer youth of Color often drew on embodied and community knowledges to advocate for themselves and peers. In the absence of broader support, queer youth often used privilege, such as whiteness, as protection and thus reified oppressive values and practices. Future educational research needs to focus further on the intersections of race and queerness to help inform educational theories and practices to help queer youth, both white and of Color, learn and flourish in U.S. schools.

Article

In the sphere of education, there is an ongoing conversation of world-making possibilities related to centering gender and its intersections in educational contexts. Central to this notion is a triangulation of family, school, and community. The world-making possibilities of this triangulation is bolstered by six characteristics: shared responsibility for student learning among school staff, families, and the larger community; seamless and continuous support for learning from birth to career; creation of pathways that honor the dynamic, multiple, and complementary ways that students learn; supportive culture for learning both in the classroom and throughout the community; opportunities and processes to foster advocacy for student learning; and quality education and learning opportunities for every child. Moving beyond this notion, a racialized and gendered dimension considers the influence of institutionalized racism and anti-Blackness in society on the academic success of children.