Kate T. Anderson is an Assistant Professor in the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at Arizona State University. After receiving her PhD in Sociolinguistics at The University of Georgia, Dr. Anderson worked at the Learning Sciences Lab at Singapore’s National Institute of Education where she was PI on a 3-year study designing and facilitating digital storytelling workshops for youth in- and out-of-school who were marginalized by the educational system. Her research draws from discourse analysis, ethnography, and other qualitative methods to examine the role of ideologies in constructing everyday notions of social difference with regard to ability, race, language learning, and other social categories and labels.
Ideologies–the taken-for-granted beliefs about how things supposedly are (e.g., Woolard & Schieffelin, 1984)–often form the basis of judgments about others. Consider what counts as ability and how we measure it, or who is seen to speak “good” English and what we imagine them to look and sound like. From ways of talking to behavior in the classroom, value-laden assumptions come to bear on how we see and label others. In fact, these cultural assumptions and beliefs can seem more real than what people actually do or say. In my research I’ve looked at how ideologies about language and learning shape notions of what counts in specific educational contexts and to consider how it got to be that way. One way to understand how we label types of learners or speakers and what those labels mean in a given sociocultural context is to focus on particulars, or stories, in our research. To help ground this point, I’ll first share a bit about my own research and then discuss the role of stories-as-evidence in educational research concerned with equity. Read more
Rita Kohli is an Assistant Professor in the Connie L. Lurie College of Education at San José State University. She earned her Ph.D. in Education from the University of California, Los Angeles, with an emphasis in Race and Ethnic Studies. Her research interests include Critical Race Theory in Education, racial hierarchies in schools, teachers of color, and improving the educational realities of students of color. A former middle school teacher, and current teacher educator, Dr. Kohli has 15 years of experience working in urban public schools. She is the co-founder and co-director of the Institute for Teachers of Color Committed to Racial Justice, and currently serves as program chair for the Critical Educators for Social Justice Special Interest Group for the American Educational Research Association. She has published in journals such as Race, Ethnicity and Education, Education, Equity and Excellence and Teacher Education Quarterly.
When I was a teacher in Oakland, California, I worked at a school that was primarily African American, but also had over ten languages spoken within the student population. At a school that diverse, it is hard to imagine that, as a South Asian American woman, I was one of the only teachers on campus who was not white or black. The teaching staff was incredibly segregated, and at lunch, faculty would watch if I sat at a “white” or “black” table. I even had a co-worker ask me one day if I thought of myself as “white or black?” and was quite shocked when I said neither. A culminating moment for me was at a staff breakfast the day before we went on winter break one year. The principal passed around black and white Styrofoam Santa ornaments as a holiday gift, and as the box made its way towards me, the teachers next to me whispered, “which one is she going to take?” I ended up taking a black Santa, but as an Indian and a Hindu, it was clear to me that my identity, culture and religion were invisible to the broader staff. Read more
Through personal and research experience, I know that immigrant parents want to be a part of their children’s education. For them, access to a good education is one of the main reasons immigrants stay in the U.S. Consider, then, the irony that it is sometimes the lack of access to knowledge of how the USian school system works that stands between parents and being able to effectively advocate for their children in schools.
My mother emigrated from Perú to the U.S. when she was 35 to go to graduate school. Though she had class privilege, race privilege (she is considered white), a graduate degree and an American husband, when she started to have trouble with me in school, she was at a loss. We had just moved from Bolivia when I entered the USian school system. She was concerned with my English language skills (was I proficient enough?), but also knew that my first grade education in Bolivia had been more advanced than what the first grade in rural-suburban Florida could offer me. However, due to historic misunderstandings of how race, ethnicity, and history combine in places other than the U.S., school officials placed me back in the first grade and denied me language testing. This marked the beginning of my mother’s “education” in the USian school system. Read more
Meg Grigal, Ph.D., Senior Research Fellow, Institute for Community Inclusion, University of Massachusetts, Boston where she Co-Directs Think College and serves as the Co-Principal Investigator for two national grants: the Administration on Developmental Disabilities funded Consortium for Postsecondary Education for Individuals with Developmental Disabilities and the Office of Postsecondary Education National Coordinating Center for the Transition Programs for Students with Intellectual Disabilities (TPSID) Model Demonstration Programs. Dr. Grigal currently conducts research and provides evaluation and technical assistance on exemplary practices for supporting students with disabilities in the community, employment, and postsecondary settings. She has co-authored two books on college options for students with intellectual disabilities and has conducted and published research in the areas of postsecondary education options, transition planning, families, self-determination, inclusion, and the use of person-centered planning techniques.
Debra Hart is the Director of Education and Transition at the Institute for Community Inclusion at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. She has over 30 years of experience working with youth with disabilities, their families, faculty, and professionals that support youth in becoming valued members of their community via participation in inclusive secondary and postsecondary education and integrated competitive employment. Currently, she is the Principal Investigator for two national postsecondary education grants. The National Coordinating Center is conducting an evaluation of 27 model postsecondary education initiatives to better understand their policies and practices in different postsecondary education options and their impact on student outcomes. The National Consortium on Postsecondary Education provides training and technical assistance to enhance existing postsecondary education initiatives and to grow the choice of a higher education for youth with intellectual disability nationwide.
Recently, my mother mentioned that my grandmother and my great-grandmother never drove a car. “Really? Why not?” I asked. She replied, “Well it just wasn’t done.” In those days, no one expected a woman to drive a car.
This got me thinking about the reactions we received from people when we first started working on creating college options for people with intellectual disabilities (ID). The most common response was confusion and disbelief: “People with intellectual disabilities do not go to college. It just isn’t done.”
Why is this?
Anthony1 who self-identifies as a DREAMer2 grew up and attended school in the Phoenix metro area. He has been married for seven years. Although he was born in Mexico, beyond family stories, he has little memory of his parents’ homeland since he moved to the U.S. as a child. Anthony is eagerly awaiting the opportunity to enroll in college, but in the meanwhile he proudly cares for his 18 month old daughter and a niece and nephew full time.
Rosa M. Jiménez is an Assistant Professor in the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at Arizona State University. She earned her Ph.D. in Education from the University of California, Los Angeles. Her research interests include critical and culturally relevant pedagogies, social studies education, and immigration. She examines the education, alienation, and empowerment of working class students of color, with a focus on Latina/o immigrant students. Dr. Jiménez interrogates how educators can affirm, access and sustain Latina/o students’ everyday cultural practices, experiential knowledge, and family histories. Dr. Jiménez has over ten years of experience working in K-12 public schools as a social studies teacher, literacy coach and educational researcher.
For decades Latinas/os have been called ‘the sleeping giant’ because of their dormant collective political and economic promise. We saw a glimpse of this promise during the 2012 November elections as 71% of Latina/o voters helped re-elect President Obama, signaling to many that the giant had awakened (Pew Hispanic Research Center). The Republican Party was stunned and began to take notice of Latina/o political power. These events come on the heels of a nearly three-year firestorm of (post SB 1070) anti-immigrant legislation, racially hostile public discourse, record-breaking deportations and family separations, an unprecedented Executive Order granting Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), and the historic civic action, protests, and mobilization of immigrant rights groups. In turn, these events have prompted a renewed national focus on immigration with the possibility of bi-partisan legislation on ‘comprehensive’ immigration reform. The national debate and possible ensuing policies are intrinsically linked to how educators think of Latina/o immigrant children and their education. Read more
Dr. Adai Tefera is a postdoctoral scholar at the Equity Alliance at Arizona State University’s Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College. Adai’s research focuses on the consequences of education policy on culturally and linguistically diverse students, particularly those labeled with dis/abilities. Before joining the Equity Alliance, Adai worked as a Senior Policy Analyst at the Center for Education Policy Research at the University of New Mexico, and served as a fellow with the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation in the office of Congressman Chaka Fattah. As a graduate student at UCLA, she worked with the Civil Rights Project/Civiles Derechos Proyecto, and spent a number of years working with GEAR UP as a tutor, mentor, and researcher. Adai earned her Ph.D. in Urban Schooling and Masters degree in Public Policy from UCLA. Her dissertation focused on the consequences of high stakes exit exams on students of color with dis/abilities. She received her B.S. in Political Science with a minor in Ethnic Studies from Santa Clara University.
With continued awe at the potential of a second term, I watched the President’s inauguration on January 21, 2013. Fittingly, the day coincided on the same day of our nation’s observance and celebration of an inspired leader, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Eagerly awaiting the President’s speech on that Monday morning, I was struck by the delicate weaving of words from the Declaration of Independence and our “inalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” While I recognize the rights referenced in the Declaration of Independence were not originally intended to be bestowed upon us all, including me – a Black daughter of Ethiopian immigrants – I must confess I have always found the making of the U.S. Constitution and Declaration of Independence intriguing. Unquestioningly imperfect, the President reminded us of our responsibility not just to invoke words from the Constitution but also to embody them. For if “We are true to our creed,” he said, “when a little girl born into the bleakest poverty knows that she has the same chance to succeed as anybody else because she is an American, she is free, and she is equal not just in the eyes of God but also in our own.” It is not enough for us to resign to the belief that we are equal but it becomes incumbent that our actions reflect this value. He continued, “Our journey is not complete until all our children, from the streets of Detroit to the hills of Appalachia to the quiet lanes of Newtown, know that they are cared for and cherished and always safe from harm.” While our children – urban, rural, and suburban – have these inalienable rights we know they are far from being actualized. Read more
Liz King is Legislative Director for Congressman Chaka Fattah (D-Pa). She has worked in this office since 2005, prior to which she taught middle school in Philadelphia with Teach For America for two years. In her current role she coordinates the Congressman’s legislative agenda and advises him on education, health and social policy. She is passionately committed to improving access and outcomes in education and to ensuring that all students’ potential is realized. She is especially excited about the changing American demographics and the potential to bring new thinking and new thinkers to old problems. Believing that there should always be a strong link between practice and policy, Liz volunteers as a one-on-one tutor and as a classroom volunteer. She holds a BA in Government and Religion from Wesleyan University and an MS in Elementary Education from St. Joseph’s University.
In 2002, when President George W. Bush signed the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) into law, it became official policy of the United States government that all students attending public schools (with the exception of students with the most significant disAbilities) meet grade level standards by the year 2014. For the first time, the basic expectation most parents of middle class, White, typically abled children have of their neighborhood school now applied to all classrooms, schools and districts without adjusting for race, income, first language, or IEP. I believe that this is the most important step towards real equity for all students at the federal level since the Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court case desegregated schools in 1954. Read more
Kim Anderson is the author of Culturally Considerate School Counseling: Helping
Kim Anderson is the author of Culturally Considerate School Counseling: Helping Without Bias (2010), co-author of Creating Culturally Considerate Schools: Educating Without Bias (2012), both published by Corwin Press and a contributor to How to Teach Students Who Don’t Look Like You: Culturally Relevant Teaching Strategies, 2nd Edition (2012) and The Biracial and Multiracial Student Experience: A Journey to Racial Literacy (2008) by Dr. Bonnie M. Davis.
Ms. Anderson presents her eclectic work at numerous local, regional and national events and venues, engaging her audience through compelling narrative, careful research, evocative experiences, and instructive storytelling. She is currently working on a book based upon one of her clinical workshops entitled, Hour by Hour: Wholistic Practice in Clinical Social Work.
On December 14, 2012, Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut came under siege. Not unlike the Columbine, Colorado shooters some thirteen years earlier, the only definitive truths we seem to know about Adam Lanza are that he was young, computer knowledgeable, and dressed in dissident fashion as he used automatic weapons to kill innocent and seemingly random children and adults. Like the school assassins who preceded him, Lanza was immediately labeled an outsider, mentally ill, and antisocial. His mother, also dead from bullets allegedly propelled by her own son, likewise was vilified. These are horrible, graphic images and hideous notions with which we are left.
My diverse vocations and avocations (mental health professional, educational consultant, artist, writer, and life-long learner) prompt me to view this event holistically. Our minds, bodies, psyches and spirits have all been assaulted by this historic trauma. I recognize that we are trying to solve this particular problem when, collectively, we cannot think very clearly. Our bodies shudder in empathy for the victims. Our psyches attempt to integrate how we feel and what we know by our fervent attempt to understand. In short, we attempt to make sense of the senseless. Read more
Django Paris is Assistant Professor of Language and Literacy in the in the College of Education and Core Faculty in African American and African Studies at Michigan State University. He received his PhD in Education from Stanford University. His teaching and research focus on languages, literacies, and literatures among youth of color in changing urban schools and communities. He is particularly concerned with educational and cultural justice as outcomes of inquiry and pedagogy. He is author of Language across Difference: Ethnicity, Communication, and Youth Identities in Changing Urban Schools (2011) and has published in many academic forums, including the Harvard Educational Review and Educational Researcher. Paris is also the Associate Director of the Bread Loaf School of English, a summer graduate program of Middlebury College.
Many of us were not surprised this year when the U.S. Department of Education Civil Rights Data Collection released statistics from a national survey of 72,000 public schools that showed, among other things, African American and Latina/o students were disproportionately negatively impacted by zero-tolerance policies. A short article in the New York Times distilled some of the most painful findings. Among them: Black students were three and half times as likely to be suspended as White students. Districts that expelled students under zero-tolerance policies reported Black and Hispanic Students as 45% of the student body, but 56% of those expelled. In Chicago, 45% of students were Black and yet they made up 76% of suspensions. 70% of students referred to law enforcement across the 72,000 schools were Black or Hispanic. There were brutal numbers, too, in disproportional representation in and the harsher punishments of Black students designated by schools as having disabilities (for more check Alfredo Artiles’s work on the racialization of ability). The Times article quotes Secretary of Education Arne Duncan (not always known to be out in front on equity issues): “The undeniable truth is that the everyday education experience for too many students of color violates the principle of equity at the heart of the American promise.” Indeed. Read more