At a time when race and inequality dominate national debates, the story of West Charlotte High School illuminates the possibilities and challenges of using racial and economic desegregation to foster educational equality. Continue Reading Pamela Grundy: Color and Character
Today, fossil fuel companies have engaged in a similar propaganda war—funding questionable research, donating questionable curriculum to hard-pressed schools, and touting their contributions to the public welfare in advertising campaigns—for similar self-interested reasons. Recent reports out of Oklahoma exposed the oil and gas industry’s science curriculum and the incentives like fully-funded field trips and free supplies and lab equipment. This echoes a similar story about coal-funded classroom materials published and later withdrawn by Scholastic, Inc., in 2009. Continue Reading Sarah S. Elkind: Energy Corporations in Schools: Then and Now
It’s Free Book Friday!! Enter to win a copy of Lessons from the Sand by Charles O. Pilkey and Orrin H. Pilkey via Goodreads. Each easy-to-follow activity is presented in full color with dozens of whimsical and informational illustrations that will engage and guide readers through the experiments. Great for taking along on your next beach vacation! The giveaway ends on Friday, July 15, so get your entry in now! Continue Reading Free Book Friday! Lessons from the Sand by Charles & Orrin Pilkey
When the Black Mountain School began last summer, many folks were skeptical of this new school growing up in the ghostly space of the old. The site had what Michel de Certeau calls “an uncanniness of the already there,” a feeling of the past that is so familiar in a space that it overpowers the present, making unknown places feel known. Ragan and Void have since changed the name of their experiment in education to School of the Alternative. Even with the name switch, the inspiration of the original BMC shines through. A pedagogical sensibility clearly exists between the old avant-garde school and the new one. This can be seen in classes such as: Lose Your Mind and Come to Your Senses, which promises instruction in Fluxus methodologies, mindfulness, and chance operations; Giant Loom Weaving, which is just what it sounds like and takes place outdoors; and Tablows Vivant, which, according to the course description, is “a series of posed scenes to communicate a story or idea. In between each scene is a mini dance party. At night, with dramatic lighting! With some bodies involved.” Continue Reading Lindsey A. Freeman: The Uncanny Bohemia in Black Mountain
Happy Summer! In honor of the summer solstice, we’re posting our suggestions for your summer reading list. If you’re planning a fun tropical vacation or just heading to your neighborhood pool, UNC Press has your perfect summer read. Pick up a fun guidebook or new biography, and don’t forget about our 40% sale! Continue Reading UNC Press Summer Reading List
While education might be the key to success, it doesn’t provide the boost it once provided to American workers. Continue Reading Katrinell M. Davis: Hoodwinked, Bamboozled, and Led Astray: Adjunct Professors’ Struggle for Job Security in the United States
To some degree, all of the contributors to this volume are engaged in some form of what might be called “activism,” though almost no one will apply the label to themselves or their work. They may call it “community service,” “community building,” or, as I prefer, “community engagement.” Or they may resist labels by not calling it anything at all. All, however, are rooted in the understanding that their research and teaching need to have a material impact on the world outside of the work the academy recognizes. The challenge, then, is to think through the implications, through the risks and stakes. Continue Reading Excerpt: Written/Unwritten, by Patricia A. Matthew
We used our survey data to study who favored diverse schools, who favored neighborhood schools, and who worried about school reassignments. Continue Reading Toby L. Parcel: School Assignment and the Emotional Investment of Mothers
Donald Trump’s suggested ban on Muslims entering the United States and the creation of a Muslim “registry” has been widely (and wisely) condemned. But from my perspective in the classroom, I see how the ideas are already affecting young people. Amid the rows of Catholics, Jews, agnostics, and evangelicals in my religion courses sit dozens of students hailing from the Middle East and South Asia. Their presence is a very good thing. Like most of my students, they are open, curious, and eager to learn. And they are baffled and intimidated by Trump’s rhetoric. Continue Reading Elizabeth Hayes Alvarez: Muslims in the Classroom
Fifty years ago today, 48 preschoolers from Mississippi and their chaperones took over the ornate United States House of Representatives Education and Labor Committee hearing room in Washington, D.C. The youngsters came to Capitol Hill seeking refunding of the Child Development Group of Mississippi (CDGM) Head Start program. Head Start began in 1965 as a War on Poverty initiative that provided low-income children and their families with early childhood education, nutritious meals, healthcare, and social services. CDGM stood out because it was one of the largest inaugural Head Start programs nationwide and because it was so closely aligned with Mississippi’s civil rights movement. Many of the Magnolia State’s black citizens who had lost their jobs because of their proximity to the movement, including Pap Hamer (husband of Fannie Lou Hamer) and Roxie Meredith (mother of James Meredith), secured CDGM employment. These well-paying jobs outside of the local white power structure disrupted the state’s racial and political status quo and provoked the ire of segregationists including United States Senator John C. Stennis (D-MS). Continue Reading Crystal R. Sanders: The 1966 Preschool March on Washington
Recently, a blogosphere debate erupted on headscarves/hijab among various Muslim women. The debate was preceded by physical harassment against visibly Muslim women. The worsened climate of Islamophobia was greeted with shock and disgust by a number of Americans. A number of non-Muslim women—Dr. Larycia Hawkins of Wheaton College, for instance—put on the headscarf as a gesture of solidarity with Muslims. While some Muslims critiqued hijab solidarity as a form of appropriation, many welcomed it as a well-intentioned and courageous gesture in difficult times. Continue Reading Shabana Mir: The Headscarf/Hijab Debate
Why have some school districts sustained school desegregation over many years while others have resegregated by race and income? Can we tie these differing histories to the attitudes and values of residents in these areas? Have attitudes and values in Wake County, North Carolina, regarding school desegregation changed over the last few years?
These are some of the questions I am investigating following the 2015 publication of my book with Andy Taylor, The End of Consensus: Diversity, Neighborhoods, and the Politics of Public School Assignments. In that work Andy and I reported the results of a mixed-methods study that used interviews, focus groups, archival data, case studies, and a 2011 representative survey of Wake County adults to understand school assignment policy change in the county. Continue Reading Toby L. Parcel: Exploring Attitudes toward Public School Desegregation Over Time
During recent debates over the flag, the history of the South sometimes appears as a straightforward tale of unrelenting proslavery leading up to the Civil War, Reconstruction, and the Jim Crow era. But there’s another aspect of southern history that is sometimes overlooked—the antislavery of the early antebellum era. Continue Reading Kim Tolley: What If There Had Never Been a Confederate Battle Flag?
Are preferences for neighborhood schools and diverse schools really polar opposites? As Wake County has debated policies of public school assignments over the last several years, many have framed the debate this way. Media coverage often juxtaposes assignment plans that promote diversity in schools and classrooms with others that place more emphasis on children attending schools close to home. Citizen groups have formed on both sides. Races for school board have focused closely on candidate preferences. In The End of Consensus: Diversity, Neighborhoods, and the Politics of Public School Assignments, Andy and I have discovered that despite this very public polarization, many citizens actually favor both diverse and neighborhood schools. Continue Reading Toby L. Parcel: Can Neighborhood Schools Also Be Diverse Schools?
When a new school board majority elected by Wake County, North Carolina, residents in 2009 began to alter the jurisdiction’s long-standing diversity assignment policy, it drew attention from media outlets across the globe. The story conveyed by reporters was that the county—possibly still believed to be a sleepy southern backwater by many—was fractured in two by this decision, with conservative white suburban residents supportive of the change and a coalition of liberal white urbanites and African Americans in vocal opposition. Although Wake’s school board politics are ostensibly nonpartisan, the new majority had ridden into office on a strong Republican tide that existed as a mild swell in the county just fifteen years before. They instituted, according to stylized accounts, a revolution in policy of similar magnitude. Continue Reading Andrew J. Taylor: Exploring the End of Consensus
“Why didn’t we learn about this stuff earlier? I can’t believe I’m in college and this is the first time I’m learning in class about present-day racism, sexism, and homophobia.” These are the types of comments that I often hear from students in the classes I teach on Urban Education, Youth Identities, and Gender & Education. Once, a white young woman, a graduate student, broke down in tears during class as she opened up about her sense of shame. She was outraged about the indignities experienced by poor children of color in urban schools and she felt ashamed that she was previously unaware of these realities. I can see on their faces when it begins to dawn on them that not only have their educations been amiss in preparing them to take action against injustice, they have not even been given the tools to see or acknowledge the inequalities of which they themselves are a part. Continue Reading Lauren J. Silver: Enlivening Social Justice through Spanning Boundaries
Fatima was an adventurous designer of third space identities, a non-hijabi who was at the same time religiously devout, socially liberal, sexually conservative, and politically aware. When Fatima entered the gates of Georgetown, having newly graduated from a strictly Islamic school, she was horrified to find that some of her Muslim friends drank alcohol. Continue Reading Excerpt: Muslim American Women on Campus, by Shabana Mir
But the Act has another flaw, deeper and more consequential than its 100 percent proficiency mandate. Written into NCLB is an assumption: that imparting basic math and reading skills should be the purpose of our schools. In mandating a tested-and-sanctioned proficiency in these basics, the Act quickly reduced the purpose of public education to a very narrowly defined type of academic achievement.
I won’t argue the importance of reading and math—these are necessary skills. But I will argue that schooling should be about more than reading and math, especially the sort of reading and math that can be measured on a state test. Continue Reading Mara Casey Tieken: The Children “Left Behind”
This year marks the sixtieth anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education, the landmark Supreme Court decision that found racial segregation in schools unconstitutional. In large measure, the decision worked. Though it took many years—and the added weight of executive orders, U.S. troops, and the Civil Rights Act—slowly, the nation’s schools began to integrate. By the late 1980s, gains in desegregation were significant, particularly for black students. The South saw the largest gains: the year of the Brown decision, no black student was attending a majority white school, but, by 1988, 44 percent were. The South had become the most integrated region of the country. Today, though, we see a different reality: our nation’s schools are resegregating. Continue Reading Mara Casey Tieken: 60 Years after Brown, Resegregation Is on the Rise
Recently, I took (and passed) my citizenship test, and the interviewer asked me if I had a middle name. When I said no, she asked if I wanted to change my name. Hmm, I thought, am I supposed to, to become an American? For many Americans, including those born and raised here, there’s an assumption that they must prove just how American they are. My research participants felt that way much of the time, but those who practiced certain kinds of behaviors—drinking, dating, dressing in mainstream Western fashion—felt the pressure less. Diya was relatively indistinguishable from her White American friends in terms of lifestyle, but then she came under question for just how Muslim she was. If she didn’t wear hijab, was she a nominal Muslim? Amber, a hijabi, was on the other hand perpetually being required to speak up for Muslims in classroom discussions on Islam and terrorism, or Islam and gender. Almost all of my research participants felt that because of the pervasive nature of Muslim stereotypes, they were always or often having to prove that they were really American, normal, empowered, peaceful Muslims. Continue Reading Interview: Shabana Mir on College Experiences of Muslim American Women