The Urban Review

Published by Springer Nature
Online ISSN: 1573-1960
Learn more about this page
Recent publications
Problem tree
Article
Empirical research demonstrates that Chicanx students thrive in an educational setting where Western histories are de-centered, and the core objectives of the curricula are the student’s own self-exploration, the discovery of their subjectivity, social change, and learning (Cabrera et al. in Urban Rev 45:7–22, 2013). This critical pedagogical method, with a participatory style of education focused on equity, empowerment and hope, is a means to increase not only youth positive sense of self and capacity to overcome discrimination, but also as a means to achieve critical consciousness. The purpose of this research is to examine how youth sociopolitical lens/worldview changed over time during and since taking a Mexican American Studies course at a university. The main objective of this study is to understand how critical consciousness surfaces among Mexican American high school students in a university social justice course. This research is especially valuable today as communities of color continue to be systematically and disproportionately burdened by racist policies in U.S. education and the justice system. This research will add to the scholarly body of literature on the relationship between critical education and critical consciousness development among Mexican American youth.
 
Article
The urban education typology put forth by Milner (Urban Educ 47(3):556–561, 2012) offered a conceptual demarcation of three different, yet interconnected types of urban school districts (i.e., urban intensive, urban emergent, and urban characteristic). Nearly one decade after Milner’s seminal urban education typology, few empirical or conceptual articles have operationalized this typology across multiple school districts in one region. We enter this scholarly space to reaffirm the typology and its utility in identifying the conditions that create varying educational inequities and transformative opportunities. Through a critical race spatial analysis, we attempt to capture, crystalize, and expand Milner's typology by examining a multitude of data points and intentionally drawing on geospatial data from five linked school districts in Harris County, Texas. Our findings, as viewed through lenses of Critical Race Theory and the Chicana Feminist conceptual framework known as borderlands, accentuate two major implications; (1) while there are physical spaces of restriction inside and around schools and school districts, regularly school districts contend with identical challenges despite their urban education typology categorical classification; and (2) when employing the urban education typology, it is imperative that researchers deeply contextualize the physical, temporal, historical, social, and racialized spaces that schools and school districts exist in.
 
Contributors to Black Students’ Personal Agency in a Supportive School Environment
Article
We collected field observation notes, accessed student demographic data, and interviewed sixteen Black high school youth (50% male; Mage = 16.1) to explore experiences that contributed to their personal agency within a supportive school. Students were recruited from a public academy school that was designed to support youth who are disadvantaged due to environmental and structural barriers. Findings revealed that participants strived to pursue academic goals to create a better life for themselves and their families. Their expression of behaviors and attitudes associated with personal agency (e.g., choice/decision making, self-regulation, self-advocacy, self-efficacy), including their capacity to cope with emotional challenges, helped them in their pursuits. Moreover, the support they received from teachers, family members, peers, and community mentors, as facilitated by school personnel, was integral to their expression of behaviors and attitudes associated with personal agency.
 
Article
Recent research on the school-to-prison pipeline has exposed the disciplining and punishment of Black and Brown youth in today’s school system. Given the convergence of racism and capitalism in the prison system, various marginalized community groups have called for its abolishment. Using teacher practitioner inquiry, this article asserts prison abolition as both curriculum and pedagogy in the civics classroom. Reflecting on the author’s experience teaching a twelfth-grade civics class through prison abolition, this article highlights the transformative potential of an abolitionist framework for both curriculum and pedagogy, illustrating the possibilities and challenges of applying this work in practice.
 
Prompts for oral and written testimonios
Article
This testimonio examines how a 3rd grade bilingual teacher unpacks the learning process as it relates to her agency in implementing culturally relevant (Ladson-Billings, Am Educ Res J, 32(3):465–491, 1995, Soc Stud Curric Purp Probl Possib, pp 201–215, 2001; Quiocho and Rios, Rev Educ Res, 70(4):485–528, 2000) and culturally sustaining (Paris, Educ Res 41(3):93–97, 2012) lessons with her culturally and linguistically diverse students. Utilizing ethnographic methods, data was collected through oral and written testimonios from Ms. Méndez (pseudonym), a bilingual 3rd grade teacher. Findings reveal how implementing culturally sustaining lessons along with teacher self-reflection supported how Ms. Méndez critically examined her teaching approaches. This article highlights how through testimonio a bilingual teacher can reflect on her pedagogical practices including how she used students’ funds of knowledge as a steppingstone into learning, how bilingual teachers use ingeniosidad/ingenuity by taking what students already know and growing new learning possibilities, and ultimately what we stand to learn from the voice of a teacher. This article concludes that when teachers utilize ideological and pedagogical clarity, they are able to make autonomous curricular decisions; and they are able to find innovative approaches that foster meaningful learning experiences for all their students.
 
Article
Research conducted in the twentieth century found urban Catholic schools in the U.S. had a legacy of providing high quality educational opportunities for low-income students and students of color. In an era of declining Catholic school enrollments, urban Catholic school advocates have argued that urban Catholic school closures would deny these students one of the best educational opportunities available to them. However, there have been few attempts in recent years to synthesize research in, on, and about urban Catholic schools to see if the sector’s historical legacy is still present. In this article, we systematically reviewed 80 recently published empirical research studies focused at some level on the effects, operations, and reforms currently present in urban Catholic education. We found that while positive effects of urban Catholic schools on student outcomes can still be identified, these effects are not consistently present in all urban Catholic schools and there is little evidence to suggest that the sector as a whole has enacted the social justice mission for which it is best known. In light of these findings, we conclude our review with suggestions for future research that connects urban Catholic schooling to contemporary issues present across all U.S. urban education.
 
Main Effects of Mathematics Achievement by Race-Ethnicity, LM Status, and OTL (2002–04)
Main and Interaction Effects of Mathematics Achievement by Race-Ethnicity, LM Status, and OTL (2002–04)
Article
Researchers analyzed quantitative data from the Education Longitudinal Study (2002–2004) to investigate the relationship between the highest mathematics course taken and the achievement of 12th-grade students minoritized by their racial-ethnic and language backgrounds in urban schools. Employing hierarchical linear models, researchers analyzed the effects of student linguistic minority (LM) status, English-language proficiency, and school urbanicity on mathematics achievement. Findings suggest an interdependent relationship between (a) students’ English-language and racial-ethnic backgrounds, (b) college-preparatory mathematics course-taking, (c) the urban school context, and (d) mathematics achievement. Researchers suggest promising education policies and pedagogical practices for improving LMs’ inequitable achievement outcomes by maximizing students’ opportunities-to-learn in college preparatory courses and facilitating the academic language of mathematics.
 
Article
Researchers have often focused on weaknesses in the instruction offered to Black and Latinx students with dis/abilities, and not on what it looks like when teachers seem to get it right. The purpose of this case study was to understand the instruction and co-teaching partnership in one inclusive, urban high school classroom where the teachers sought to deliver responsive, empowering instruction. Working together, the teachers supported students’ academic success, demonstrated cultural competence, and infused sociopolitical consciousness into lessons while being responsive to students’ dis/abilities. They balanced teaching practices known to be culturally sustaining with those that were responsive to students’ dis/abilities. The findings have implications for how we prepare and support teachers of Black and Latinx students with dis/abilities.
 
Path analysis
Cluster results for engagement profiles by school. Note To view the data in an interactive html format, please contact the authors
Article
Drawing on student self-report survey data, this study examines student engagement across 67 urban high schools in the School District of Philadelphia. Results show that schools with higher rates of affective, behavioral, and cognitive engagement differ significantly from schools with other engagement profiles in students' average reports of teacher care and student voice. Path analyses lend support for self-determination theory and corroborate qualitative research that observes that student voice can improve student engagement. By highlighting the roles of teacher care and feelings of competence and belonging, this study identifies key means by which student voice influences student engagement. Supplementary information: The online version contains supplementary material available at 10.1007/s11256-022-00637-2.
 
Mia’s multimodal counternarratives
Deja’s multimodal counternarratives
Article
Informed by the embodied perspective on humanizing pedagogy, this study examines how one Afro-Puerto Rican and one African American teacher candidate explored humanizing pedagogical possibilities during their urban fieldwork through multimodal counternarratives. By telling counter-stories through drawing bodies and mapping pedagogical spaces, participants used their embodied knowledge and experience as reference points to identify, question, and resist the inscription of body discourses—steeped in hegemonic power, structural racism, and educational inequities—onto their bodies. In particular, multimodal counter-storytelling opened up a visceral yet empowering space for participants to consider the challenges and possibilities of embodying humanizing pedagogies in the classroom. This study calls for programmatic attention to providing opportunities for teacher candidates of Color to rehearse and embody humanizing pedagogical possibilities, and for various stakeholders to collectively engage in counter-storytelling to resist oppressive body discourses surrounding urban schooling communities.
 
A school counselor’s ecosystem
Article
Amidst the rapid expansion of education reform aimed at promoting educational equity, noticeably absent has been a focus on school counseling—a profession uniquely positioned to support students’ postsecondary, social emotional, and academic development. Despite research continually affirming the positive influence of counselors on students, uneven access to counseling support across US public schools, especially in urban areas, remains a reality today. Notably, high student-to-counselor ratios in schools that educate a large proportion of students of color and those living in low-income communities suggest that those students most in need of access to counseling support are the least likely to receive it. In this essay, we outline school counselors’ unique roles in supporting minoritized youth and draw on Bronfenbrenner’s (The ecology of human development: experiments in nature and design, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, 1979) ecological systems theory to consider the nested systems in which counselors work—systems which, we argue, place constraints on school counseling equity. This systems-level framing moves away from casting the limitations of our current student support model as an individual-level, personnel issue and instead conceptualizes it as an organizational one that must be remedied to ensure all students have equal access to critical counseling support.
 
Article
To fully grasp the systems of oppression youth of color must navigate, educators must consider their experiences outside as well as inside the classroom. This paper adds to the small but growing body of literature across fields highlighting how Black and Latinx youth are simultaneously positioned by schools and the justice system as criminals that must be contained and removed from school and society. This paper argues that the concept of social death, which refers to social suffering as a result of criminalization and dehumanization, helps contextualize the process by which carceral oppression manifests in students’ lives. Based on an interview study with thirty adults who were first incarcerated as adolescents, this paper focuses on three Black and three Latino male participants’ experiences with social death in schools and their neighborhoods.
 
Article
Accounts of educational opportunity gaps for Black boys are overwhelmingly focused on later years of development. Achievement and discipline disparities are evident across their lifespan. Life course and intersectionality theories were used to develop a framework for understanding obstacles Black boys face during their preschool through high school years. Outlining the cumulative impact of threats and protective factors for their academic success provides insight for supporting Black boys at various developmental stages. Implications include tools for families, educators, and practitioners. This perspective will enhance the collective understanding of the resiliency of Black boys and support their educational success throughout the life course.
 
Article
The growth of middle-class families in gentrifying neighborhoods has sparked questions about how these families select schools for their children. Research on elementary school selection has found that some parent gentrifiers are willing to try their neighborhood public schools. These parents are often motivated by civically oriented values, including supporting public education and supporting neighborhood schools. The field knows much less about parent gentrifiers’ decisions for middle and high school. This study draws on interviews with 20 parent gentrifiers in Washington, DC, to understand how parents choose middle and high schools. This study finds that secondary school selection is a fraught process throughout which parents weigh multiple sets of values, including civically oriented values and specific school attributes from which parents believe their children can derive value. This study’s findings underscore the tensions and contradictions of school choice and gentrifying contexts.
 
Article
The scholarly paper explores how racial justice and college credentials have become conflated despite the higher education system being a site of anti-Blackness. The argument is advanced through analyzing critiques of higher education—stratification, lack of support, un(der)employment, and consumerism—on Kanye West’s first album The College Dropout. I argue that a focus on college dropouts or the uncredentialed allows for a more evidence-based analysis of how higher education fails to be an equalizer for poor Black urban communities and provides lessons for how to imagine a radical education praxis not based on who has a degree but on human needs and Blackness as valuable.
 
Intersection of transformative learning and social constructivist theories
Article
This study examines the perspectives and lived experiences of 10 urban secondary mathematics teachers from two epicenters of COVID-19 in the United States regarding their transition to digital learning during the 2019–2020 academic year. We use case study methodology with phenomenological interviews to gather insights into the teachers’ efforts to modify their mathematics instruction and curriculum while navigating observed digital inequities and new digital tools for mathematics teaching. We also report on the teachers’ targeted attempts to bridge home and school while problematizing the threatened humanistic aspect of remote teaching and learning. These frontline experiences recognize technology-associated systemic inequities in marginalized, urban communities and the need to strategize ways to implement equity-oriented technology integration that benefits all learners, especially urban youth. By critically examining digital education in the urban context, crucial conversations can transpire that critique (and disrupt) the digital divide in mathematics education and open doors for other stakeholders to broadly discuss the logistics and implications of digital education to enhance new ways of teaching and learning.
 
Treatment effect on 2017–2018 smarter balanced ELA scores with 95% confidence interval for students with full LDC dosage, by cohort
Treatment effect on 2017–2018 smarter balanced ELA scores with 95% confidence interval for students with average LDC dosage, by cohort
Article
The literacy design collaborative (LDC) was created to support teachers in implementing college and career readiness standards. Teachers work collaboratively with coaches to further develop their expertise and design standards-driven, literacy-rich writing assignments within their existing curriculum across content areas. The current paper reports on early student academic outcome results from a multi-year mixed methods study of the implementation and effect of LDC using a quasi-experimental design, as implemented in one large urban school district. We found LDC had statistically significant effects on Cohort 2 middle school students’ English language arts (ELA) performance, an effect size of (d = 0.15) for students receiving LDC instruction in the three core content areas LDC focuses on: ELA, science, and social studies/history.
 
Article
As the world becomes more digitized, visual content becomes commonplace in educational spaces. However, visual choices are not always accompanied with critical thought or awareness of the harmful messages or stereotypes connected to the images. The purpose of this study was to examine visual microaggressions embedded in the visual content of webiste projects created by preservice teachers (PSTs) for an education course. We qualitatively analyzed the images that PSTs (N = 97) included in a social issues website assignment and their written reflections on the images they incorporated. Additionally, six PSTs participated in focus group sessions where they reflected on images used across websites. A qualitative analysis of data led to the identification of visual microaggressions and deficit-thinking about children and families. Visual data portrayed children’s home lives as unsafe and unhappy, showed teaching as a white profession, endorsed white saviorism, and reinforced negative stereotypes about poverty. Focus group conversations led to critical visual literacy for some visual microaggressions, while individual reflections did not. Although PSTs in this study unintentionally enacted visual microaggressions in their projects, selected images can still cause harm. Implications for teacher education and schools are discussed.
 
The grounded model
Article
This article presents a grounded model of how educators earn students’ trust in a high performing U.S. urban high school. This long-term anthropological project set out to understand the beliefs and practices of experienced teachers and staff members nominated by students as helping them feel like they belonged in school. Analysis of study data revealed a process of mutual discernment whereby adults and young people were reading one another as they explored the possibilities of entering into learning partnerships. For the educators, study data led us to infer that their trust building strategies were largely based on imagining the student discernment process, and responding to a set of unspoken queries about them that, over time, they seem to have learned were often on the minds of students (e.g. “Why are they here?” “How much do they respect me?”). The grounded model and practice-based evidence presented here summarize the strategies and approaches educators used to respond to these unspoken queries and communicate to students various aspects of their selves and their stance, including their motivation, empathy and respect for students, self-awareness and credibility, their professional ability, and finally, their commitment to helping students and investing emotional labor in them. Throughout, data are also presented regarding how students perceived and experienced these strategies, and ultimately how they interpreted and appraised their relationships with educators, as trusting relationships were developed.
 
Article
Exclusionary school discipline practices and policies have contributed to the racial disparities in discipline for certain demographic of students, particularly Black students. As a result, many schools have adopted the school-wide positive behavioral interventions and supports (SWPBIS) framework to identify and address disproportionality, despite the inconsistent findings regarding the effectiveness of SWPBIS implementation in reducing discipline disproportionality. This study further examined the extent of the relationship between SWPBIS implementation fidelity and office discipline referrals received by Black students in urban elementary and middle schools. Findings are discussed and specific recommendations for enhancing cultural responsiveness within a SWPBIS framework are provided.
 
Archival Photo of the SWSH (Burton Historical Collection, 1939) Alongside Photo of Boggs School (Google Map Data, 2015)
Photo inside the Boggs School Library (Author, 2016) Alongside Archival Photo Inside the SWSH Library (Burton Historical Collections, n.d.)
Photo of Boggs School Solutionary Social Contract (Author, 2016)
Article
Detroit is a dynamic city with a dynamic history, yet it has come to symbolize both White flight (beginning in the 1940s and accelerating in the late 1960s) and Black flight (beginning in the 1990s and reaching its apex in 2000). While Detroit’s Black population continues to decline, its White population increased by 22% between 2010 and 2015. Along with these shifting demographic trends comes shifting residential and educational landscapes that amplify the racial, economic, and spatial inequalities marking present-day Detroit. Drawing upon the literature of human geography and sociology of education, and utilizing GIS software, we overlay the mapping of demographic realities with the mapping of human stories. As a case study of how a non-profit, public charter school can be a vehicle for resisting gentrification, this paper examines the role of “place” in one school’s navigation of an increasingly gentrified Detroit and its commitment to primarily serving youth of its neighborhood. Using a multimodal and multiscalar approach, we find evidence of endogenous gentrification, intergenerational topophilia, and the school enacting resistance within a dialectic of its market-driven charter school status.
 
Article
We present analyses from focus group interviews with a geographically diverse set of experienced, urban teachers who point to systemic inequity as a major contributing factor to the problems they face in their schools and communities. To begin, we overview the literature relating to our development of this project, after which we outline the theoretical underpinnings of our analyses. Next, we outline our methods, process of analysis, and analytical approach. We then discuss our findings, highlighting how the teachers described the systemic nature of inequality, and the policy solutions they identified as potential avenues by which to address these inequalities.
 
Article
Black boys’ grief coping with peer homicide remain under-researched and undertheorized (Bordere in Omega J Death Dying 58:213–232, 2008; Smith in Am J Public Health 105(3):483–490, 2015; Smith and Patton in Am J Orthopsychiatry 86(2):212–223, 2016; Voisin et al. in J Interpers Violence 26: 2483–2498, 2011). This is especially significant when combined with the emerging understanding that Black boys may experience homicidal death in significantly different ways and durations than others (Piazza-Bonin et al. in OMEGA J Death Dying 70(4): 404–427. https://doi.org/10.1177/0030222815573727, 2015). This manuscript examines the experiences of three Black boys attending an urban school, in the wake of the homicidal death of their peer. We purport the absence of grief counselors and the lack of administrative sensitivity, created a misalignment between the boys’ need to grieve, systems within an urban school context that denied and erased trauma. Drawing from concepts of disenfranchised grief (Doka in Handbook of bereavement research and practice: advances in theory and intervention. American Psychological Association, pp 223–240. https://doi.org/10.1037/14498-011, 2008; Rowling in Disenfranchised grief: new directions, challenges, and strategies for practice. Research Press, pp 275–292, 2002), we situate our analysis using Brofenbrenner's theory of proximal processes (Making human beings human: bioecological perspectives on human development. Sage Publications Ltd, London, pp 106–173, 2005). This framework reveals a perspective that counters the hegemonic ontologies which deny Black boys’ the right to grieve. Furthermore, in examining one Black male mentor’s support of the boys in the aftermath of this tragedy, this manuscript contributes to an increased awareness of the need for urban school policies and practices that reflect reframed understandings of Black boys' mourning.
 
Article
Early adolescents go through developmental changes which are also mediated through social and structural forces that reproduce stratifying hierarchies around race, class, gender, and sexuality. Despite the intersection of early adolescent development with social and institutional forces, critical concepts such as race are often omitted in general discourses of middle level education. It is important that the leading body for middle level education, the Association for Middle Level Education (AMLE) and their doctrinal text, This We Believe, explicitly address the nexus of race, early adolescent development, and schooling. In this article, we draw upon critical race theory as a conceptual framework and critical race discourse analysis as methodology to examine how This We Believe negotiates the social construction of early adolescent development as rooted in whiteness in addition to the racialized realities of middle level education for students of color. Findings indicate This We Believe utilizes colorblindness alongside racialization discourses to create majoritarian narratives of middle level education and early adolescent development. In conclusion, we offer three alternative philosophical statements to This We Believe critical educators can adopt that are attentive to the intersection of race, adolescent development, and middle level education.
 
Article
In this paper we describe our investigation of underrepresented high school students’ interests, engagement, and experiences in design-based Information and Communications Technology (ICT) summer workshop activities; with the goal of identifying activities, aspects, and/or elements of the program that can be tailored or improved upon to attract, engage, educate, and retain high schoolers who have historically been underrepresented in ICT. Our primary research question is “which activities are most engaging for students typically underrepresented in ICT careers and programs,” and we additionally report on underrepresented students’ experiences and psychosocial changes across the summer workshops. A total of 139 high school students (of which 98 identified as being underrepresented female and/or racially minoritized students) participated in the ICT workshops hosted across three consecutive summers at a large, public, urban university in the Midwestern region of the United States. Employing a mixed methods design, our quantitative results and qualitative findings suggest that underrepresented students in our sample found the summer workshops’ group projects and hands-on courses to be the most engaging activities. Implications of our results/findings are further discussed.
 
Reimagined Green Spaces. a Roof top garden on the school building. b City bus with a flower garden on top
Persuasive letters
Student Drawing. “I want more grass”
Article
A case study for documentation of rich descriptive information about developing a multicultural science curriculum is the focus of this study. Three elementary preservice teachers challenge their ideas about science teaching and the urban context as they plan, teach, and assess their teaching of a multicultural science curriculum. Banks’ typology of multicultural curriculum reform was used as an instructional approach in a teacher education course and the analytical framework for this study. The findings of the study communicate three important points of discussion and implications for teacher education, science education, and multicultural curriculum development. Preparing teachers for urban schools dictates an explicit foundation and intentionality to expanding views about teaching and multiculturalism in urban classrooms, especially in the context of science education. The preservice teachers see the benefit of teaching science as Transformation and Social Action not only for their students but also for themselves as multiculturally-minded science curriculum developers.
 
Scope and sequence of PL residential learning experience
Operationalizing the model
Article
In efforts to better prepare students for a technology-driven workforce, many states and districts have pushed for clustered teaching of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) in K-12 schools, yet science and mathematics remain the cornerstones upon which broader opportunities in STEM education are built. Teachers serve as boundary spanners—connecting knowledge, experiences, and opportunities for access—and for that reason, we focus on teachers as the most promising change agents in science and mathematics education in urban schools. This qualitative study explores the potential for both initial preparation and continued development of practicing teachers to occur simultaneously through a co-learning university-school-community partnership model, summer residency, and coursework, using critical and culturally relevant outdoor experiential learning. Findings suggest that there was a clear shift with practicing teachers to be more open-minded about both the effectiveness and applicability of experiential outdoor learning in urban spaces, and the richness of urban schools and spaces themselves. Future Teachers were able to incorporate critical and culturally relevant experiential learning into their coursework and master’s project, and engage with their students and mentors in meaningful ways. The article suggests pathways for partnership development and implications for urban education classrooms.
 
Article
This qualitative study examined the building of a beloved community in a seventh grade life science classroom while teaching and learning in a constricting institutional context (U.S. public school). Guided by a Critical Race Praxis for Educational Research lens (CRP-Ed), the findings demonstrated how building a beloved community while situated within an oppressive U.S. schooling system, supported students and teacher toward cultivating love and trust—with a collective commitment toward social-eco justice. As a result, this study contributes toward expanding the possibilities for teaching and learning toward social-eco justice in U.S. public schools that honors students’ and teachers’ agency, relationships, and cultivation of critical consciousness, while simultaneously pushing back on dehumanizing schooling policies and practices.
 
Article
The purpose of this study was to identify the internal and external factors that support the academic and career resourcefulness of adolescents from underserved backgrounds. This mixed-methods study examined the experiences of 13 low-income adolescent participants who lived in public housing and participated in an afterschool program in the neighborhood. Data on participants’ feedback of the program was collected at the end of the school year through post-questionnaires that utilized open-ended and forced-choice questions. Qualitative comparative analysis (QCA) was used to analyze the post-intervention data, followed by quantitative tests including t-tests and correlations. Results showed that academic resourcefulness and career aspirations were positively associated with the students’ perception of their external supportive networks, such as the joint contributions of their participation in afterschool programming and their family support. The internal resource of ethnic pride was related to academic resourcefulness among ethnically minoritized middle school males and to career resourcefulness among ethnically minoritized high school females. Findings suggest that afterschool programs may benefit their students’ academic and career goals and trajectories by focusing their programming on direct and indirect pathways for strengthening family partnerships and students’ ethnic pride.
 
Article
Considering the growth and promising outlook of STEM occupations and the significant need to diversify STEM, the present study explored Black and Latinx youths’ situated experiences with and perspectives on STEM education. Informed by the major tenets of a grounded theory qualitative method, we interviewed 24 middle and high school students about their perceptions of their math and science preparation, their pursuit of STEM pathways, and their persistence in these fields. Results suggested a major theme related to participants’ experiences navigating uneven pathways towards academic and STEM success. In relation to this major theme, five open themes emerged which included: (1) characteristics, behaviors, and beliefs related to success in math and science; (2) familial role in achievement and success; (3) the lived experience of school and STEM classes; (4) external barriers and supports related to academic success; and (5) STEM careers and world of work. Identifying the challenges and opportunities that Black and Latinx youth face in their math and science education may inform the development of STEM education programs that meet the needs of this population.
 
Article
In this article, we examine an overlooked issue in research on school discipline: in-school suspension. Using data collected through observational methods, we present a detailed description and analysis of two in-school suspension rooms. These rooms operated in prominent, racially diverse middle schools in a large urban district. Applying critical theories of race and social exclusion, we reveal the ways that in-school suspension rooms constituted deep, exclusionary discipline and cast wide discipline nets that disproportionately impacted Black students and Latino students for minor reasons and provided few educational opportunities. Due to the racialized nature of in-school suspension in otherwise “integrated” schools, the rooms themselves became segregated internal racial colonies with implications for the racial distribution of education as a social, political, and economic good.
 
Article
The transition into high school is a critical time to act for students with a history of academic difficulty. In this study, researchers examined the impact of a learning strategies intervention program called High School Success on performance of students demonstrating deficits in literacy and academic skills. Data were collected on performance in a 9th grade English course, an associated high-stakes literacy test, and subsequently their long-term rates of graduation following this unique 9th grade experience. Chi-square analysis comparing the treatment group (n = 428) who participated in High School Success to a control group of at-risk students not exposed to the intervention course (n = 629) revealed a significant impact (χ² (df = 1) 28.02, p < .001) on whether students dropped out of high school. The data revealed that students in High School Success had statistically significantly better achievement and rates of high school graduation. These results provide evidence for ninth grade literacy and learning interventions as primary strategies for easing transition into high school and increasing retention of students with a history of academic difficulty.
 
Article
This article presents a meta-ethnography (Urrieta Jr and Noblit (eds), Cultural constructions of identity: meta ethnography and theory, Oxford University Press. 2018. https://doi.org/10.1093/oso/9780190676087.001.0001) of school choice across education sectors in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA. A site of intense contention and experimentation around school choice, Milwaukee constitutes a unique case that can offer insights into similar education reforms increasingly being implemented on a global scale. In synthesizing six book-length qualitative research studies, I engage key differences among the texts and then offer a lines-of-argument synthesis (Noblit and Hare, Meta-ethnography: synthesizing qualitative studies. Sage Publications, 1988. https://doi.org/10.4135/9781412985000) that reinterprets the studies as stories about whiteness’ right to exclude across school sectors (Aggarwal, in: Fernandes (ed), Feminists rethink the neoliberal state: inequality, exclusion, and change, New York University Press, 2018. https://doi.org/10.18574/nyu/9781479800155.003.0003; Harris, Harv Law Rev 106(8):1707–1791, 1993. https://doi.org/10.2307/1341787). Lastly, I engage various layers of interpretation in the studies (via the interconnected avenues of theory, researcher positionality, and methodology) to describe race taming discourses that attempt to make race, racism, and white supremacy manageable and containable through insufficient education interventions. I suggest that both exclusion and race taming can offer cautionary lessons about the tenuousness and possibilities of interest convergence during a time of apparently renewed cross-racial support for public education in the contemporary Milwaukee education scene.
 
Article
This article examines how three Black tenure-track faculty from different academic disciplines prioritized and facilitated discussions on racism and racial violence with graduate students. Drawing on the process of facilitating difficult dialogues and racial battle fatigue as theoretical framing, we utilized case study methodology to illuminate the challenges that Black faculty face when engaging in these conversations. Our analysis yielded four themes: (a) deliberate and intentional preparation; (b) connecting current events on racism and racial violence to classroom lessons; (c) classroom management and decision making when dissonance occurs; and (d) reliance on trusted peers.
 
Article
Operationalizing practices for equity has eluded the educational community for some time. This exploratory, mixed methods study examined the practices, operationalized by 29 competencies, of ten school leadership teams in one urban, US school district engaged in the initial stages of equity systems change (ICS for Equity™). ICS for Equity is a system-wide, capacity-building framework and process for creating equitable and socially just outcomes for students. The framework guides systemic, educational change for school systems within and beyond the United States. Findings suggested that overall school leadership team competency levels for early-stage ICS for Equity implementation met or exceeded the expectations of district leaders, potentially providing some evidentiary support for ICS as a capacity/competency building model for equity systems change. We also discuss the factors that supported or inhibited team competency growth. Implications for districts engaged or considering equity work are provided.
 
Construct distribution depending upon CRP usage
Article
Education scholarship is unclear about what matters most to novice teachers’ enactment of culturally responsive instructional practices. To better understand the factors that contribute to novice teachers’ instructional decision-making, the authors used Role Theory as a framework for an in-depth analysis of three first-year urban teachers who completed the same teacher preparation program. Classroom observation data of the three teachers indicated that one of the teachers used culturally responsive instructional practices frequently, one used them occasionally, and one only rarely. To understand this range in use, surveys and interviews measured the school context and cognitive variables that influenced each teachers’ perception of their professional role. Findings indicate that the key factor affecting use of culturally responsive pedagogy (CRP) was the degree to which each teacher experienced consistent or conflicting role demands between their school context and their personal beliefs about teaching. The role consensus experienced by one teacher supported her frequent use of CRP, while the role conflict experienced by the second teacher was attributed to her occasional use, and the role overload experienced by the third teacher explained her rare use of CRP. Implications for preparing teachers to deliver CRP in unfamiliar and complex environments are discussed.
 
Article
This study discusses the needs and challenges associated with Latino males’ treatment in public schools. The primary concern is how nationally, only one in two Latino males graduate from U.S. high schools (Schott Foundation for Public Education in Black Lives Matter: The Schott 50 State Report on Public Education and Black Males, http://blackboysreport.org/, 2015). However, a growing body of research has emerged, heightening Latino males’ social and academic needs in traditional K-12 educational settings. In this paper, we highlight the need to focus on alternative school settings through the narratives of four Latino males enrolled in two alternative public schools. Our findings describe the nuances in alternative schooling experience for Latino males. It explores the school context's differences to (re)engage youth back into school and the various factors that shape their future aspirations. We discuss implications for research and practice to improve alternative schools' conditions to better serve Latino males in this overlooked sector in the educational pipeline.
 
Article
For this review I sought to understand how the field of education has come to conceptualize and study the relationship between schools and prisons. In doing so, I found that the vast majority of scholars who have studied the relationship(s) between school and prisons have done so within the context of the school to prison pipeline conceptual framework. This review both explores the affordances and contributions of the school to prison pipeline framework, as well as some of the limitations and critiques of the framework when used as the most preeminent frame by which we understand and study the ties between schools and prisons. I examine these limitations by focusing on four principal areas of study within the school to prison pipeline literature: (1) school discipline policies and practices, (2) school-police partnerships, (3) surveillance technologies in schools, and (4) disproportionality. The broader aim of this review is to develop the way we conceptualize the relationships between schools and prisons by building on what we have already learned in using the STPP framework, while also exploring new ways of theorizing and empirically studying the growing relations between schools and prisons.
 
Non-hierarchical levels of care
Central ideas of unit themes
Traffic directions in the hallway
Article
Misalignments in caring between home and school can often be a source of alienation for minoritized students. This study explores how African immigrant middle school students at an urban K-8 charter school experience congruencies and disconnections in caring practice between home and school. The school is academically successful and shares some characteristics with “no excuses” charter schools, but also emphasizes identity exploration and anti-discrimination in their curriculum. Student photographs of school spaces form an important part of the data for this study, so that students could speak about caring in their own grounded and everyday terms. The study highlights that many interpersonal and intrapersonal aspects of caring are similar between home and school, but that gaps in care were often linked to organizational expectations and practices. Scholars and practitioners interested in stronger connections between home and school in caring practice must focus not only on relationships, but also on whether schools are organized in ways that feel familiar and supportive to students.
 
Article
One segment of the student population that is regularly and systematically ignored is Black male students labeled “overage, under-credited” (OA/UC) based on their age and credits earned towards graduation. These young men are typically educated in alternative settings such as transfer high schools and adult learning centers. A critical race theory (CRT) analysis calls into question expanding alternative school options while limiting the exploration of how and to what extent Black male students benefit. The purpose of this study is to highlight how, if at all, OA/UC Black male students at an alternative school in New York City experience culturally relevant caring. We add to literature on culturally relevant caring by considering its importance in schooling experiences of three OA/UC Black male students in relation to tenets of CRT and examine two questions: (1) How, if at all, do OA/UC Black male students in a transfer high school experience culturally relevant care? (2) In what ways are students’ experiences of culturally relevant care shaped by structural determinism and intersectionality? Our analysis indicates that the school itself is reflective of a structural determinism that prevents transformative alternatives from fully emerging, particularly in relation to culturally relevant caring.
 
Article
Many schools attempt to address the needs of “English-language learners,” who usually are Spanish-dominant Latinxs, by offering dual-language (DL) bilingual education. While undertaking a larger ethnographic study of one such secondary-level dual-language program, I examined how dual-language teachers understood the program as equitable for Latinxs. I found that teachers believed DL met Latinxs’ needs by providing Spanish-language/biliteracy schooling, which deemphasized the need for explicitly enhancing youths’ critical consciousness. This teacher ideology of assuming DL is “ inherently culturally relevant ” led to significant issues. For example, teachers believed DL would improve Latinxs’ academic achievement, but when teachers perceived Latinx achievement was not on par with White dual-language students’ outcomes, teachers made sense of Latinxs’ underperformance in DL through racist explanations and did not interrogate the program’s cultural relevance. Specifically, teachers pointed to the program not providing Latinxs the needed Spanish input even though the Latinx students self-identified as bilingual and were the “Spanish-dominant” students, and teachers pointed to Latinxs’ cultural and familial deficits. I argue teachers overlooked critical-racial consciousness as an important component of an equitable education. Implications include for teachers to cultivate their critical-racial consciousness, interrogate raciolinguistic ideologies, and define an equitable DL as centering critical-racial consciousness.
 
Article
This work selects a political cite in which the state policy reform occurs to examine reasons and underlying ideologies for some consensus on the debates regarding the need to criminalize or decriminalize truancy. Studying the legislation help to unpack the nature of relationships in social systems, with the purpose of eliminating unbalanced power relations in the politics of school discipline policy reform. Embedding whiteness as a grounded lens, we conducted critical discourse analysis and critical policy analysis to deconstruct one bill to capture major competing political discourses pertinent to school disciplinary policy reform the Texas State Legislature. Although the counter-discourse of the reform shows resistance toward change, findings reflect widespread concerns across broad constituencies about the injustice of school disciplinary policy, the necessity of decriminalizing students, and the ideologies of discipline and control. The rich discourses reveal tensions of opponents’ political stances on the issues of school-to-prison pipeline at the macro-level. With an eye toward reframing the academic discourse with respect to school disciplinary issues, we further discuss the language used in describing truancy issues and offer an in-depth understanding of the dominant discourse of discipline policy reform.
 
Levels of analysis in racialized organizations (adapted from Ray 2019)
Article
This 3-year multi-site critical ethnography in a focal state in the New Latino South provides insight into the everyday experiences of racism, racialization, and racial inequality that undocumented students face. Specifically, the study showcases how undocumented students’ interactions with their teachers manifest in racialized organizations such as schools. Drawing on interviews and participant observations in two Title I public high schools with rising numbers of Latinx undocumented students, including recently arrived youth, the article illustrates the challenges of racialization in particular, and the resulting lack of belonging these youth experience. Leveraging a framework of racialization, including how schools are racialized organizations (Ray in Am Sociol Rev 84(1):26–53, 2019) where racialized microaggressions devalue Latinx undocumented youth experiences, resistance also allows for interrupting these damaging practices toward this population.
 
Article
The purpose of this study was to examine internal and external supports of an information technology themed (whole school) urban magnet high school located in a low-income urban community within the Southeastern region of the United States. We found the academy to be an exemplary case study for how schools can build a high profile reputation with investment from key stakeholders within the district and school as well as with the community, business/industry, and postsecondary partners. The internal investment of the school was spearheaded by not only the principal, but also district leaders (e.g., superintendent) as well. The career specialist opened the doors to external investment (e.g., business/industry, community members, postsecondary partners). Characteristics that contributed to the academy’s success included effective school leadership, effective communication, and ongoing collaboration.
 
Article
In this theoretical essay, I argue that the contemporary over-disciplining of Black and Native youth can best be understood through understanding the culturally violent roots of the heroic white woman teacher. I use analytical tools from settler colonial theory and feminist of color theory to inform my epistemological framing of power as a site of multidimensionality existing across space and depth (Sandoval, Methodology of the oppressed, vol 18, University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, 2013) and comprised of mutually constructed systems of oppression (Collins, Black feminist thought: knowledge, consciousness, and the politics of empowerment, Routledge, London, 2002). Revisioning the “discipline gap” from this vantage point moves us away from culturally focused or individualized deficit thinking aimed at communities of color and toward understanding the structures and histories foundational to our contemporary school systems, and the individuals who have informed and upheld those structures for nearly 200 years. I close with a discussion of immediate practical changes we can implement in classrooms, as well as a perhaps less practical call for reimagining decolonial futurities for teaching and schooling, both taking into account that the current U.S. teaching force and enrollees in credential programs are majority white and female whereas the student population is not.
 
Article
University-based teacher education programs struggle with recruitment and retention of Black teachers. While the enrollment of children of color in K-12 public schools has held steady for over a decade, Black teachers continue to represent only a small percentage of classroom teachers and leave the classroom at higher rates than their White counterparts. In this article, drawing from an in-depth interview sequence (Seidman in Interviewing as qualitative research: a guide for researchers in education and the social sciences, Teachers College Press, New York, 2013), we theorize one Black teacher’s racialized lived experience with colleagues and institutions to explore the factors that contributed to her early exit from the profession. With a Subject-Object Theory analytic framework (Kegan and Lahey, in: Lyons (ed) Handbook of reflection and reflective inquiry: mapping a way of knowing for professional reflective inquiry, Springer, Boston, 2010), our analysis underscores how a series of racially hostile encounters undermined her motivation and ability to enact change at the institutional level. Findings suggest that focusing primarily on consciousness and awareness raising in teacher education programs may fall short for Black educators.
 
Purpose and value of public education, as described by youth participants
Participant definitions of the fair distribution of educational opportunities, sorted by thematic categories and participants' free and reduced-price lunch (FRPL) eligibility status (n = 36)
Purpose and value of selective enrollment high schools, as described by youth participants
Article
School choice policy is ubiquitous in urban school districts. Evidence suggests that it has not fully delivered on its proponents' promises of equitable educational opportunity. While scholars and policymakers scrutinize data to determine school choice's equity outcomes, little attention has been paid to how school choice policy directly influences youth understanding of educational equity and opportunity. This study therefore explores how youth who engage with school choice policy come to understand and act upon the distribution of educational opportunities, and the extent to which their understandings and actions vary by social identity, family resources, school resources and admissions outcomes. 36 youth, engaged in the high school choice process, participated in this study, which is guided by policy enactment theory. Across subgroups, participants overwhelmingly valued merit as the best principle by which to distribute educational opportunity. Alongside this near-universal embrace of merit and widespread participation in choice policy-required actions, those who accessed the highest-performing schools often did so by activating non-academic resources that required financial capital. These findings highlight a shared ritual that serves to instantiate and reinforce ideals of meritocracy. Findings inform our discussion of school choice policy's educational equity and civic implications.
 
Article
This conceptual analysis examines the implementation of a state-funded college and career readiness pilot program at a small, rural all-Black school in Illinois. Drawing from ethnographic data that dates from 2010, I offer a retrospective analysis on individual based intervention programming for college and career readiness. Concerned with how young Black high school students are constructed as problems in regards to increasing readiness, I trace policy failure through the theoretical lenses of deficit ideology (Valencia in The evolution of deficit thinking: educational thought and practice, Routledge, New York, 1997) and dysconscious racism (King in J Negro Educ 60(2):133–146, 1991). This analysis illuminates how racism ultimately undermines a-contextual efforts to increase readiness for college and career.
 
Top-cited authors
Emily J Ozer
  • University of California, Berkeley
Juan A. Freire
  • Brigham Young University - Provo Main Campus
Verónica E. Valdez
  • University of Utah
Garrett Delavan
  • Georgia State University
Carlos Hipolito-Delgado
  • University of Denver