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On the Intersectional Amplification of Barriers to College Internships Participation Marisol is a twenty-year-old first-generation Latina college student studying justice studies at an urban comprehensive university. She works thirty hours a week, helping her family not only financially but also with care for her two younger siblings. Her parents speak little English so she must accompany them to doctor visits and the like to translate. She has a passion for her schoolwork and wants to succeed in the classroom and pursue a career in a social justice organization. An internship has opened in such an organization; however, it is unpaid; Marisol desperately wants this opportunity, but with all her responsibilities she simply cannot take it.
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Is Complicity in Oppression a Privilege? Toward Social Justice Education as Mutual Aid “As a White person,” Peggy McIntosh (2017) once remarked, “I realized I had been taught about racism as something which puts others at a disadvantage, but had been taught not to see one of its corollary aspects, White privilege, which puts me at an advantage” (p. 28). Like McIntosh, many social justice educators have come to believe that it is crucial for students to discover how members of dominant groups are advantaged and subordinate groups are disadvantaged by oppressive relationships. Oppressive domination, in this picture of politics, is a zero-sum game. In it, some “win” by exploiting others. Yet if culpable complicity in oppression is a privilege, an advantage for those in dominant groups, why would those in positions of dominating power dismantle the oppressive systems they can maintain? It is irrational to pursue what is disadvantageous over what is advantageous. If members of dominant groups effectively embrace the conception of advantage taught in the discourse of privilege, we should be unsurprised if oppressive relationships persist or expand. This is the problem of privilege.
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Partnerships with Immigrant Families in Politically Polarized Times Close to a quarter of all public school students in the United States come from immigrant households; yet, K–12 schools struggle to effectively serve this population. This is especially true in a political climate that is outwardly hostile to immigrants (Gándara, 2018) and in the midst of a pandemic that has taken a disproportionate toll on immigrant communities. Our work on immigrant serving schools has highlighted the importance of social justice leadership (Villavicencio, 2020), buffering schools from harmful policy (Jaffe-Walter & Villavicencio, 2021), and teacher practice focused on culturally relevant, linguistically responsive classrooms (Villavicencio, Jaffe-Walter, & Klevan, 2020). Another critical—and typically overlooked—dimension of effectively serving immigrant students and children of immigrants is building and maintaining authentic partnerships with families.
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Testing What Isn’t Taught and the Potential Consequences on Identity Formation Emergent bilingual learners are accustomed to involuntarily taking many high-stakes tests in English, but a new policy asks them to voluntarily take a proficiency test of their home language, regardless of whether they received any instruction in school in this language. The Seal of Biliteracy (SoBL) is a policy adopted in forty-three states that originated in California in opposition to English-only legislation and from a desire to change deficit-based views of bilingualism. The program recognizes students who graduate high school bilingual and biliterate and was designed to serve as a clear symbol to colleges, universities, and employers that an individual is proficient in two or more languages. Each year, more and more institutions of higher education award credit for SoBL attainment, paving pathways to higher education for students who may not have previously had the opportunity to enter college with any credit and decreasing the cost of a degree.
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Investing in Black Academic Leaders In 2017, the Philadelphia Inquirer highlighted the fact that the city’s three most prominent universities each had an African American serving in the top academic post. Why was it so newsworthy? Up until that time, only 4 percent of all provosts at four-year institutions in the United States were Black. This statistic caught our eye. Given the historic views on the capacity for intellectualism in the Black community and the low numbers of Black faculty, we knew Black academics at Predominantly White Institutions (PWIs) had an uphill climb.
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We Can’t Go Back to Normal: Restorative Classrooms During COVID-19 In March of 2020, the world quickly came to a standstill as the reality of COVID-19 started to sink in. Some of the most popular social gatherings were suspended, postponed, or moved to virtual platforms: Broadway plays, professional and college sports, the Kentucky Derby, weddings, Juneteenth, Fourth of July, and the Olympics. These events as well as disruptions to employment, housing, healthcare, and travel impacted everyone’s daily routine.
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Counting Joy in School-Based Racial Equity Work If there has ever been a time where I’ve witnessed the widespread erosion of joyfulness among children and school-aged youth, it has been throughout the past two years. In March 2020, joy gave way to confusion, fear, and uncertainty as the world came to terms with the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic. Abrupt school closings upended the routine of schooling that was a familiar constant for ten months each year. Enter remote learning. Soon after, in May 2020, joy gave way to anger, fear, and resentment. Why do police officers and white vigilantes keep killing Black people? Enough was enough.
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Democracy, Intellectual Virtues, and Education For a democracy to function well, its citizens must, at a minimum, have reliable access to credible information and be able to distinguish it from information that is inaccurate or misleading. Alas, in the contemporary information landscape, misinformation is pervasive. And with the advent of user-friendly design programs and “deep fake” technologies, distinguishing political fact from fiction can be exceedingly difficult.
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Curriculum is the Answer to Questions about CRT Some governing bodies are working vigorously to ensure that every student has space in their classrooms to discuss race. Several states are working towards ethnic studies (and similar programs) as mandated curricular offerings. Others are moving forward legislation that will dramatically change whether (and how) teachers are able to discuss race in their classrooms at all. There is a well-coordinated, national political campaign, the aim of which seems to be turning Critical Race Theory (CRT) first into a red herring, a powerful wedge issue second. How strange that our national culture wars would metastasize on the curriculum.
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Can Educators Really Be Anti-Racist Without Racial Literacy? Since the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement last summer, there has been an increased focus to promote anti-racist pedagogy, curriculum, and professional development for K–12 teachers. In retaliation to this growing analysis of racism in schools, there has also been an active countermovement to suppress discourse about race and racism, including the recent attacks on Critical Race Theory (CRT) across the US and UK. Despite the investment and growth in how to be anti-racist, however, many teachers and school administrators have still felt thoroughly unprepared to confront this racially charged backlash. But why?
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