“Imagining the Impossible: New Opportunities for Educating in a Democracy”
2020 continues to unveil the gravity and complexity of this moment in history. As the COVID-19 pandemic evolves and more uprisings across the country unfold against massive racial disparities in police killings, use of force, arrests, imprisonment and more, we find ourselves as educators compelled to adapt and respond to these changing conditions.
Political and civil unrest is not new to the history of the National Network for Educational Renewal. Born from decades of educational research and scholarship during the 1940s-1980s, it is shaped by the shifting perspectives in education in response to World War 2, Vietnam War, the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the Civil Rights Movement, the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and other pivotal events in our United States history. John Goodladand his colleagues created NNER and its membership settings as school-university partnership implementation sites. These sites were and are exemplars, attesting to what is possible when equal yet different partners engage in issues of common concern, to include how and why we should educate in a democracy.
Since its inception, the National Network for Educational Renewal has promoted a compelling agenda, known as the Agenda for Education in a Democracy (AED), to ensure quality education for all and insist on educational renewal to ensure the vital role of education in a democracy. The 2020 NNER Summer Institute offered an opportunity to fully attest to this historical time as well as revisit the Agenda and the Network’s ancestral imagination.
The Institute produced a myriad of emotions from our membership participants ranging from fascination, frustration, and disappointment in response to the current state of education in the United States. Yet, it affirmed the role of NNER to impact change in various educational communities. As we consider explorations of the true purpose of NNER and the next steps, we will pursue to reform, renew, and build educational spaces.
Let us revisit our organization identity and mission to bring about change in education and adapt to our changing conditions. Let us collectively craft new possibilities of how NNER can shape pedagogy and support teachers to create change in the classroom by imagining the impossible.
Initial submissions are due December 30th, 2020. Click here to see the full call.
Call for Manuscripts: Education in a Democracy, A Journal of the National Network for Educational Renewal
The Role of Women & Girls in Fostering Democracy in Schools
Volume 11 | October 2019
Despite periods of focus on women’s access and achievement within the educational arena, the field of education has yet to make central an inclusive study of the issues, challenges, and social gains (contemporary and historic) impacting the educational experience of women and girls. Feminist Studies have largely been isolated to disciplines such as Women’s Studies, Sociology, and Ethnic Studies. The advancement and achievement of women and girls will remain limited unless we are committed to educational transformation that is comprehensive and centers a multidisciplinary study of women and girls, both domestic and global.
Exposing the Inequities
What are the issues? What are the needs? If balance across fundamental social issues is critical to the publics’ perceived road to success, we must first seek balance in our education leadership. The superintendency in P-12 education is one of the most impactful positions in education, and while research suggests that educational preparation, professional mentorship, response to job demands, personal life status, and career trajectory for men and women is similar, “men are still four times more likely than women to serve in the most powerful position in education, and both women and men of color are still grossly underrepresented” (Robinson, Shakeshaft, Grogan & Newcomb, 2017, np). Furthermore, women make up an average of 75% of education professionals, but only 30% of the leadership positions in education are held by women (Morey, 2017).
Beyond issues concerning women in positions of educational leadership, we also wrestle with significant problems of school pushout among African American girls. In the 2012 report, Race, Gender and the School to Prison Pipeline: Expanding Our Discussion to include Black Girls, Monique Morris argues that the traditional framework of the “school to prison pipeline” has largely focused on the experiences and conditions affecting black males. We continue to find that adopting a one-dimensional gender lens to study and address important work on inequality, exclusion, and the pushing out of students away from schools and into systems of criminal justice invariably limits our full understanding of this phenomenon.
Moving beyond issues affecting specific populations, there are also broad challenges that impact all women in education:
- Diversifying the teaching profession, including how we address and respond to issues of race, culture, and gender;
- The dynamics of difference, which include explorations of women’s ways of knowing, cultural diversity among educators, the impact of economics on teachers, students, schools and communities, and social insecurity among students; and,
- Diving deeper into culturally relevant teaching & learning to explore changing ideologies and historic success models such as African American Colored Schools or Jewish Day Schools.
We know an either/or approach to social topics that impact a vastly diverse population, leaves our society largely uninformed. We are in need of information, from both research and practice, that helps us to understand all of the various issues that serve to sustain the continued oppression of women and girls. This must include the myriad ways that all of these issues intersect and impact the entire field of education. We are also in need of answers—stories of successes and gains toward resisting this oppression. Channeling our work on activism, how might movements like #MeTooand #YesAllWomendrive our efforts toward increased intervention and change for women and girls.
And beyond these movements, what other important efforts are happening across our nation?
We invite potential authors to submit articles that accomplish one of the following:
- Share insight and information on the issues impacting women and girls
- Tell stories of students and schools that help illuminate not only what the issues are, but how we live these issues
- Study and critique current or historic women’s social movements
- Take a multidisciplinary approach to help us understand the intersections of broader issues with education (such as healthcare and education).
Bach, N. (2018). Michelle Obama launches new initiative to empower girls through education, Fortune Magazine, Oct 11, 2018.
Gordon, D. 1993. “Worlds of Consequence: Feminist Ethnography as Social Action.”
Critique of Anthropology, 13(4): 429-443.
Johnson, K. (2018). Political year of the woman? Been there, done that, Oregon says. New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/02/us/politics/oregon-women-politics.html.
Mohanty, Chandra Talpade. 2003. Feminism Without Borders: Decolonizing Theory, Practicing Solidarity. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.
Morey, C. (2017). Women Leaders in Education. Teaching Channel. https://www.teachingchannel.org/blog/2017/02/17/women-leaders-in-education
Morris, M. (2017). Push Out: The Criminalization of Black Girls in School, New York, NY
Reinharz, Shulamit. 1992. Feminist Methods in Social Research. New York and Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
Robinson, K., Shakeshaft, C., Grogan, M., & Newcomb, W. S. (2017). Necessary but not sufficient: The continuing inequality between men and women in educational leadership, findings from the American Association of School Administrators Mid-Decade Survey. Frontiers in Education, 2(12), doi: 10.3389/feduc.2017.00012.
Zimmerman, E., Woolf, S. & Haley, A. (2015). Understanding the relationship between education and health: A review of the evidence and an examination of community perspectives. Content last reviewed September 2015. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://www.ahrq.gov/professionals/education/curriculum-tools/population-health/zimmerman.html
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