The college-for-all movement is variously framed as a civil rights issue, an economic imperative, and a requirement for navigating our increasingly globalized society. In response, large urban school districts across the United States have adopted and implemented new policies for graduation that require high school students to complete a college preparatory education. These policies are relatively new, and their implications are just beginning to emerge. As a case of public scholarship, we describe the collective problem-solving process that unfolded over a decade, from 2007 to 2017, as researchers and practitioners in a new K-12 urban public school worked together to expand access to college for traditionally underrepresented students. We describe three practical problems—how to frame, support, and track a college-for-all reform effort—and detail how grappling with these problems locally provides unique insight into the larger college-for-all policy context. In particular, we explore the role of learning supports, status hierarchies, and resources in realizing the college-for-all ideal. We also articulate a fundamental framing tension between social justice as redistribution and recognition and suggest that the notion of parity of participation guide policy and action.


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pp. 159-182
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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