Theoretical & Methodological Frameworks for Research to Overcome the Impact of Race and Caste on K12 Education

Session Title: Theoretical & Methodological Frameworks for Research to Overcome the Impact of Race and Caste on K12 Education

Speakers: Frank Davis, Mary West

Description: Often Bob Moses described the limited nature of the education of African Americans as “Sharecropper Education” – as in a caste system in which people are educated only up to the level needed for a certain type of work. Recently Alliance members have discussed the National Science Foundation solicitation for Racial Equity in STEM Education. Our conversations have revealed the pervasive impact of Caste and Race on Alliance work at several levels: federal and state policy, school leadership, educational resources and goals, formal and informal teaching and learning environments, and school communities and their stakeholders.

All NSF research proposals and many others require a section on the proposers’ theoretical and methodological framework. We envision this session as an opportunity for open discussion among researchers and other interested conference participants to probe and define our underlying frameworks. For example: (1) Critical Race Theory (CRT) which was originally used to study racial bias in law and legal institutions and later expanded to education, and which is now being politically misrepresented to legislate policies to stop discussion about race in schools; (2) conceptions of social interactions that are marked by phenomena such as “microaggressions” and “stereotype threats,” and including more extensive theories of human development such as the Phenomenological Variant of Ecological Systems Theory (PVEST) on the development of identity, resiliency and competency of young people of color as they negotiate an understanding of “self “and “other”; (3) as conceptual interventions, the use of multicultural and culturally relevant education and pedagogies, students’ reflection on issues of social justice in classrooms, and broader conceptions of the purpose of education such as “education for liberation.”

Bob Moses added to these conceptual interventions the process of organizing a diversity of partners in reform work — using “crawl spaces” where partners in the communities of students work with others from outside the community, sharing a common goal, and working through their social experiences and differences to devise and implement change activities. This approach has been proposed as part of a theory of “collective impact.” This idea and those above are emerging across a wide range of disciplinary and interdisciplinary areas, utilizing qualitative and quantitative methodologies as appropriate.

We envision that this session will be an opportunity for those working on potential research projects to share their thinking and approaches and potentially develop new partnerships in such work.

This session will be 90 minutes and some suggested reading materials will be made available to participants.


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