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“IS EVERYBODY REALLY EQUAL”: THE INSTITUTIONAL POLITICS OF EDUCATION

Dawn Stracener, dawns@unm.edu

 

COURSE DESCRIPTION

Students in this seminar will explore how educational institutions construct meanings of literacy and equity. Using insights from multiple disciplines such as sociology, political science, educational chronicles, ethnographical studies and Critical Social Justice Theory, students will critique the public educational system. Seminar participants will investigate how current educational practices and environments have been constructed by politicians, educators, and social institutions within the framework of complex and diverse communities. Students will answer the following essential question: How do Participatory Action Research qualitative methodologies help you define the purpose of public education and construct meanings of literacy and equity through a Critical Social Justice inquiry? In order to answer this question and justify their work, students will give presentations on educational chronicles, engage in discussions based on assigned texts, and complete a Participatory Action Research project proposal which will include both academic materials from various disciplines and field based research. This final project will include an action plan to enhance educational opportunities and equity for public school and/or university students.

READINGS AND TEXTS
The Handbook of Action Research, Peter Reason and Hilary Bradbury

Is everyone really equal?: An Introduction to Key Concepts in Social Justice Education, Ozlem Sensoy and Robin DiAngelo

Course reader

STUDENT REQUIREMENTS
All students are expected to voluntarily and regularly contribute to class discussions. Effective participation is dependent on you keeping up with all the reading assignments. All articles and books must be brought to class the day the reading is due or I will deduct participation points for that day. Various short in-class assignments will be given often, i.e. free writes, role play, debates. These assignments are designed to generate class discussions and/or give you a place to start when analyzing texts or doing written assignments. Responsible and serious effort on these exercises will make up a substantial portion of your participation score. In addition to participation and assigned readings students will also be given the following assignments for assessment: one analytical essay on the assigned readings; and a final participatory action research project, presentation on the Action Research report, and an individual reflection paper.

ABOUT THE INSTRUCTOR
Dawn Stracener has been an educator in the public schools and at the University for 18 years. During that time she has given a great deal of thought to educational equity as a process and a goal for student achievement as a way of creating a more stimulating learning environment for her students. Dawn has an interdisciplinary PhD in Language, Literacy, and Sociocultural Studies with a focus on Critical Social Justice Theory which examines how institutional discrimination impacts race, class, and gender.