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«Toward Positive Youth Development, Transforming Schools and Community Programs Shinn, Marybeth (Editor), Professor of Psychology, New York University ...»

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One key confusion makes our talk about helping and harming students of color imprecise. Educators must both treat students of color as complex individuals rather than racial group members and recognize their real experiences as racial group members in order to assist them, understand their experiences, and treat them equitably. For example, a teacher must consider her black students’ experiences as black students struggling, against stereotypes, to be seen as smart (Cohen, 2008; Perry, Steele, & Hilliard, 2003); at times, she must afford her Latino students the chance to analyze their experiences as Latino students trying to make it to college (Gándara, 2008). Yet she does them a disservice at many moments by overlooking their individuality, or distorting their actual experiences by seeing them through a false “racial” lens (D. Carter, 2008; Lucas, 2008).

Educators need to ask a more precise question: which everyday acts by educators move specific students of color toward educational opportunity and which acts move them further away from it? To answer this question regarding any given act (e.g., a method of teaching a particular text; a way of talking to students about racial stereotypes; or a particular disciplinary practice), educators can draw a simple number line (that follows this paragraph) and ask

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This issue is so complex that I produced an edited volume, Everyday antiracism: Getting real about race in school (2008b), in which I asked 65 experts in race and education studies to each discuss precisely one concrete, research-based practice that an educator could employ in her typical day to counteract racial inequality of opportunity and outcome. It took work for the authors, too, to discuss their recommendations precisely. We were motivated by the idea that precise suggestions would best assist educators to equalize opportunity.

Conclusion

The point of pursuing precision in school race talk is to prompt more precise analysis of what assisting students to enjoy equal opportunity actually entails. When we talk imprecisely about this goal, we pursue it imprecisely in school settings as well. For this reason, improving talk is far more than “just talking.” Rather, it hones educators’ analyses of how to improve their service to students.

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1. See Erickson (2004) for a thorough discussion of such research, and Mehan (1996) for a great example of it. See Cicourel (1981) and Mehan (1996) for a discussion of how analytically to link everyday talk to the production of social organization inside social settings.

2. See the many research studies on teacher “racism” discussed in Hollins and Guzman (2005).

3. By “educators,” I primarily refer in this chapter to adults who work in K-12 schools and their surrounding districts, although I have argued elsewhere that researchers can also pursue more precise talk about race issues in education if we want to promote precise problem analysis (Pollock, 2008b). So can university professors and those running teacher and administrator education programs.

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2003 - 2011. All Rights Reserved.

Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use (for details see http://www.oxfordscholarship.com/oso/public/privacy_policy.html).

Subscriber: Indiana University - Bloomington; date: 12 September 2011 Toward Positive Youth Development, Transforming Schools and Community Programs Shinn, Marybeth (Editor), Professor of Psychology, New York University Yoshikawa, Hirokazu (Editor), Professor of Education, Harvard Graduate School of Education Print publication date: 2008, Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2010 Print ISBN-13: 978-0-19-532789-2, doi:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195327892.001.0001

4. These tools are also presented and discussed in Mica Pollock, Talking precisely about equal opportunity, Everyday antiracism: Getting real about race in school, Mica Pollock (Ed.). New York: The New Press (2008b).

5. Debates over the causation of racial disparities obviously characterize educational research as well. One might say that research is often a battle over which actors in complex systems actually produce racial disparities or play more of a role in producing those disparities. Still, researchers ourselves often make reductive, overarching claims about what “causes” disparities and various school

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“problems,” rather than offering more precise analyses of causation. For a telling example of how such quick explanatory statements can coexist amidst complex debates over causation, see Farkas (2003).

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Carlson, M., Felton, E., & Fonseca, C. (2002, Fall). Children and democracy [Electronic version]. ReVista: Harvard Review of Latin America. Retrieved December 13, 2006, from http://drclas.fas.harvard.edu/revista/articles/view/174 Carter, D. (2008). On spotlighting and ignoring racial group members in the classroom. In M. Pollock (Ed.), Everyday antiracism: Getting real about race in school. New York: The New Press.

Carter, P. (2005). Keepin’ it real: School success beyond black and white. Oxford University Press.





Chadwick, J. (2008). Teaching racially sensitive literature. In M. Pollock (Ed.), Everyday antiracism: Concrete ways to successfully navigate the relevance of race in school. New York: The New Press.

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Deyhle, D. (2008). What’s on your classroom wall?: Problematic posters. In M. Pollock (Ed.), Everyday antiracism: Concrete ways to successfully navigate the relevance of race in school. New York: The New Press.

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Ely, R. J., Meyerson, D. E., & Davidson, M. N. (2006, September 1). Rethinking political correctness. Harvard Business Review, 1-11.

Erickson, F. (2004). Talk and social theory: Ecologies of speaking and listening in everyday life. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press.

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Fine, M., Roberts, R. A., Torre, M. E., Bloom, J., Burns, A., Chajet, L., et al. (2004). Echoes of Brown: Youth documenting and performing the legacy of Brown v. Board of Education. New York: Teachers’ College Press.

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Harding, H. (2006). “All their teachers are white”: Portraits of “successful” white teachers in predominantly black classrooms.

Unpublished Ed.D. dissertation, Harvard Graduate School of Education, Cambridge.

Hart, R. (1997). Children’s participation: The theory and practice of involving young citizens in community development and environmental care. London: Earthscan.

Hochschild, J. L., & Herk, M. (1990). “Yes, but....”: Principles and caveats in American racial attitudes. In J. W. Chapman & A.

Wertheimer (Eds.), Majorities and minorities, Nomos 31 (Yearbook of the American Society for Political and Legal Philosophy, pp. 308PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2003 - 2011. All Rights Reserved.

Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use (for details see http://www.oxfordscholarship.com/oso/public/privacy_policy.html).

Subscriber: Indiana University - Bloomington; date: 12 September 2011 Toward Positive Youth Development, Transforming Schools and Community Programs Shinn, Marybeth (Editor), Professor of Psychology, New York University Yoshikawa, Hirokazu (Editor), Professor of Education, Harvard Graduate School of Education Print publication date: 2008, Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2010 Print ISBN-13: 978-0-19-532789-2, doi:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195327892.001.0001

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Hollins, E., & Guzman, M. T. (2005). Research on preparing teachers for diverse populations. In M. Cochran-Smith & K. M. Zeichner (Eds.), Studying teacher education: The report of the AERA panel on research and teacher education (pp. 477-548). Mahwah, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum.

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Losen, D. J. (2004). Challenging racial disparities: The promise and pitfalls of the No Child Left Behind Act’s race-conscious accountability. Howard Law Journal, 47 (2), 243-298.

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Mehan, H. (1996). Beneath the skin and between the ears: A case study in the politics of representation. In J. Lave & S. Chaiklin (Eds.), Understanding practice: Perspectives on activity and context (pp. 241-268). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Mickelson, R. A., & Cousins, L. L. (in press). Undermine racially stratified tracking through minority parent involvement. In M. Pollock (Ed.), Everyday antiracism: Concrete ways to successfully navigate the relevance of race in school. New York: The New Press.

Moll, L., Amanti, C., Neff, D., & Gonzalez, N. (1992). Funds of knowledge for teaching: Using a qualitative approach to connect homes and classrooms. Theory into Practice, 31(2), 132-141.

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Olsen, L. (1995). School restructuring and the needs of immigrant students. In R. G. Rumbaut & W. A. Cornelius (Eds.), California’s immigrant children: Theory, research, and implications for educational policy (pp. 209-231). San Diego: Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies, University of California San Diego.

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Pollock, M. (Ed.). (2008b). Everyday antiracism: Getting real about race in school. New York: The New Press.

Rothstein, R. (2004). Class and schools: Using social, economic, and educational reform to close the black-white achievement gap. New York, NY: Teachers College, Columbia University; Washington, DC: Economic Policy Institute.

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Sharma, S. (2008). Teaching representations of cultural difference through film. In M. Pollock (Ed.), Everyday antiracism: Getting real about race in school. New York: The New Press.

Singleton, G. E., & Hays, C. (2008). Beginning courageous conversations about race. In M. Pollock (Ed.), Everyday antiracism: Getting PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2003 - 2011. All Rights Reserved.

Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use (for details see http://www.oxfordscholarship.com/oso/public/privacy_policy.html).

Subscriber: Indiana University - Bloomington; date: 12 September 2011 Toward Positive Youth Development, Transforming Schools and Community Programs Shinn, Marybeth (Editor), Professor of Psychology, New York University Yoshikawa, Hirokazu (Editor), Professor of Education, Harvard Graduate School of Education Print publication date: 2008, Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2010 Print ISBN-13: 978-0-19-532789-2, doi:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195327892.001.0001

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Stone, D., Patton, B., & Heen, S. (2000). Difficult conversations: How to discuss what matters most. New York: Penguin Books.

Suarez-Orozco, C., & Suarez-Orozco, M. (2001). Children of immigration. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

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Watson, D. (2007). Norming suburban: How teachers describe teaching in urban schools. Unpublished Ed.D. dissertation, Harvard Graduate School of Education, Cambridge.

Weinstein, R. S. (this volume). Schools that actualize high expectations for all youth: Theory for setting change and setting creation.

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Zhou, M. (this volume). The ethnic system of supplementary education: Non-profit and for-profit institutions in Los Angeles’ Chinese immigrant community.

–  –  –

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2003 - 2011. All Rights Reserved.

Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use (for details see http://www.oxfordscholarship.com/oso/public/privacy_policy.html).

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