Authors

Glenn Adams is Associate Professor of Psychology, Director of the Cultural Psychology Research Group, and Faculty Associate Director of the Kansas African Studies Center at the University of Kansas. He served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Sierra Leone before completing his Ph.D. in Social Psychology at Stanford University. His graduate training included two years of field research in Ghana, which provided the empirical foundation for his research on cultural-psychological foundations of relationship. His current work builds on this foundation in an attempt to decolonize knowledge production in psychological science and to articulate models of human development that promote sustainable ways of being and social justice for broader humanity. An enduring interest is development of a globally relevant psychology. Drawing on the theoretical perspective of cultural psychology, one sense of “globally relevant psychology” is a more position-conscious science that not only transcends the cultural imperialism of mainstream psychology, but also illuminates the socio-historical foundations of mind. Drawing upon the theoretical perspective of liberation psychology, another sense of “globally relevant psychology” refers to a science that addresses the concerns of humanity in general—how to maintain a peaceful, secure and viable existence in the context of uncertainty, economic and political violence and material scarcity—rather than the more self-indulgent concerns of a highly particular subset of people in situations of unprecedented material abundance. 

If you did a survey of Americans and asked them about the extent of racism in American society, then you would likely find that White respondents perceive far less racism than do people from the “Other” ethnic/racial groups that European settlers have historically dominated. Alternatively stated, White folks are more likely than peoples they have historically dominated to believe that American society and its mainstream institutions are colorblind or race-neutral. What accounts for this difference?

For one thing, research suggests that White folks believe in the colorblind neutrality of American society because they are motivated to deny the extent of racism. The idea that American society and mainstream institutions harbor elements of racism is threatening to the American ideology of “liberty and justice for all” that students recite daily when pledging allegiance to the flag. Many White folks (including myself) would rather not think that the institutions from which we disproportionately benefit are racist, so we interpret ambiguous events in a way that allows us to avoid such troubling thoughts.

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Dr. George Lipsitz is Professor of Black Studies and Sociology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is the author of eleven books including THE FIERCE URGENCY OF NOW (with Daniel Fischlin and Ajay Heble) and HOW RACISM TAKES PLACE. Dr. Lipsitz is senior editor of the comparative and relational ethnic studies journal KALFOU, editor of the Critical American Studies series at the University of Minnesota Pres and co-editor of the American Crossroads series at the University of California Press. Dr. George Lipsitz is active in struggles for fair housing and educational equity. In 2013 he was awarded the Angela Y. Davis Prize for Public Scholarship in American Studies.

It is the last week of classes at the university where I teach in the Department of Black Studies. Students are anxious about the term papers they are writing and the exams they will take next week. There is a long line of students who wish to meet with me outside my office. They want some last minute consultations to make sure that they are on track, that they understand what we have been studying, that they are prepared to do well as the course ends. I meet with one after another. Some have nothing to worry about. The very sense of responsibility that brings them to my office to talk has held them in good stead. They will do well in the course. Others have genuine cause for concern. They have not kept up with the reading and missed too many lectures. They are trying to cram an entire term’s worth of work into the last two weeks. They will probably not do well in the course, but I am determined to take them as far as they can go, to help them learn as much as they can in the short time we have left. Our conversations take anywhere from ten minutes to a half hour. One student leaves the office and then another walks in.

In the midst of these consultations, a white student I do not recognize walks in. He has been waiting patiently in line for an hour. He explains that he is not enrolled in any of my classes.  In fact, he has never taken any Black Studies courses. He explains, he wants to speak with me, however, because he was walking down the hallway, noticed that our department is called Black Studies, and he wants to let me know that he thinks there should not be a Black Studies department. “I don’t see race at all. I don’t care what color people are,” he says. “It doesn’t matter to me if you are Black, white or purple.” Read more

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With me in her womb, my mother crossed the U.S.-Mexican border in the trunk of a car to unite with my father and brother in the U.S. This family history and life beginning set the tone for my schooling journey as a Xicana scholar activist. I declared a Math major during my first year at Pomona College, but when I realized that I was one of the only women in my first math class, and most yet, of Mexican ancestry, I shifted my area of focus to the history and policy of education for Mexican Americans. In the process, I nurtured my own identity and re-awakened my voice in a land scarce of cultural diversity. I began to learn more about my heritage and ground my voice through the perspective of my family, hence my research interests.  As a Post-Doctoral Fellow at Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College, I examine computer science education, from a sustainable perspective informed by indigenous peoples. I ask: How may ancestral knowledge systems inform the study of computer science? How might the melding of ancestral knowledge and computer science education lead to new understandings of how to nurture our young people’s positive identity formations and critical consciousness around computer science explorations? Responses to these questions have significant implications for promoting social and environmentally sustainable approaches to living, learning and dying. As digital media inextricably influences our lives, my work disrupts the common assumption that computer science alone could be a solution to most any complex problem in society. I received my Doctoral Degree in Urban Schooling from the University of California Los Angeles, where I conducted research on culturally responsive computer science education with the support of the National Science Foundation. I am the recipient of a grant awarded to a team of educational activists to “Mobilize Ancestral Knowledge, Computer Science and Student Inquiry for Health in the Schooling Community of El Sereno,” funded by UCLA Center X. I have published with Psychnology, Learning, Media and Technology, ACM Inroads, Power and Education, Theory, Culture and Society and SAGE Reference Publications. I enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking, river tubing and biking with my four-legged companion, Canela.

I had never seen my Pa cry more tears of joy than the day my parents surprised us with our first PC. With a combined annual income of $20,000 for a family of five, my Mexican immigrant parents sacrificed so much to give us the best chance at an academically successful future. Shooting stars darted above us with excitement as we unpacked the computer system from the back of my father’s 1978 Chevy truck. My older brother took the lead in setting up the mysterious digital box. We all watched as he wrote the first command on the MS-DOS screen. Fast-forward two decades. My brother is a computing professional. Somewhere along the way, my sister and I developed the fear of breaking the computer if we were to punch in the wrong code or click on the wrong application, so we resorted to word processing, practicing our typing skills and playing solitaire.

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Dr. Julian Vasquez Heilig is an award-winning researcher and teacher. He is currently an Associate Professor of Educational Policy and Planning and African and African Diaspora Studies (by courtesy) at the University of Texas at Austin. He is also a Faculty Affiliate of the Center for Mexican American Studies and the Warfield Center for African and African American Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. Since 2007, he has served as an Associate Director for the University Council of Education Administration (UCEA).  In addition to educational accomplishments, Dr. Julian Vasquez Heilig has held a variety of research and practitioner positions in organizations from Boston to Beijing. These experiences have provided formative professional perspectives to bridge research, theory, and practice.  His current research includes quantitatively and qualitatively examining how high-stakes testing and accountability-based reforms and market reforms impact urban minority students. Julian’s research interests also include issues of access, diversity, and equity in higher education.  His work has been cited by the New York Times, Washington Post, Associated Press, USAToday, Education Week, Huffington Post and other print and electronic media outlets. He has also appeared on local and national radio and TV including PBS, NBC, NBCLatino, NPR, Univision, and MSNBC.  He obtained his Ph.D. in Education Administration and Policy Analysis and a Masters in Sociology from Stanford University. He also holds a Masters of Higher Education and a Bachelor’s of History and Psychology from the University of Michigan Ann Arbor. He blogs at Cloaking Inequity, consistently rated one of the top 50 education websites in the world by Teach100.

For a scholar, hiding research behind journal pay walls and subscriptions is safety. As comfortable and warm as cuddling up with a blanket and a book in front a fireplace on a cool fall evening. Should faculty only focus on this traditional notion of scholarly activity in 2014? In 2006, I came to the University of Texas at Austin as a junior faculty member fresh out of graduate school. The department was in a period of transition at the time, as the previous generation of scholars was heading into retirement. One of the aspects of this transition that caused me to ponder the future role of my research was the stacks and stacks of out-of-date journals and books in the hallways that the departing faculty had left behind. I pondered what should and would become of my research in the short-term and the long-term? Read more

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Josephine Peyton Marsh is the Professor in Residence at ASU Preparatory Academies (ASU Prep) and an Associate Professor of Literacy Education at the Arizona State University’s Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College.  She received her Ph. D. from the University of Georgia in Reading Education after over a decade of teaching literacy to students in grades 5-12.  Since arriving at ASU, Dr. Marsh has taught undergraduate and graduate literacy education courses, mentored doctoral students, and served as a college administrator.  She has also consulted with local school districts about infusing literacy instruction into content-area teaching.

Her past research interests included adolescent literacy and issues related to gender, identity, and literacy.  Her current research focuses on school transformation and how teachers, administrators, students, and parents work together to create schools that prepare students for college and career success and to be contributors to their communities.  In particularly, her research concentrates on just-in-time literacy professional development, communities of practice for professional growth, and student perspectives on engaged learning. 

Somewhere along the way, as an associate professor and literacy education researcher, I became aware of the lack of impact my research seemed to be having on school literacy instruction.  My research was interesting to me (and the few others who read it), but did little to inform schools about teaching children and adolescents to read and write or use literacy to learn content and think critically.  I began to question why publishing in prestigious journals was rewarded at the university, but unread or unused by educational practitioners.  So, for a few years, disillusioned and confused, I became an administrator for the college of education at Arizona State University (ASU). It was a good place for me until I found ASU Preparatory Academies (ASU Prep), a university sponsored PK-12 charter school district that began fully operating in 2010. The district consists of two PK-12 campuses —ASU Prep-Phoenix, an urban Title I school of 1100 students near Arizona State University’s downtown campus and ASU Prep-Poly, a suburban school of over 600 students on ASU’s Polytechnic campus. For more detailed information see http://asuprep.asu.edu/about.

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Dr. Kent Paredes Scribner has been the superintendent of the Phoenix Union High School District, the largest high school district in Arizona, since 2008. Dr. Scribner has led several successful educational initiatives during his tenure, thus far. He implemented the mission of “Preparing every student for success in college, career and life,” and the District has responded. Each District school was rated either Performing, Performing Plus, Highly Performing or Excelling by the State of Arizona’s “Arizona Learns” system in 2011. In 2013, Phoenix Union’s upward trajectory continued as they yet again increased the number of “A” and “B” schools in the Arizona Department of Education’s Accountability Rankings. Honors and Advanced Placement course-taking has more than doubled. The Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) curriculum has been introduced on every comprehensive campus. The number of students both applying for earning acceptance to college has dramatically increased. Financial resources offered to Phoenix Union students has skyrocketed as well, going from $17.8 million in merit scholarships in 2009, to over $40 million in merit scholarships in both 2012 and 2013. In October 2011, President Barack Obama appointed Dr. Scribner to the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics. Scribner is frequently called upon by business leaders, community organizations and educational institutions to share his expertise on urban education, speak at conferences, conduct media interviews, and serve on numerous committees. Born in Los Angeles, California, Scribner earned a B.A. in Latin American Studies from Carleton College in Minnesota, a M.Ed. in Counseling Psychology from Temple University and a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from Arizona State University. He began his education career as a high school Spanish teacher in Philadelphia. He moved to Arizona in 1992 and became a graduate research assistant at Arizona State University, where he examined issues of quality and diversity in Phoenix Union regarding the district’s court-ordered desegregation. Before he joined Phoenix Union, Scribner, was the superintendent of the Isaac Elementary School District in Phoenix from 2003 to 2008. Scribner, who received the Excellence in Educational Leadership Award from the University Council of Educational Administration in 2008, is married and has two children.

Education practitioners are faced with questions about how best to help their students reach their full potential. How do we motivate our youth to succeed in their current school environments? How do we encourage them to become involved in their respective communities? How do we ensure that this smart, enterprising generation of young people grows into thoughtful adults who pursue their dreams and aspire to make a difference in the world?

Frequently, educators grasp at a new program, a new curriculum or a new “shiny thing” to accomplish the lofty goals we have for our students. As a leader of a large urban district, I have seen numerous policies, curricular changes and partnerships come across my desk that attempt to address diversity, motivation and student preparation for today’s competitive global economy. It is extremely challenging to sort through and decide which initiatives can be effective and implemented successfully.

How do we as teachers and leaders motivate our students in a world of both great diversity and great “connectedness”?  Read more

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Ananda Marin is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Psychology at Northwestern University. She earned her Ph.D. in Learning Sciences from the School of Education & Social Policy at Northwestern. She has over a decade of experience working with families and students in community centers, museums, and community colleges. She served as Assistant Dean of Student Services at Harry S. Truman College where she worked closely with the Office of Instruction on classroom redesign projects and retention efforts. At the Chicago Children’s Museum she participated in the exhibit development process and co-facilitated a supplemental reading program with partner schools. Her current research focuses on the intersections between culture, development, orientations to the natural world, and science teaching and learning. In her dissertation she examined the relationship between attention, mobility, and learning about the natural world. She is currently engaged in a collaborative research project between the American Indian Center of Chicago, the Menominee Language and Culture Commission, Northwestern University, and the University of Washington. This community-based design research project aims to create science learning environments based on youth and families’ community practices. As a project member, she has served as a researcher, curriculum designer, and teacher.

Diversity in the sciences is essential if we are to address issues related to the use and distribution of natural resources in innovative and equitable ways. Today, conversations around environmental sustainability, food sovereignty, and climate change are prevalent in many Indigenous communities. For Indigenous peoples meeting the challenges posed by climate change is directly related to participation in the sciences among tribal members and descendants. However, American Indian and Alaska Natives are under-represented in the sciences. Educators and researchers have generated multiple theories to explain this under-representation, including the high rates at which Native students drop out of high school, limited mentorship opportunities, and limited post-baccalaureate funding [i].  While these explanations are informative and point us towards possible solutions, I have come to see success in the sciences through a different framework. Since 2005, I have participated in a community-based design research project. This collaborative project engaged community members and university researchers from the American Indian Center of Chicago, the Menominee Nation, Northwestern University, and the University of Washington in the design of culturally-based science programming. This work has taken a different approach to Indigenous representation in the sciences and asked how epistemologies, or ways of knowing, embedded in instructional environments and materials may impact achievement and ultimately career paths in the sciences among Native students [ii]. Read more

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Dr. Cecilia Rios-Aguilar is an Associate Professor of Education at the School of Educational Studies. Dr. Rios-Aguilar’s research is multidisciplinary and uses a variety of conceptual frameworks—funds of knowledge and the forms of capital—and of statistical approaches—regression analysis, multilevel models, structural equation modeling, GIS, and social network analysis—to study the educational and occupational trajectories of under-represented minorities, including Latina/os, English learners, low-income, and immigrant and second-generation students. Most recently, Dr. Rios-Aguilar and her colleague Dr. Regina Deil-Amen, received funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to conduct the first study to assess how community colleges adopt and use social media technology for strategic purposes.

 

In 2008, William Tate (past president of AERA) used maps to describe the geography of opportunity in two metropolitan regions of the United States that were engaged in efforts to transform their local political economies. His maps helped visualize that urban centers consisted largely of census blocks where residents bachelor’s degree attainment was much lower compared to places where biotechnology centers were strategically located. This finding (combined with other spatial patterns he found) strongly suggested that an uneven geography of opportunity was present in these regions. Tate, then, urged educators and scholars to think more critically about the way geography affects educational and occupational opportunities, particularly those of under-represented students (and their families and communities).

Tate’s findings and logic have extended to various locations and to many different social and educational outcomes.  For example, using census data, scholars have created maps to show that low-performing schools, non-prestigious colleges and universities, and low-income and immigrant families are all concentrated in specific areas usually characterized as “deprived”, “undesirable”, or “not-so-hot” places.

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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[1] children and their education. Read more

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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

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