K–12 school employee perpetrated student sexual abuse, misconduct, and exploitation is the sexual boundary crossing of school employees to include verbal, visual, physical, and/or social media conduct of a sexual nature by a school employee directed toward a student. The sexual abuse of students by school employees is a worldwide problem that is under-documented and systematically ignored. Empirical work published since the first studies in the early 1980s explore five questions. How prevalent is the sexual abuse of students in schools? Who abuses? Who is abused? How does it happen? And, how can it be prevented?
Edmund C. Short
Curriculum proposals are sets of visionary statements intended to project what some person or group believes schools or school systems should adopt and utilize in formulating their actual curriculum policies and programs. Curriculum proposals are presented when there is a perceived need for change from curriculum that is currently in place. The specific changes stated in a curriculum proposal can be either quite limited or very comprehensive. If a totally restructured curriculum is recommended, particular prescriptions are necessarily based on some overall conception of what curriculum is by definition and what its constituent elements are, and therefore what topics are to be addressed in a curriculum proposal. Attempts have been made to conceptualize curriculum holistically, as an entity clearly distinguished from all other phenomena, but no agreed upon conception has emerged. To provide a new theoretical and practically useful framework for how curriculum may be conceived, a 10-component conceptualization of curriculum has been stipulated, elucidated, and illustrated for use in designing curriculum policy, programmatic curriculum plans, or formal curriculum proposals. In this conceptualization, curriculum is defined as having the following interrelated components: (a) focal idea and intended purpose(s), (b) unique objective(s), (c) underlying assumptions and value commitments, (d) program organization, (e) substantive features, (f) the character of the student’s educational situation/activity/process, (g) unique approaches/methods for use by the teacher/educator, (h) program evaluation, (i) supportive arrangements, and (j) justifications/rationale for the whole curriculum. Any proposal for total curriculum change should make prescriptions related to all these components. Discussion of other aspects related to curriculum proposals include how to locate existing curriculum proposals, how to analyze them in relation to this new conceptualization of curriculum, how to choose suitable ones among them for possible adoption, and how to translate a curriculum proposal into actual curriculum policies or plans.
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused, and continues to cause, major disruptions that affect the state of K–12 and college education. More than 290 million students worldwide have experienced learning regressions, anxiety, social isolation, depression, and academic failure. Given the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) recommendations to cancel formal classroom learning in an attempt to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, the efficacy of traditional teaching and learning models consisting of person-to-person education has been compromised. This has left educators and parents confounded with the uncertainty of the trajectory of their students’ education. Discourse and critical reflection on the status of education and learning has escalated due to the adjustments required by the 2020–2022 paradigm shifts—virtual, hybrid, and asynchronous learning—which have presented adaptation challenges for a myriad of students and teachers. However, from a more positive point of view, it has been argued that adjusting to new learning and teaching styles encourages and challenges students and teachers to expand their learning capabilities. The full extent of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in K–12 and college education is still uncertain. However, the paradigm shifts that are manifested from this situation should serve as an opportunity to motivate all educational domains to consider more fully utilizing innovative technology for teaching and learning, improvising pedagogy, and rethinking the way educators prepare students for academic engagement.
The words diversity and multiculturalism are ubiquitous in the contemporary educational lexicon. They are certainly hallmarks in many educational conversations. Recent trials, tribulations, and triumphs in the areas of diversity and multiculturalism are not without historical context or educational precedent. The evolution of diversity and multiculturalism in the United States has been and continues to be a struggle. The lofty language that is immortalized in the United States Constitution and the Pledge of Allegiance promises all U.S. citizens the right to life, liberty, safety, happiness, and so forth. However, this promise has not always been kept for all U.S. citizens. The full recognition of one’s rights in the United States has depended on one’s race/ethnicity, gender, social class, religious beliefs, ability status, and so forth. Consequently, the United States has also denied, ostracized, and oppressed groups of people based on these same aforementioned identities (e.g., slavery, segregation, sexism, etc.). This resulted in amendments to the U.S. Constitution, the American Civil Rights Movement, and the Women’s Rights Movement, as well as others. These movements were no panacea; they simply weakened overt manifestations of bias, and allowed for more nuanced, covert, and/or institutionalized forms of bias. The elimination of overt bias also creates the illusion of success. People begin to think that the problems are solved because they are not obvious anymore. This highlights the need for diversity and multiculturalism in order to identify and expose covert bias and remind people that the struggles of the past are not just part of history; they undergird the problems we face today (e.g., achievement gaps, disproportionate discipline, and misidentification for special education). Ultimately, diversity/multiculturalism has the ability to provide a kind of interconnectedness among people by having them face the perplexing problems of equity, equality, social identity, and personal philosophy. Embracing and understanding diversity/multiculturalism is the key to unlocking its transformational power.
Rhonda Jeffries and Toni Williams
The trajectory of African American teachers is traced from the establishment of Africans as educators in the United States to their current work as community agents of change. The historical access of education for African Americans is explored, leading to the creation of the role of Black educator for Black people. Significant trailblazers in the profession are highlighted as trendsetters who disrupted concerted efforts to withhold education from Black people, and descendants of this work continued the fight throughout the desegregation era to the present are also discussed. Gendered constructs of African American educators are examined in relationship to cultural norms that have shaped the profession, concluding with a review of the implications of this professional role for Black people and the Black community.
Sarah A. Cordes, Jeehee Han, and Amy Schwartz
Children’s educational outcomes are determined not only by school inputs, such as teachers, curriculum, or classroom peers, but also by a broad range of resources and experiences outside the classroom. Housing and neighborhoods—where children live—are likely where students spend most of their time when not in school and can play a crucial role in children’s development. Housing may influence children’s K–12 educational outcomes through three key channels. First, unit quality (i.e., size, ventilation, etc.) may affect student performance through sleep, ability to concentrate, or health. Second, affordability and tenure may shape student outcomes by affecting disposable income or wealth accumulation, which could be used for complementary educational inputs or could influence outcomes by affecting parental stress and housing stability. Third, housing stability/mobility may itself result in better or worse academic outcomes depending on whether moves are made to access better opportunities or are disruptive. Neighborhoods may also play an important role in education by shaping the peers and adult role models to whom children are exposed, through levels of exposure to crime and violence, and access to opportunities, such as the quality of local schools. A growing body of research points to the importance of both housing and neighborhoods in shaping educational outcomes, suggesting investments in housing or neighborhoods may pay an educational dividend and such investments may be leveraged to improve children’s educational outcomes. Yet there is still work to be done to better understand the roles that housing and neighborhoods play in shaping educational outcomes. In particular, future research should focus on examining how the physical aspects of housing may shape children’s outcomes, disentangling the effects of residential mobility under different circumstances (i.e., forced moves due to job losses versus voluntary moves), and estimating the effects of specific neighborhood changes – or improvements -- on academic outcomes.