Race, Class and Education
This course is designed to provide students interested in Education with a multi-faceted perspective of the issues prevalent affecting students and their families. As a primary place of establishing one’s understanding of societal norms, school is among the most powerful institutions in American culture. Among its many functions, School has played a significant role in perpetuating and/or reproducing deep inequalities of race, ethnicity, class, gender and sexuality, and more. This same power and influence imbues the School with the means to foster equally positive transformations in the lives of individuals, playing a crucial part in movements for social change, as it has done during many significant moments in history. We explore Education through the diverse and at times divergent points of view of parents, teachers, and students, through the lens of lived experience. Learning experiences will be facilitated through the inclusion of various media including: Written and visual texts, autobiography and memoir, ethnography, informational texts, official Law and Policy decisions, creative works of art and documentary film. Local, State and Federal issues together with global developments related to Education as both a right and institution will inform our thinking and fuel discussions aimed at gaining deeper insight. Guest lecturers will provide first hand perspectives to support students in conceptualizing ways to bring “Knowledge to Action” in whatever future roles they may play as stakeholders of Education in the future. Students will take a critical look and engage in discussion about the public, private and nontraditional school/teaching settings (including prisons) and make connections between the various educational philosophies and paradigms that drive the systems extant today. Based on their own personal educational philosophy, students will be tasked to collaborate on a possible solution (set) to address a key issue for one or more of the classes of people served within the current educational environment. Overall, through placing students in the position to explore these complex, and at times uncomfortable realities, the goal is to foster empathy that gives rise to a greater commitment to be agents of change.