T he purpose of this volume is to contribute to education research by presenting comprehensive and nuanced understandings of intersectional perspectives. Researchers working within an intersectional framework try to account for the dynamic and complex ways that race/ethnicity, class, gender, sexuality, religion, citizenship, ability, and age shape individual identities and social life. We argue it is essential to overcome simplistic, static, one-dimensional, and additive approaches to education research by expanding the use of analytical categories and engaging the multiplicities of people's circumstances within and across teaching and learning settings. This volume is our attempt to open a space for analysis, dialogue, and reflection among scholars about intersectionality, and the possibilities of reimagining the research tools used to address the complex demographic, social, economic, and cultural transformations shaping education. Ideally, this conversation will reach audiences outside of the academy. Drawing from a long tradition of Black feminist theorizing and activism, Kimberlé Crenshaw (1989, 1991) is credited with proposing the term intersectionality as an academic concept. Intersectionality was also nurtured by the theorizing of women of color regarding race, gender, sexuality, and other forms of inequality that occurred as early as the 1960s (
In this era of increased accountability of public schools, standardized testing has been selected as a primary tool for assessing school performance. Since 1999 the state of California has used a summary measure of student test scores, the Academic Performance Index (API), to rank all public schools and has attached rewards and sanctions to the results. Analysis of 2 years of API scores for two large urban districts using variables measuring student socioeconomic status, teacher training and experience, and school characteristics provides strong evidence that this measure of school performance is largely driven by the socioeconomic conditions of the school. Teacher training and experience also have positive effects on school performance.
This article examines past and present research on school choice within its larger political context, focusing on market-driven choice programs such as vouchers and charter schools. Although methodologically and theoretically the domain of choice research is in its infancy, a growing number of increasingly sophisticated studies of choice programs allow us to start drawing more definitive conclusions about the effects of choice on students and schools. After a brief overview of the larger political context in which choice research takes place, we examine in detail the current state of knowledge on school choice: who is participating in choice programs, the effect of choice on parent and student satisfaction and student achievement, and the impact of choice programs on school districts and school reform. We conclude with a brief discussion of the implications of the politics of research on market-driven choice for American education.
This work addresses some of the arguments regarding equity in public education versus school performance at issue in the case of Williams v. State of California. The plaintiff’s expert witnesses have argued that the state is responsible to reduce the inequities in California’s public educational system. In contrast, the state’s witnesses argue that some of the plaintiff’s proposals have limited educational effects at the cost of reducing local autonomy. In this paper, I use four years of data from California’s Public Schools Accountability Act (PSAA) to evaluate these claims.
In May 2000, a class action lawsuit on behalf of California’s public school students, Williams v. State of California, was filed in state court in an effort to make the state address inequities in its public schools. The central issue of the case was students’ access to the “bare essentials” of public education: qualified teachers, current textbooks, and adequate and safe facilities. The author analyzes the relationship between school and district characteristics and the base year of the Academic Performance Index (API), the state’s main measure of school performance, focusing on variables related to the main issues in the Williams case. The findings support the plaintiffs’ arguments that the basic educational necessities targeted by the case should be the object of state policy in conjunction with accountability policies.
On March 26, 1951, three years before the historic Brown decision, in Gonzales v. Sheeley (1951), Judge Dave Ling of the United States District Court of Arizona ruled that the segregation of Mexican American students in a separate “Mexican School” was unconstitutional. In this article, we trace the legal arguments in Gonzales through two prior cases, Mendez v. Westminster (1946) and Delgado v. Bastrop (1948). We analyze how racialism, the social science critique of racism and legalism, shaped the arguments in the three cases. Our analysis suggests that Gonzales was a departure from Mendez and Delgado because it was the first case in which a court made an unqualified argument against segregation. The trajectory of the legal arguments across the three cases highlights how new cultural ideas about race were slowly incorporated into civil rights case law, a process that was also shaped by the institutional norms and practices of the legal system.
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