Educational Equity: Cultural and Ethnic Diversity in Schools

A special issue of Education Sciences (ISSN 2227-7102).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (29 February 2024) | Viewed by 14951

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
College of Education and Human Development, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY 40292, USA
Interests: ethnography of speaking; social and cultural contexts of education; urban teacher education/professional development; sociolinguistics folklore/performance theory; classroom interaction; educational anthropology; urban education

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Guest Editor
Department of Elementary, Middle & Secondary Teacher Education, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY 40292, USA
Interests: critical race studies of education and science education; sociology of education and science education

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Guest Editor
1. Clover Learning, Louisville, KY 40203, USA
2. Doctor of Philosophy, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY 40292, USA
Interests: English teaching; teacher pathway; teacher education

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In the past decade, education research has taken a turn toward culturally responsive pedagogy and critical race theory (CRT). Culturally responsive pedagogy, also known as culturally relevant or culturally sustaining (CRP/CSP), together with critical race theory (CRT), now occupy a prominent place in education research. CRP/CSP and CRT exist on a continuum with potential overlap between the two poles. 

CRP/CSP drive educators to challenge the institutional structures and cultural practices that underlie knowledge construction and opportunities to learn in schools and society (Ladson-Billings, 2021). In this pedagogical model, cultural strengths are built upon and nurtured to promote student achievement and a sense of well-being about students’ cultural place in the world. Culturally sustaining pedagogy’s “urgency comes not only from the clear social justice and democratic impetus to create classrooms where the curriculum includes practices and content that are inclusive of the students found in them, but as a means of addressing the widening chasm of cultural differences between teachers and their students” (Foster et al, 2019). Although much of the culturally responsive literature focuses on teacher practice, according to Lynch, culturally responsive pedagogy can occur at the institutional, personal, and instructional levels: The institutional emphasizes the need for reform of the cultural factors affecting the organization of schools, school policies and procedures (including allocation of funds and resources), and community involvement. The personal centers on the processes by which teachers learn to become culturally responsive and the instructional focuses on the practices and challenges associated with implementing cultural responsiveness in the classroom (Lynch, 2016).

CRT is a framework that enables us to examine and transform the foundations of race, racism, and power (Delgado and Stefancic, 2017) in and beyond educational institutions, enacted at both institutional and interpersonal levels. CRT posits that “race” and racism permeate every one of society’s institutions. This idea is echoed in the words of Toni Morrison, who saw “race” as having become “metaphorical” (1992). She suggests that race’s metaphorical state allows it to stand in for and to disguise, “forces, events, classes, and expressions of social decay and economic division far more threatening to the body politic than biological race ever was” and made it “completely embedded in daily discourse” (Morrison, 1992, p.63). As such, CRT provides a valuable way to explore issues of race in educational settings, where both forms of racism occur. Intersectionality (Crenshaw, 1991), a key aspect of CRT, explores how different forms of inequality and identity—race, class, gender, language—are interconnected, and how institutional structures interact with these identities to produce differential outcomes. However, as Ladson-Billings and Tate (1995) note, “Although both class and gender can and do intersect race, as stand-alone variables, they do not explain all of the educational achievement differences apparent between whites and students of color” (p.51). 

CRP/CSP and CRT overlap and add to the work of each other. For instance, CRP/CSP’s co-construction of knowledge intersects with CRT’s emphasis on the “voices” of People of Color and personal stories as a means of preservation and exploration of reality. “As we attempt to make linkages between critical race theory and education, we contend that the voice of people of color is required for a complete analysis of the educational system” (Ladson-Billings and Tate, 1995, pg.58). Education research situated within CRP/CSP, and CRT is necessary to transform the societal foundations that limit equitable education and excellence for all students.

References:

Crenshaw, K. (1991). Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality, Identity Politics, and Violence against Women of Color. Stanford Law Review, 43(6), 1241-1299. https://doi.org/10.2307/1229039.

Delgado, R., and Stefancic, J. (2017). Critical race theory: an introduction (3rd. ed.). New York University Press. 

Foster, M et al. (2019). The Heuristic for Thinking About Culturally.

Responsive Teaching (HiTCRiT) Multicultural Perspectives Vol. 22, No. 2, p.69.

Ladson-Billings, G. and Tate, W. (1995). Toward a critical race theory of education. Teachers College Record, 97(1), 47-68.

Ladson-Billings, G. (2021). I am Here, for the Hard Re-Set: Post Pandemic Pedagogy to Preserve Our Culture. Equity & Excellence in Education, 54(1), 68-78. https://doi.org/10.1080/10665684.2020.1863883.

Lynch, M. (2016). What is Culturally Responsive Pedagogy?  https://www.theedadvocate.org/what-is-culturally responsive-pedagogy/.

Morrison, T. (1992). Playing in the dark. Harvard University Press.

With this in mind, we invite researchers, scholars, and practitioners to submit an abstract by 20 December 2022, for an article grounded in one of these perspectives. Authors will be notified about the status of their abstracts by 20 January 2023 and complete articles are expected to be submitted by 20 April 2023. All submitted chapters will be subjected to a double-blind review process.

Prof. Dr. Michele Foster
Dr. Sheron L. Mark
Dr. Jonathan Baize
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Education Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • culturally responsive pedagogy
  • critical race theory
  • educational equity
  • educational anthropology

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Editorial

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6 pages, 166 KiB  
Editorial
Introduction Special Issue: Educational Equity: Cultural and Ethnic Diversity in Schools
by Michele Foster, Sheron L. Mark and Jonathan Baize
Educ. Sci. 2024, 14(1), 38; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci14010038 - 29 Dec 2023
Viewed by 815
Abstract
In the past decade, education research has taken a turn toward culturally responsive pedagogy and critical race theory (CRT) [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Educational Equity: Cultural and Ethnic Diversity in Schools)

Research

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21 pages, 2880 KiB  
Article
“The Work I Do Matters”: Cultivating a STEM Counterspace for Black Girls through Social-Emotional Development and Culturally Sustaining Pedagogies
by Natalie S. King, Laura Peña-Telfer and Shaeroya Earls
Educ. Sci. 2023, 13(7), 754; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci13070754 - 22 Jul 2023
Viewed by 2061
Abstract
Central to culturally sustaining pedagogy (CSP) is the notion that we sustain what we love by decentering the white gaze. Elevating CSP and the five core social-emotional learning competencies, we honed in on how Black and Brown girls developed knowledge and skills to [...] Read more.
Central to culturally sustaining pedagogy (CSP) is the notion that we sustain what we love by decentering the white gaze. Elevating CSP and the five core social-emotional learning competencies, we honed in on how Black and Brown girls developed knowledge and skills to manage their emotions, achieve goals, show empathy, and maintain healthy relationships within the context of a single-gender summer STEM program. These opportunities to engage in critical conversations to learn, unlearn, and relearn, while showing up as their full and authentic selves, are not often afforded in traditional STEM classes. This paper focuses on dialogue and interactions amongst four program participants—Samira, Rita, Brandy, and Joy. Critical discourse analysis was employed to challenge the dominance and reproduction of discourses by examining social contexts and systemic structures that they addressed in conversation. Findings revealed the importance of cultivating trusting and intentional learning spaces for Black and Brown girls to engage in open dialogue and critique oppressive discourses. It also displayed the significance of leaning into difficult conversations and pluralism to help adolescent girls realize the complexities of culture while also promoting joy and social-emotional development. Creating spaces that affirm Black and Brown girls matter; their contributions and work that they do matter. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Educational Equity: Cultural and Ethnic Diversity in Schools)
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24 pages, 10207 KiB  
Article
The Inequities Embedded in Measures of Engagement in Science Education for African American Learners from a Culturally Relevant Science Pedagogy Lens
by Tara Nkrumah
Educ. Sci. 2023, 13(7), 739; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci13070739 - 19 Jul 2023
Viewed by 1398
Abstract
Although African American educators strive to ameliorate racist and/or sexist barriers to learners’ science engagement in U.S. education, examples of applications of culturally relevant science instruments to measure African American learners’ engagement in science are hard to find in the literature. Inaccurate perceptions [...] Read more.
Although African American educators strive to ameliorate racist and/or sexist barriers to learners’ science engagement in U.S. education, examples of applications of culturally relevant science instruments to measure African American learners’ engagement in science are hard to find in the literature. Inaccurate perceptions about student engagement in science education continue to exist, including assumptions about the prevalence and effects of low socioeconomic status, limited content knowledge, and a lack of interest or motivation of African American learners compared to white learners. Most exemplars of student engagement in science focus on the cognitive, behavioral, and social mores of white, male, cisgender, middle-class learners and their reactions to teacher pedagogy. This article reports on a qualitative study of three African American female and male secondary science educators’ narratives of “engagement” in science amongst systemic inequities in the northeastern and southeastern U.S. regions. To better understand African American learners’ science engagement, I combined socially transformative science curriculum approaches for African American students using five types of mastery with the concepts of culturally relevant science pedagogy as the facilitator of racial equity. A critical-arts-based research methodology was used to craft participants’ autobiographical data and drawings into a literary métissage of the participants’ experiences, memories, and culturally relevant pedagogical strategies. Themes included: (1) teachers’ recognition that their interest and positionality impacted their engagement in science; (2) their understanding of how identifying as scientists informed their career choices and modes of participation; and (3) their observations about how mentoring and vision influenced students’ attitudes about engaging in science. The major finding was that critical incidents that teachers experienced when they were students in K-20 schools influenced how they became engaged in science and constructed their culturally relevant practices as science educators. The implications of this finding for pre-service and teacher leadership development for equitable teaching and learning will be discussed, and recommendations for using culturally relevant science practices and navigating power dynamics will be provided. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Educational Equity: Cultural and Ethnic Diversity in Schools)
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17 pages, 468 KiB  
Article
“Girls Hold All the Power in the World”: Cultivating Sisterhood and a Counterspace to Support STEM Learning with Black Girls
by Erica B. Edwards and Natalie S. King
Educ. Sci. 2023, 13(7), 698; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci13070698 - 9 Jul 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1600
Abstract
For far too long, schools have been violent places where Black girls are often adultified, overdisciplined, and overlooked. In school science and mathematics specifically, Black girls have been isolated, tokenized, and made to feel invisible. This qualitative study leveraged the Multidimensionality of Black [...] Read more.
For far too long, schools have been violent places where Black girls are often adultified, overdisciplined, and overlooked. In school science and mathematics specifically, Black girls have been isolated, tokenized, and made to feel invisible. This qualitative study leveraged the Multidimensionality of Black Girls’ STEM Learning conceptual framework to explore the roles of two Black women middle school science and mathematics teachers on the STEM learning experiences of 12 Black girls who live in the U.S. Midwest and how the girls engage with culturally relevant lessons in an afterschool program—SISTERHOOD I AM STEM. Data sources included a demographic questionnaire, program artifacts, and semi-structured transformative dialogic interviews with student and teacher participants. Findings revealed the significance and benefits of single-gender STEM learning environments for Black girls who struggle to connect with school and the role of Black women teachers in creating safe spaces for STEM engagement. In addition, the afterschool STEM program served as a mechanism to promote self-visualization and confidence for Black girls in science with the HyFlex model fostering a communal experience for the girls and their families. This STEM learning space organized and facilitated by Black women educators resisted Black girls’ pathologization and cultivated their sense of belonging. It holds promise for developing the social bonds that are critically important to their persistence in the field and a new narrative where “Girls hold all the power in the world”. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Educational Equity: Cultural and Ethnic Diversity in Schools)
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21 pages, 317 KiB  
Article
When School Wasn’t “School”: Developing Culturally Responsive Practice during the COVID-19 Lockdowns
by Jonathan Baize
Educ. Sci. 2023, 13(7), 684; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci13070684 - 4 Jul 2023
Viewed by 1013
Abstract
This article emerged from my study of three alternative-certification teachers, or teacher learners as they tried to enact culturally responsive practices while navigating their first year of teaching and taking graduate courses for initial certification. These teacher learners worked to develop their understanding [...] Read more.
This article emerged from my study of three alternative-certification teachers, or teacher learners as they tried to enact culturally responsive practices while navigating their first year of teaching and taking graduate courses for initial certification. These teacher learners worked to develop their understanding and capacities to enact a culturally responsive pedagogy but found that standardization of content and conceptions of what constitutes “good students”, appropriate classroom conduct, and micro-managed professional learning communities all created environments hostile to their attempts to develop as equity-minded educators and culturally responsive practitioners. However, their experiences changed once the COVID-19 pandemic closed these teacher learners’ schools to in-person instruction and sent them home to instruct online for the remainder of the spring 2020 semester. Free from the constrictive macro-structures and socio-political contexts in their physical workplaces, their planning showed them employing more culturally responsive practices and considering those practices more deeply. Once outside the cultures of practice, formed around neoliberal conceptions of success and measuring learning, these teacher learners became the sole mediators of the conflicting knowledge sources of their jobs and their university methods courses. On their own they began to confront the ways educational institutions stubbornly cling to hegemonic concepts of their communities and valorize work centered on concepts of knowledge and ways of knowing that bear little resemblance to society’s current reality. Away from the wider cultures of their schools during the COVID-19 lockdown and aided in mediating their own development using a dialogically structured lesson planning template inspired by—the Heuristic for Thinking About Culturally Responsive Teaching (HiTCRiT)—the teacher learners focused their instruction on their students making both their students’ learning and their own conceptions of CRP more real and their students’ learning more equitable. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Educational Equity: Cultural and Ethnic Diversity in Schools)
15 pages, 273 KiB  
Article
Claiming Your Own Identity and Positionality: The First Steps toward Establishing Equity and Social Justice in Science Education
by Alberto J. Rodriguez and Marianela Navarro-Camacho
Educ. Sci. 2023, 13(7), 652; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci13070652 - 27 Jun 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2298
Abstract
If there is one major aspect that calls for science education reform in both Costa Rica and the United States have in common is that in both countries, science teachers are expected to establish an inclusive environment where students feel free to engage [...] Read more.
If there is one major aspect that calls for science education reform in both Costa Rica and the United States have in common is that in both countries, science teachers are expected to establish an inclusive environment where students feel free to engage in discussions and investigations of real-world (socially relevant) issues. However, one aspect that teacher education programs in both countries have also in common is taking for granted the complexity of developing a teacher identity with the kind of cultural awareness, relevant pedagogy and content knowledge, and positionality necessary to meet the ambitious calls for science education reform. In our study, we sought to contribute to the understanding of these issues by assisting 17 pre-service high school science teachers in Costa Rica explore how their identity development and positionality might impact their abilities to establish culturally inclusive and socially relevant science classrooms. To this end, we offered participants culturally and socially relevant science teaching and curriculum development workshops for the last year and a half of their teacher professional program. Findings from the project’s first phase of analysis indicate significant growth in the participants’ identity development as culturally inclusive teachers responsible for making the science curriculum relevant for everyone. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Educational Equity: Cultural and Ethnic Diversity in Schools)
15 pages, 249 KiB  
Article
Culturally Responsive Practices or Assimilation? Views and Practices on Linguistic Diversity of Community College Instructors Working with Multilingual Learners
by Yohimar Sivira-Gonzalez
Educ. Sci. 2023, 13(6), 603; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci13060603 - 14 Jun 2023
Viewed by 1250
Abstract
Despite the recent growth of multilingual learners in community colleges, research is still scarce on how instructors perceive and interact with students institutionally classified as English as a second language (ESL). In this paper, I use racialization of language and culturally relevant pedagogy to [...] Read more.
Despite the recent growth of multilingual learners in community colleges, research is still scarce on how instructors perceive and interact with students institutionally classified as English as a second language (ESL). In this paper, I use racialization of language and culturally relevant pedagogy to explain how 6 instructors from first-year freshmen in a community college, serving a high percentage of immigrant multilingual learners, view, understand and operationalize culturally and linguistically responsive practices in their classrooms. I use a qualitative critical approach to analyze data from interviews, fieldnotes, and observations from a year-long study in a community college in a mid-sized city in the South of the United States. I show evidence of instructors’ views of students regarding their cultural, linguistic, educational, and class backgrounds. Findings suggest that even when instructors celebrate differences in the classroom and are aware of the cultural differences, their opinions, and academic expectations were sometimes focused on students’ lack of confidence to advocate for themselves and their failure to assimilate into the mainstream culture. Despite the best intentions, these expectations still enclosed assimilationist views of language and personhood that require students to communicate in ways that often resemble the American traditional monolingual college student. The study of language from a racial perspective can promote powerful ways to understand how institutions structure and operationalize services to multilingual learners; conscious changes in services may result in more equitable practices for these students. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Educational Equity: Cultural and Ethnic Diversity in Schools)
21 pages, 298 KiB  
Article
Afrocentric Education for Liberation in the Classroom: It Takes a Village to Raise a Child
by Tytianna Nikia Maria Ringstaff
Educ. Sci. 2023, 13(6), 532; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci13060532 - 23 May 2023
Viewed by 2876
Abstract
Racist and inequitable schools in the United States espouse an anti-Black and color blind curriculum that negatively impacts Black students’ lives. Black schools, including homeschools, are a strategic response to racist public and private schools and a viable option to address the academic [...] Read more.
Racist and inequitable schools in the United States espouse an anti-Black and color blind curriculum that negatively impacts Black students’ lives. Black schools, including homeschools, are a strategic response to racist public and private schools and a viable option to address the academic and cultural needs of Black students. This paper explores Afrocentric practices, including familial relationships through culturally responsive instructional practices: an African time orientation, a personalized learning plan, authoritative teaching, OurStory, and Rising Meeting. This paper provides evidence that these practices benefit Black students. I draw upon an Afrocentric theoretical framework in this qualitative study to analyze and interpret data collected at the Black Scholars Academy (BSA), a pre-kindergarten (Pre-K) through 12th-grade Black homeschool collective in the U.S. The data consist of classroom observations, individual interviews with current and former teachers and students, and textual artifacts collected between July and November 2019. Familial relationships helped students develop cultural pride, agency, self-determination, independence, and liberation through education. The employment of Afrocentricity as a best practice in a homeschool collective is considered advisable across every educational context. There is a need for more research on Afrocentric practices as one of many culturally responsive techniques to best teach culturally diverse students, especially Black students, in educational settings. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Educational Equity: Cultural and Ethnic Diversity in Schools)

Review

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16 pages, 245 KiB  
Review
“Y’all Don’t Hear Me Though”: Insight on Culturally Responsive Teaching from Scholarship on African American Language
by Leah M. Halliday
Educ. Sci. 2024, 14(4), 408; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci14040408 - 14 Apr 2024
Viewed by 661
Abstract
While culturally responsive teaching is widely acknowledged as essential to student success, a lack of consistency in what it is called, what it looks like, and how to enact it can present a challenge for educators. Further, the trend toward political polarization has [...] Read more.
While culturally responsive teaching is widely acknowledged as essential to student success, a lack of consistency in what it is called, what it looks like, and how to enact it can present a challenge for educators. Further, the trend toward political polarization has spread fear and misunderstanding of critical race theory and is now taking aim at diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts in education and society, including culturally responsive teaching. Thus, it behooves scholars and educators to assert unequivocally that culturally responsive teaching is not an approach that silences or condemns any group of students’ cultural knowledge, beliefs, or perspectives, be they mainstream or underrepresented. Rather, one essential component across multiple nuanced definitions of culturally responsive teaching is a focus on identifying and leveraging all students’ cultural strengths in service of learning. One well-established cultural asset of many African American students, who consistently experience inequitable outcomes in U.S. schools, is their language. As African American Language (AAL) has been identified as the most widely studied language variety in the world, the body of scholarship identifying and exploring its strengths is rich and robust. Using the framework of Foster et al.’s Heuristic for Thinking about Culturally Responsive Teaching (HiTCRiT), this review explores scholarship on the use of AAL in three spheres—everyday discourse, literature and expository texts, and popular media—to illustrate both the challenges and potential of enacting asset-focused pedagogies by leveraging a broad and diverse variety of texts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Educational Equity: Cultural and Ethnic Diversity in Schools)
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