State University of New York Press

SUNY series, Power, Social Identity, and Education

Lois Weis

Published by: State University of New York Press

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SUNY series, Power, Social Identity, and Education

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Codes and Contradictions

Race, Gender Identity, and Schooling

This in-depth look at a diverse group of young women at an alternative high school illuminates issues of race, class, gender, and identity formation, and shows the enormous power of schools to re-orient young women from school failure to success. This book examines the variations in the constitution of female gender in a group of young working class women of African American, Latina, U.S., Puerto Rican, and white European backgrounds who are enrolled in an alternative high school for students at risk of academic failure. It then analyzes the school processes that impact on the shaping of the young women’s gender identities and provides evidence that female gender identity among various racial or ethnic backgrounds can be very dissimilar. It also illustrates the enormous power of schools to re-orient young women who have previous experiences of academic failure to view education as crucial to attaining their future goals.

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Culturally Contested Pedagogy

Battles of Literacy and Schooling between Mainstream Teachers and Asian Immigrant Parents

The voices of teachers, parents, and students create a compelling ethnographic study that examines the debate between traditional and progressive pedagogies in literacy education and the mismatch of cross-cultural discourses between mainstream schools and Asian families. This book focuses on a Vancouver suburb where the Chinese population has surpassed the white community numerically and socioeconomically, but not politically, and where the author uncovers disturbing cultural conflicts, educational dissensions, and “silent” power struggles between school and home. What Guofang Li reveals illustrates the challenges of teaching and learning in an increasingly complex educational landscape in which literacy, culture, race, and social class intertwine. Advocating for a greater cultural understanding of minority beliefs in literacy education and a more critical examination of mainstream instructional practices, Li offers a new theoretical framework and critical recommendations for teachers, schools, and parents.

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Late to Class

Social Class and Schooling in the New Economy

Late to Class presents theoretical, empirical, and pedagogical perspectives on social class and schooling in the United States. Grounding their analyses at the intersections of class, ethnicity, gender, geography, and schooling, the contributors examine the educational experiences of poor, working class, and middle class students against the backdrop of complicated class stratification in a shifting global economy. Together, they explore the salience of class in understanding the social, economic, and cultural landscapes within which young people in the United States come to understand the meaning of their formal education in times of changing opportunity.

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Making Modern Lives

Subjectivity, Schooling, and Social Change

Making Modern Lives looks at how young people shape their lives as they move through their secondary school years and into the world beyond. It explores how they develop dispositions, attitudes, identities, and orientations in modern society. Based on an eight-year study consisting of more than 350 in-depth interviews with young Australians from diverse backgrounds, the book reveals the effects of schooling and of local school cultures on young people’s choices, future plans, political values, friendships, and attitudes toward school, work, and sense of self. Making Modern Lives uncovers who young people are today, what type of identities and inequalities are being formed and reformed, and what processes and politics are at work in relation to gender, class, race, and the framing of vocational futures.

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Meaningful Urban Education Reform

Confronting the Learning Crisis in Mathematics and Science

Based on a three-year study of the National Science Foundation’s Urban Systemic Initiative, Meaningful Urban Education Reform is an overview of recent attempts to change teaching in mathematics and science in urban environments. The book evaluates the impact of educational reform on urban schools, determines how schools with the highest levels of poverty in the United States can make successful changes, and investigates how communities and policy makers contribute to student achievement. Contributors provide compelling portraits of classrooms, teachers, and students in elementary, middle, and high schools through case studies and examples from intensive research in four locations: Chicago, El Paso, Memphis, and Miami. They interviewed, observed, and gathered information from district administrators, school principals, teachers, students and their parents, and community members. The book provides valuable insight into how systemic reform works, offers suggestions regarding assessment of successful learning environments, and addresses the need for intensive, long-term professional development for the purpose of engaging teachers with their colleagues in communities of practice supported by a strong school culture.

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Working at the Margins

Moving off Welfare in America

Uses case study narratives of marginalized adults in evaluating the move from welfare to work. Working at the Margins describes and analyzes the move, from welfare rolls to paid employment, of adults who were marginalized from the mainstream by race, ethnicity, language, and economic status. Frances Julia Riemer utilizes ethnographic data gathered over two years from four workplaces that employed thirty seven former welfare recipients. She examines how the private sector accommodates these workers and their differences and how the workers themselves negotiate the barriers they experience. The book illustrates how government policies and adult-education initiatives, designed ostensibly to create opportunities, often reify existing inequalities.

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