Category Archives: Early childhood education

A few (language and literacy) thoughts


  • I feel that my background in early childhood education holds me in good stead when it comes to the subtleties of first and second language acquisition. What comes naturally when we support children in their primary languages does not come as naturally when we are working with older learners. There are clear developmental differences but communication almost always is the goal. Instrumental motivation is commonly accompanied by integrative motivation(Baker, 2001, p.123). The useful purpose (instrumental) someone wants to learn a language for often relates to identifying with or joining another language group (integrative) and communicating with people from a distinct linguistic background. ‘Discourse analysis has shown that a second language learner and a native speaker work together to produce purposeful and efficient communication” (Baker, p.118).
  • This ties back to caregiver speech (or ‘motherese’). The caregiver and the infant do not speak the same language at first but they communicate in a mix of verbal and visual cues. They negotiate meaningful input and language development comes about as a ‘process of implicit rule formation, rather than explicit habit formation’ (Baker, p. 119). I remember when I was working in a preschool setting and first heard “I runned to the shop” (or equivalent). I don’t remember if I responded at the time, but if I did I doubt I would have said, “no it’s ran, you ran to the shop” (instinct would hopefully have had me say the second part without the initial negative correction). I now know more about language development and I know that the child was making a hypothesis that actually shows positive cognitive development. What is key is that the child is telling a story and if we interrupt that story to explicitly correct, the train of thought is lost, and the child may shut down.


  • A number of years ago I took part in a collaborative study to see whether we should make a foreign language part of the regular day, at the private school I worked at in Brooklyn. I was already the before and after school French and Spanish teacher, and my passion for languages would have swerved me slightly in the pro camp. After a period of months, of meetings, and readings, we decided that there was already a lot on in the day, including specialist science and music, and decided not to bring a foreign language into the regular school day. There was no clear evidence to show that the children at this privileged school would be better prepared to formally tackle a foreign language in fifth or sixth, if they had taken the language a couple of times a week from kindergarten on. The only ‘real’ benefit seemed to be in terms of accent. I found this process to be of great interest as the articles we read challenged the concept that young children pick up languages so easily and it’s harder the older you get. It is of course much more complex than that. While there are many factors in play, Hakuta (in Baker, p.98) states that the evidence for critical period is scanty and that there are no qualitative differences between child and adult learners.
  •  Something I hadn’t explicitly thought about before is the use of English for science and math (Baker, p.210, point 3). I have always believed that math should be in the home language as the skills are transferable (Baker, p.210, point 4). SFUSD has a math curriculum in Spanish but when I was supervising two student teachers both in second grades, one class used the Spanish language version and the other class used the English version. I had never questioned the use of English for science as I felt it was a given as all schools I’ve visited have had science in English, but now I do. This ties straight into a presentation I saw at CIES 2017 regarding the limits of using Western theorists in the African context, especially when there are African theorists to use, such as Nyerere. Birgit Brock-Utne discussed the use of English as people move through academia, including in Norwegian universities. She recalled a discussion she had with a man in Tanzania who moved into English from Kiswahili when a particular topic came up. She asked him whether the language existed in Kiswahili to talk about that topic, and he said it didn’t. Brock-Utne then said to us that language only grows by using it. A couple of hours later, in a different context, a man from Namibia said he was back in his village, he works in the US, and went to speak to the children at the local school. He works in multimedia and information technology and he found the words for that don’t exist in his mother tongue. We have critical mass with Spanish but even so it is hard enough to get a wide range of quality resources in language arts and social studies.
  • On the way to the airport the other day I spoke to a taxi driver from Tajikistan. I don’t think I’ve met anyone from there before and I didn’t know they speak Farsi, as well as Russian (looking it up now I see that Tajik is a version of Farsi). He has two young children and so I asked the driver what language they speak at home, as I often do. They speak Farsi. The phrase that crossed my mind was that “unless you speak fluent English it’s better to speak your home tongue”. This was quickly replaced by the fact that it’s important for children to learn the language of their heart, and that even if the parents do speak fluent English they should still speak the language of their heart at home. It goes beyond being able to speak to the elders; it goes straight to core preservation value. Children quickly learn what language has power, prestige and preference (Baker, p.92), but they also learn the language of the heart and family. Early on children have the ability to use the appropriate language within appropriate contexts (Baker, p.91). The role children play as language brokers has many positive outcomes (Baker, p. 105). Language brokering can often be a lifeline, but there are certain ethical dilemmas when it comes to interpreting sensitive information, such as medical or educational information. Ideally, trained community interpreters can fill the role but in their absence children may need to step in.
  • Language brokering in less sensitive areas, such as when shopping, or banking, highlight student skills in areas a classroom teacher might not be aware of (Jiménez & Orellana, 2006). The suggestion of using journals to access this information is a strong pedagogical tool that opens a window, not only into occasions of language brokering but also emotions surrounding these. Harnessing these skills for academic growth taps into funds of knowledge the student may not know they possess. It may also strengthen positive ideologies surrounding home languages, if these languages are not high status. Children learn early on (Baker, p.106) one language never fully parallels another. Language brokering is not so much about interpreting word for word, but it is also about finding equivalencies. These equivalencies might not always exist, the words comadre or compañera for example come to mind, but the importance is finding the spirit in the sentiment.



 Baker, C. (2001). Foundations of bilingual education and bilingualism (3rd ed). Clevedon [England] ; Buffalo [N.Y.]: Multilingual Matters.

Jiménez, R., & Orellana, M. (2006). Flipping the Educational Script: Teachers as Learners. California English.




Raciolinguistics and Early Childhood Education


Research into early childhood education teaching and practice benefits from a critical look at component parts. Language and literacy are key elements of any ECE classroom and many ECE scholars actively engage in critical literacy explorations. The new field of raciolinguistics asks and answers critical questions about the relationships and the intersections between language, race and power. Applying raciolinguistics to the early childhood setting is sure to raise lively debates and discussions. Intersectionality (in the case of raciolinguistics this would be-but not limited to-the intersections of race and language) and anti-essentialism are one of the key tenets of critical race theory (Ladson-Billings, 2013). Critical race theory can also be a contentious issue in the early childhood classroom, but if an analysis of CRT doesn’t belong there, there where does it belong?

Intersectionality has proven to be a productive concept that has been deployed in a wide range of disciplines such as history and literature (Cho, Crenshaw, & McCall, 2013). Cho et al. affirm that its insistence on examining the dynamics of difference and sameness has played a major role in facilitating discussion and analysis of gender, race and other axes of power. Raciolinguistics is a new field of research ‘dedicated to bringing to bear the diverse methods of linguistic analysis to ask and answer critical questions about the relations between language, race and power across diverse ethnoracial contexts and societies’ (Alim, Rickford, & Ball, 2016). It foregrounds the intersections of race and language. The relationship between language, race and culture has long been a topic of interest in different fields, but, as Alim points out, the reluctance to take issues of race seriously among mainstream linguistics and anthropology has been and is troubling.

I begin this paper with a discussion on intersectionality and critical race theory. I then move to discuss raciolinguistics and how it is connected to intersectionality, and how both fields inform the other. Along with this discussion I bring in research and practice in early childhood education and I comment on the need for greater scholarship in the field of early childhood education from a raciolinguistic perspective.


The term ‘intersectionality’ was coined by Kimberlé Crenshaw, a distinguished law professor, in the late 1980s as a heuristic to focus attention on the ‘vexed dynamics of differences and the solidarities of sameness in the context of antidiscrimination and social movement politics’ (Cho et al., 2013). Crenshaw and fellow critical race theorist Angela Harris developed the notion of intersectionality to explain how anti-discrimination law fails women of color (Delgado & Stefancic, 2013). Gloria Ladson-Billings (2013) attached anti-essentialism to the concept of intersectionality and states that critical race theory scholarship decries essentialism, or the idea that people in a single group act and think the same. She comments that we see things as binaries such as black and white, east and west, rich or poor, right or left, but that when we move into the complexities of real life we recognize we each represent multiple identities.

Critical race theory provides a historical context to systemic oppression and highlights the enduring nature of race and racism in our society. It began in the field of critical legal studies. Derrick Bell, who first coined the term, examined the enduring role of race in the supposedly objective field of law. CRT was then brought into another supposedly objective field: education.

Critical race theory in education offers concrete tools for framing pedagogies of race, such as counter storytelling and testimonio (Solórzano & Yosso, 2002). This centralizes the experiences and narratives of people of color, thus legitimizing them as evidence to challenge and reframe dominant narratives about race, culture, language and citizenship.

Intersectionality was a lived reality before it became a term (Crenshaw, 2015). In the first part of the 1800s, Maria Stewart, a black female intellectual, stated that race, class and gender oppression were the fundamental causes of Black women’s poverty (Hill Collins, 2000). Hill Collins refers to group dynamics, the importance of the collective, of group identity and solidarity. Intersectionality by its very nature assumes belonging to identity-based groups. It isn’t simply a matter of where or how you ‘belong’ to these particular groups, but it is a matter of how belonging to these groups restricts movement (literal and figurative) and impedes reaching your full potential. It presents a frame through which to analyze layers of oppression, and challenge the hegemonic system: to challenge what is viewed as objectively ‘normal’.

The African American Policy Forum, co-founded by Crenshaw, highlights the importance of intersectionality as a tool (of analysis and resistance) rather than as academic tactic or fashion (Gillborn, 2015). Mc Call (2005) identified three modes of theorizing the complexity of intersectionality: anticategorical complexity, intracategorical complexity, and intercategorical complexity. An anticategorical approach is post-structuralist, and calls social life too complex to make fixed categories anything but simplifying social fictions. That is to say, race and other identity markers are merely social constructs, negating the central tenet of critical race theory that race is enduring. The intracategorical approach acknowledges intersectionality but does not go far enough in analysing why such disparities exist between groups of people. It offers a more layered approach where categories are almost piled up one on top of the other. The final approach is the one McCall uses to describe her own research methodology. Intercategorical complexity requires ‘that scholars provisionally adopt existing analytical categories to document relationships of inequality among social groups and changing configurations of inequality along multiple and conflicting dimensions’ (p. 1773). In other words, the how and the why particular groups of people suffer oppression is foregrounded, and the dynamic nature of intersectionality is affirmed. We must build on the work that came before and continue to interrogate systems of oppression, and how we can resist and transform lived reality. This approach is a call to action, a central tenet of critical race theory.


When it comes to broad scholarship on race and ethnicity, language is often overlooked as one of the most important cultural means that we have for distinguishing ourselves from others (Alim, 2016).

Raciolinguistics is a term that explicitly ties race to language: ‘racing language and languaging race’ (Alim, 2016). Rosa (2016) comments that public display of linguistic difference is alternately celebrated or stigmatized depending on the speaker’s social position. “Language use and race come to be constructed and interpreted in relation to one another” (p. 67). Even when superior language skills are acquired, people are still seen (heard) through a racialized lens that views them as inferior (Flores & Rosa, 2015). A clear example of this was shared on social media recently when a Latina scholar was questioned on her use of the word ‘hence’; her professor assumed she had plagiarized (Martínez, 2016). Children are racialized through language almost from the moment they begin to talk. Language, power and race affect their movements and self-identity in a myriad of ways. We have a responsibility to analyze practice and theory related to early childhood using intersectionality and raciolinguistics in order to best help our children grow up healthy in body and soul.

Intersectionality and critical race theory scholars most often take adults and youth as the starting point of their work. Growing numbers of early childhood practitioners and researchers are using frames such as CRT and intersectionality in their work with young children (Vasquez, 2014)(Souto-Manning, 2013)(Kuby, 2013). It is no accident that the same teacher scholars use critical literacy as a frame through which to hone their work. Language and literacy practices are central to most school settings, and we need to be able to identify what teaching practices help or hinder our students, from as early an age as we can. We need to be aware of how language and race intersect in powerful and potentially destructive ways. The language a child brings to school is inherently tied to family and home, and as teachers we must respect and revere this knowledge, or risk irrevocably breaking their spirit.

CRT in education promotes the use of counter storytelling and testimonio (Solórzano & Yosso, 2002) to center voices often unheard and to challenge hegemonic practice. In the early childhood classroom children are filled with ontological questions, their own version of counternarratives and testimonio. They busily make hypotheses about who they are, how they are, why they are etc. These explorations manifest in literacy events such as drawing, writing, reading, painting, telling a story, sharing ideas aloud, collaborating in the block area as they build a city, and the list goes on. Children learn first through the body, and then in some form of what we recognize as words. Very young children are able to respond to verbal commands before they can say them aloud. They process the information and act on it physically, without saying a word in response. A conceptual understanding of the world precedes speech, writing and reading.

Cruz (2001) writes from a distinct perspective, but her words regarding an epistemology of the brown body are valid in an analysis of early childhood education and children of color. “Situating knowledge in the brown body begins the validation of the narratives of survival, transformation, and emancipation of our respective communities, reclaiming histories and identities. And in these ways, we embody our theory”(p. 668). Those of us working in early childhood, and in elementary education, must acknowledge the work that has come before, within families, within communities and within the child themself. We must recognize that knowledge is not only passed down through books and words, but it is also transmitted through bodies, communal relations, and other forms of non-verbal communication.

The moment children enter formal schooling, the pressure is on for them to read and write, and often before they reach first grade. Any knowledge gained through the body and through non-verbal communication is thrown to the side, as are literacy and language skills the children have acquired in their early years. This pressure does not produce diamonds, it produces ulcers and skin rashes. This practice is developmentally inappropriate for all children, but children of color suffer worse.

Raciolinguistic ideologies[1] (Flores & Rosa, 2015) position non-native (and non-standard) speakers of English as deficit thinkers even if they possess superior English language skills. Flores and Rosa assert that it is not a question of lack of proficiency in standard English that holds language-minoritized users back; rather racial positioning is at fault. An example given to illustrate this point is a teacher who hears her young African American students making ‘errors’ in standard English when they say ‘he was/she was’, as the teacher was confusing this usage with the Ebonics’ usage ‘they was’. Power differentials that are already vast when adults teach young children become even greater when the child’s language is not respected and revered.

Intersectionality is inextricably linked to an analysis of power and it helps ‘reveal how power works in diffuse and differentiated ways through the creation and deployment of overlapping identity categories’ (Cho et al., 2013). In reference to U.S. Latinas/os, Rosa (2016) writes that stigmatization occurs through the policing of their English-language use. “Signs of accents and Spanish-language use are regarded as reflections of abject foreignness, regardless of the long history of Spanish-language use across the Americas” (p. 67). Language use is intimately connected to national origin and is often a surrogate for anti-immigrant sentiment, even from people who would otherwise see themselves as liberal. Too many teachers attest to discomfort in the classroom if students are speaking a language they personally don’t understand. We need to question the primacy of English itself, as it is understood in the academic arena. This is a fertile area for future study.

Intersectionality has a core activist component, in that an intersectional approach aims to generate coalitions between different groups with the aim of resisting and changing the status quo (Gillborn, 2015). Intersectionality can be used to identify areas of struggle and to analyze where oppression is coming from, and how it manifests. The burgeoning field of raciolinguistics is also a call to action as affiliated writers and readers take their cue from real world practice and use this as a base from which to theorize. Both intersectionality and raciolinguistics pull from inherently dynamic systems that constantly shift. For this reason it is particularly exciting to see where research and practice will take us. The field of early childhood education is also highly mutable and open to innovative analyses. In the ECE setting CRT activism falls more on the shoulder of teachers and educators than the children themselves, however a challenge to the status quo may come from the work the children do. We must all be ready to take this call to action on.


Alim, H. S., Rickford, J. R., & Ball, A. F. (Eds.). (2016). Raciolinguistics: how language shapes our ideas about race. Oxford ; New York: Oxford University Press.

Cho, S., Crenshaw, K. W., & McCall, L. (2013). Toward a Field of Intersectionality Studies: Theory, Applications, and Praxis. Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, 38(4), 785–810.

Crenshaw, K. (2015, September 24). Why intersectionality can’t wait. Washington Post. Washington, D.C. Retrieved from

Cruz, C. (2001). Toward an epistemology of a brown body. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 14(5), 657–669.

Delgado, R., & Stefancic, J. (2013). Discerning Critical Moments. In M. Lynn & A. D. Dixson (Eds.), Handbook of Critical Race Theory in Education. New York, N.Y.: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group.

Flores, N., & Rosa, J. (2015). Undoing Appropriateness: Raciolinguistic Ideologies and Language Diversity in Education. Harvard Educational Review, 85(2).

Gillborn, D. (2015). Intersectionality, Critical Race Theory, and the Primacy of Racism: Race, Class, Gender, and Disability in Education. Qualitative Inquiry, 21(3), 277–287.

Hill Collins, P. (2000). Black feminist thought: knowledge, consciousness, and the politics of empowerment. New York: Routledge. Retrieved from

Kuby, C. R. (2013). Critical literacy in the early childhood classroom: unpacking histories, unlearning privilege. New York: Teachers College Press.

Ladson-Billings, G. (2013). Ch. 3 “Critical Race Theory-What It Is Not!” In M. Lynn & A. D. Dixson (Eds.), Handbook of Critical Race Theory in Education. New York, N.Y.: Routledge.

Martínez, T. (2016, October 27). Academia, Love Me Back [WordPress].

McCall, L. (2005). The Complexity of Intersectionality. Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, 30(3), 1771–1800.

Rosa, J. (2016). From Mock Spanish to Inverted Spanglish. In H. S. Alim, J. R. Rickford, & A. F. Ball (Eds.), Raciolinguistics. New York, N.Y.: Oxford University Press.

Solórzano, D. G., & Yosso, T. J. (2002). Critical Race Methodology: Counter-Storytelling as an Analytical Framework for Education Research. Qualitative Inquiry, 8(1), 23–44.

Souto-Manning, M. (2013). Multicultural teaching in the early childhood classroom: approaches, strategies, and tools, preschool-2nd grade. New York: Teachers College Press.

Vasquez, V. M. (2014). Negotiating critical literacies with young children: 10th anniversary edition (Second edition). New York: Routledge.

[1] The term “raciolinguistic ideologies” was first used, to the best of our knowledge, by Nelson Flores and Jonathan Rosa (Alim, 2016).


Repost from Seattle Education: Alfie Kohn on Universal ‘high-quality’ Pre-K

“The top-down, test-driven regimen of Bush’s “No Child Left Behind” and Obama’s “Race to the Top” initiatives in K-12 education is now in the process of being nationalized with those Common Core standards championed by the Times — an enterprise largely funded, and relentlessly promoted, by corporate groups.[3] That same version of school reform, driven by an emphasis on global competitiveness and a determination to teach future workers as much as possible as soon as possible, would now be expanded to children who are barely out of diapers.”

Origen: Alfie Kohn on Universal ‘high-quality’ Pre-K

Time for ‘no excuses’ charter school violence to end

Galtung (1969) defines violence in part as that which increases the distance between the potential and the actual. ‘No excuses’ charter schools treat children as behavioural pawns and do nothing to make the world a more humane place. Eva Moskowitz, CEO of Success Academy Charter Schools, pulls in a salary of over half a million dollars a year to run Success Academies all over New York. Her salary comes from a mix of private and public funds but there is no public accountability. A couple of days ago PBS Newshour ran a section on kindergarten suspensions, ostensibly at Success Academy schools throughout New York. A zero tolerance policy sees five-year-old children automatically suspended for swearing, and Moskowitz does not see this as problematic. Suspensions may also come from calling out the right answer twice without being called on and getting out of your seat without permission. My last couple of blog posts discussed ‘zero tolerance’ policies at ‘no excuses’ charter schools. The first time I read about discipline measures put on children in these schools I was physically nauseous. This Newshour segment makes me angry more than anything else. Test scores are all that SAs are about, and clean clothes are on hand for when children pee in their pants during test prep. Suspending very young children for trivial matters goes against anything any sane person would want for their children, and others’. All a five-year-old child learns from being suspended for getting out of his or her chair is fear of authority. Fear is no way to build a classroom climate that respects all in the room. ‘No excuses’ charter schools make it an offence to talk unless called upon. This is potentially the most egregious element of a ‘no excuses’ policy, but it’s up against stiff competition. We all learn best in a social environment. We are social beings and need to talk about our world, about our opinions, about trivial matters, and more. It angers me that I even need to spell that out. Fear breeds resentment, and fear of suspension for simply being a child, and being a human being, is an awful lesson to teach our children. Moskowitz says that suspending children early means less suspensions in later years. If Success Academies really were about the children, their suspension rate would not be three to four times higher than in public schools. It is incomprehensible that Eva Moskowitz sees a ‘zero tolerance’ approach as fair and equitable. It goes against all we know about child development. I worry that these five-year-old children will either turn into automatons by following rules that build neither empathy nor compassion; or become so resentful of a system that is constantly pulling them down, that violence will ensue. Violence is already being carried out against all children in ‘no excuses’ charter schools. It is time for the violence against young children to end.

Galtung, J. (1969). Violence, Peace, and Peace Research. Journal of Peace Research, 6(3), 167–191.

The presumption of innocence pt 2

Lawsuits have been filed with the Office of Civil Rights[1] regarding racial disparities in school suspensions but the tricky part is explicitly identifying racial abuse. It is no secret that implicit bias haunts many classrooms. As already mentioned, children of color are singled out for discriminatory punishment, yet a charge of violating that child’s rights is not always easy to prove. In 2014 the ex-Superintendent of Schools in Minneapolis placed a moratorium on suspensions of children in Pre-K, K and First grade when it was found that there was a dramatic increase in suspensions for this age group. Ex-Superintendent Bernadeia Johnson also sought to implement an initiative that would have seen potential suspensions of African American, Hispanic, and Native American children for non-violent offences brought before her office for review. This came after data showed that black students in Minneapolis Public Schools were sent home at a rate ten times that of white students. Johnson commented that far too often school officials are suspending students of color for a behavior that doesn’t lead to suspensions for white students. She states that the inequities exist not in student behavior, but in adult response. Michelle Alexander (2012) states that the genius of the current caste system is that it appears to be voluntary. Personal choices are to blame for personal downfall, but “never mind that white children on the other side of town who made precisely the same choices-often for less compelling reasons-are in fact going to college”. Less than two months after defending her decision in the Washington Post, Johnson abruptly resigned from her role as MPS Superintendent, a job she held for over four years. Despite what appears to be overwhelming evidence of racial bias, and despite the OCR examining disproportionate discipline policies in the MPS, people opposed to this initiative claimed that the only way to reduce racial disparities would be if school officials were more lenient towards students of color and tougher on white students. They were able to sidestep the part where white students already stay in school for offences that would see students of color sent home. Opponents also said that this policy would be unfair to whites, sidestepping the fact that systemic racism leads to incredibly unfair policies for children of color. The needs of white people take precedence over the needs of those less advantaged, and whiteness is seen as the ‘normal and neutral measure by which all other groups are defined and compared’ (Horsford & Grosland, 2013). Bernadeia Johnson sought dialogue regarding disparate disciplinary measures, not accusations of guilt. Without dialogue there can be no understanding of individual student need: without dialogue too many children are viewed simply through an essentialist lens. Critical race theory decries essentialism and the belief that all people of a particular group think and act in the same way (Ladson-Billings, 2013). Johnson sought to upend education policy that simply maintained the (racist) status quo. For this she herself was unfairly disciplined, with blame for her departure apportioned to her inability to raise test scores, rather than opposition to a push for racial equity in Minneapolis Public Schools.

Policy shortfall in regards to addressing racial inequities in schools is sorely depicted in the examples discussed here. It is disturbing that attempts to curb suspensions of our youngest children are met with resistance, and disturbing that attempts to balance the playing field when it comes to suspensions by race are also met by resistance. To call opponents of these policies racist would most likely offend their sensibilities. In a ‘post-racial’, ‘colorblind’ era the worst thing anyone can be called is racist, yet racist abuses continue. If the reasons for disparate exclusions from school (inclusions in prison) “can be blamed on their culture, poor work ethic, or even their families, then society is absolved of responsibility to do anything about their condition”(Alexander, 2012). It doesn’t seem to matter that the school-to-prison pipeline is explicitly addressed (Broome in Louisiana); nor that it’s pointed out that children of color are punished for behavior that white children are not punished for (Johnson in Minneapolis). Schools and districts are not held accountable for exclusionary policies that target children of color. In 2014 California became the first state in the nation to ban the use of suspensions and expulsions for “willful defiance” for children in K-third grade. Prior to the signing of this bill, 10,000 children in these grade levels alone were issued with suspensions for this particularly loose charge. It was hoped the bill would reach into the higher grades but Jerry Brown stated that he could not support “limiting the authority of local school leaders”. Just as Loretta Lynch says the US government should not require police to report fatal shootings of civilians, citing federal overreach, the needs of local school (police) officials to exclude and punish takes precedence over accountability measures that may engender racial justice.

The school-to-prison pipeline is real, and with suspensions and expulsions of our youngest children on the rise we have a moral and ethical imperative to stop this in its tracks. The 6th annual National Week of Action Against School Pushout is taking place right now-October 3 to 11, and in the Bay Area an “Education not Incarceration” convening happened for the first time on Monday the 5th of October. Mobilizing of this kind “highlights the need for regional and multi-issue approach to ending the school-to-prison pipeline”. We have strength in numbers, and we have strength in recognizing the need for the rehumanization of education through decolonizing pedagogy that sees all children presumed innocent, and that sees all children in the brightest light possible.

[1] More than 580 complaints from parents, students or other individuals were received in fiscal year 2013-2014. These complaints regarded possible civil rights violations involving school discipline systems.

Coleman Advocates:

Dignity in Schools:


Alexander, M. (2012). The new Jim Crow: mass incarceration in the age of colorblindness. New York, N.Y.; Jackson, Tenn.: New Press ; Distributed by Perseus Distribution.

Horsford, S. D., & Grosland, T. J. (2013). Badges of Inferiority: The Racialization of Achievement in U.S. Education. In M. Lynn & A. D. Dixson (Eds.), Handbook of Critical Race Theory in Education. Routledge.

Ladson-Billings, G. (2013). Critical Race Theory-What It Is Not! In M. Lynn & A. D. Dixson (Eds.), Handbook of Critical Race Theory in Education. New York, N.Y.: Routledge.

The presumption of innocence pt 1

“The presumption of innocence is the only civilized presumption”(Gillen, 2014). It is this presumption that is expected to follow a person into the courtroom, and it is for this reason we have courts of law and juries of our peers. Children of color are too often tagged with a brush labeling them as deviant and as troublemakers, before they even walk into the classroom, before the teacher has even set eyes on them. Kindergarten suspensions and expulsions are on the rise in many parts of the US with children of color being at least three times more likely to be suspended for what could often be deemed trivial matters. Louisiana saw 7,400 children in K-3 suspended in 2013-2014 for loose charges like “willful disobedience”, or as Andre Perry says, “being a kid”. A recent bill that would have seen out of school suspensions banned for Louisiana’s youngest children was met with resistance from teachers’ unions and other groups allied with K-12 education. The bill would have seen loose (and subjective) charges such as “willful disobedience” and “intentional disrespect towards teachers and principals” met with loss of privileges, referral to a counselor or social worker, or other in-school interventions. The bill’s sponsor, Sharon Broome, stated she wanted to stop the school-to-prison pipeline; opponents of the bill chose to see it as potential handcuffing, and loss of authority over their right to suspend. The argument put forward by the ‘pro-suspending of young children for non-violent offences camp’ is that some children need to be removed from the classroom so they do not ‘disturb other children’s learning’. It can be easily be argued that exclusionary discipline practices have a stronger impact on the learning of all children in the class than removing the child presenting with disruptive behaviour. Perry asks, “When kindergartens expel black kids what so they learn next?” What all children learn from discriminatory and exclusionary discipline measures is that a child of color will be unfairly treated by the system, no matter how young they are. They will be presumed guilty before even taking a breath in the classroom.

Last year The Washington Post reported that suspensions and expulsions are down in DC charter schools. Suspensions in early childhood, however, rose from 2.4% to 2.9%. A mealy mouthed response from the Office of the State Superintendent of Education recommended ending suspensions of pre-kindergarteners as “young children might not understand why they are being punished and might be acting out in ways within developmental norms”(emphasis added). It is difficult to digest this comment, and difficult to understand why more teeth are not in the game. Exclusionary punishment is meted out without any accountability, or any referral to experts in the field. It can take as little as one suspension to suck a child into the prison pipeline, but this doesn’t deter those so hard of heart they favor punishing kids who barely reach their waist. Most urban charter schools boast of ‘no excuses’ policy so that children can ‘rise above the odds’. The DC suspensions figures didn’t disaggregate for race but a quick glance at around ten DC charter school profiles show that their population is made up almost 100% of children of color, mostly African American. It appears that only black and brown kids need the ‘tough love’ approach. The myth of black inferiority is reproduced in these schools and the perpetuation of this myth is most dangerous and damaging (Horsford & Grosland, 2013). Black and brown bodies are viewed as something to control, rather than being viewed in their full humanity. The ‘no excuses’ brand is modeled on the ‘broken window’ theory of policing, a theory that is blatantly ineffective and that unfairly targets low-income communities of color. What’s more, ‘no excuses’ is an extreme extension of this theory (Goodman, 2013) as many of the behaviors the schools demand are not wrongs in themselves. It is not wrong to talk to a friend, it isn’t wrong to slouch, and it isn’t wrong to gaze into space. Yet charter schools such as KIPP punish children for the most minor of ‘infractions’ such as not following the teacher with his or her eyes. Falling asleep in class garners 10 demerit points, which triggers a detention, missing a detention may lead to a suspension. There is no suggestion of talking to the child to find out why they are so tired in school. ‘No excuses’ charter schools take an ahistorical view of the children in their care. A director of a DC charter school said suspension rates are higher at her school because of the population the school attracts-“kids who have struggled with incarceration, chronic truancy and other problems”. There is no deferral to understanding the child’s home life and to providing support that respects them as a human being. This would require a humanizing pedagogy rather than the colonizing model these schools use. When viewed through a historical lens there is clearly a paternalistic model in play, one that harkens back to the days of slavery. There is no true desire to improve the lives of children of color living in poverty, as profits come from keeping them down. From the youngest grades on children must comply at all times to directives from above (that make little sense for the most part). They have no control over the curriculum and are unable to properly interrogate subject matter. Individual effort is key, no collaborative learning, and often no speaking for long periods of time. If children fail to (respect authority) follow directives, public shaming may follow, such as wearing a school t-shirt inside out to show he or she needs to work on their behavior (if they want to get ahead). These children are nothing more than data points. A non-critical and ahistorical interpretation of educational statistics only serves to oppress students of color further (Horsford & Grosland, 2013). Even if charter schools could prove their methods help children do better on standardized tests, the people running these charter schools do not respect the humanity of each and every one of their students. The one (or two, or three) time/s a five year old is suspended for daydreaming may be all it takes to one day see him or her referred to by number and not by name.


Gillen, J. (2014). Educating for insurgency: the roles of young people in school’s of poverty. Oakland, CA: AK Press.

Goodman, J. F. (2013). Charter Management Organizations and the Regulated Environment: Is It Worth the Price? Educational Researcher, 42(2), 89–96.

Horsford, S. D., & Grosland, T. J. (2013). Badges of Inferiority: The Racialization of Achievement in U.S. Education. In M. Lynn & A. D. Dixson (Eds.), Handbook of Critical Race Theory in Education. Routledge.

Movie critique: Tall as the Baobab Tree+links to ECE (from September 2014)

Tall as the Baobab Tree (2012)

Tall as the Baobab Tree opens with two Senegalese sisters getting ready to hear the results of an exam the older sister has taken. Coumba is successful in passing the exam and on hearing the results they girls make their way back to their village. The same day, the sisters’ older brother, Sileye, falls out of a tree as he is cutting down shoots for his cattle. Their father decides that Coumba needs to look after the cattle in the meantime and Debo, the younger sister, is to be married off to help pay for Sileye’s medical bills. Coumba agrees to look after the cattle but she recruits a friend to look after the cattle instead and she then goes to town and works as a maid at a hotel. She hopes she will earn enough to pay the medical bills so Debo won’t be forced into marriage.

Jeremy Teicher, the film’s director, initially went to Senegal to film a documentary with a group of first generation students. He formed friendships with the participants and after the documentary was made he stayed in touch. On hearing stories about the arranged marriages, and living between the world of school and tradition, Teicher worked with students to develop a fictional script addressing these issues. Teicher states that through a narrative story, they felt they could most effectively capture the emotions of the old and new worlds colliding. It is the first film to be shot in the Pulaar language. Teicher said the actors really wanted to bring their personal experiences into their performances and this is their first language. He stated he wanted the story to be told with all the quiet nuances and double meanings contained in the Pulaar language. While it’s a fictional story the film is based on truth and there are many parallels between the actors in the movie and their status in real life. The sisters in the film are true sisters; the mother was married as a child; and the actor who played the brother also missed out on schooling because of his age.

In Senegal as a whole an estimated 33% of girls are married off before their 18th birthday. Coumba and Debo’s father choses to marry off Debo, as Coumba is further ahead in her studies. Sileye is in his early twenties and would have gone to school if there’d been one in the village at an earlier date. The father doesn’t appear resistant to his daughters receiving an education, but neither does he look at possibilities that could have kept Debo in school. It’s unclear what the father does materially for the family, besides organizing suitors, but he is not painted in a negative light. The pacing of the film is very different to many Western films, and many of the scenes were improvised. These factors led me to have faith in the conversations and the people represented. The father does say he is always looking out for what’s best for Debo, and it’s possible he sees education as a force that would take her away from the village too. Seen through this lens it is slightly easier to empathize with him, but young girls should never be married against their will. The man who plays the teacher is the founder and principal of the Sinthiou Mbadane primary school, and the man who plays the elder is a village elder who is supportive of the primary school. Their responses to Debo being forced into marriage, in the film, are diametrically opposed. The schoolteacher’s advice would see Coumba and Debo isolated from their family and village, and the elder’s ‘advice’ to Debo’s father at the end means that Debo will not be able to continue her education. There must be some common ground in real life though, as the primary school has flourished in the village. I would love to know more about this process.

The theme of old and new worlds colliding is powerfully shown. The girls live in a village without running water or electricity. Clothes are washed by hand and grain is ground using a large mortar. Coumba’s friend Amady says to Sileye that he wants to come back to the village when he’s finished his studies and he’ll build a house for his parents with running water and electricity. Sileye responds, “You won’t buy them cows?” Sileye also says that students don’t like fieldwork because they’re used to easy jobs. As they are wringing out clothes together, Debo’s mother asks her why she doesn’t take that as seriously as school, “Don’t you know this is a job too?” These statements show the divide felt by those ‘left behind’ in the village and the fears that education would take the children away. To do the jobs required in the village there is no need for formal education, simply (or not so simply) the ability to work hard to get by. When Coumba goes to the village schoolteacher to tell him about Debo, he responds by saying she should go to the police. Coumba says, “Everyone says school is the enemy. If I take my parents to the police they’ll say it’s true”. The schoolteacher doesn’t seem to take into account what getting the police involved would do for Coumba. She would lose her family and would probably never be allowed back in the village again. It shouldn’t have to be a choice between education and family.

The actual primary school in Sinthiou Mbadane has grown from one classroom and fifteen students in 2000 to six classrooms and 200 students at the time of filming. The community appears to have been mostly supportive of the school so there must be outreach happening. The schoolteacher speaks in French to Coumba, and it’s likely that French is the sole language of instruction. From looking up the schoolteacher’s last name he possibly is of Serer origin and speaks a Serer language. Serer languages and Pulaar are both Niger-Congo languages but the Niger-Congo language family is vast. It wasn’t easy to find up to date information on the Senegalese educational system but from what I’ve read it runs on a French model. On paper schooling is compulsory until children are sixteen but outside of the large towns I don’t think it’s enforced. I agree that French should be taught but in my heart I would also love to see literacy instruction in the language of the village. Pulaar exists in written form, using either a Latin or Arabic script. The organization I’ve been working with in South Africa was given class sets of books in Xhosa (Latin script)[1]. This year one of the students was visibly excited that the books were in Xhosa. Her expression has stayed with me.

I am sure that if I were to visit the school in Sinthiou Mbadane I would find a lot to criticize. I think I would see a lot of direct instruction and not much exploratory play. I would probably see some rote learning and not enough emphasis on personal expression. To be fair though, I need to look at what is happening and what the children are learning, in the context of a village schoolhouse. I am drawn to early childhood education in large part because of the creative role a teacher, and students, can play. In a place like Sinthiou Mbadane I feel that the community would expect a school to be more formal than I personally would like. The expectation is maybe that there is time for exploration after school hours. In the movie Coumba’s friend Amady is talking to some friends of his who didn’t go to school, and won’t have the chance. They ask him if he still climbs baobabs, and one of them says that if you don’t know how to climb a baobab it’s like you don’t know who you are anymore. I feel it’s important to note the distinction between schooling and education. As Madjidi and Restoule write:

In an Indigenous worldview, education is based upon the requirements of everyday life. In this way, education is “an experience in context, a subjective experience that,  for the knower, becomes knowledge in itself. The experience is knowledge.”[…] The            idea that learning should take place only within the four walls of a school, through           the prescription of a fixed written curriculum, is diametrically opposed to the idea    that learning is dynamic, experiential, and grounded in a sense of place.

While the authors mentioned above comment on integrating indigenous knowledge within the curriculum of the school, this is less likely to happen in schools in sub-Saharan Africa[2]. I can imagine that the majority of schooling in sub-Saharan Africa is based on a colonial/Western model of education. While I would like to see this Western model dissipate, we need to take baby steps. It appears to me that a first step is getting rural communities comfortable with formal educational settings. Location of these schools is critical as the closer they are to the communities, the more likely they are able to connect with the families of their students. The town where Coumba goes to school appears easy to get to as Coumba goes there every day to work. To access higher education it is likely she would need to move to Dakar, or another city, though. There is going to be disruption of traditional life but hopefully division will be avoided. One of the scenes in the movie shows the family sitting under a tree eating. There is tenderness in spades and feelings of goodwill. Acceptance of formal education will probably be more successful in places where families feel their values are upheld. As a social justice educator, I feel a compulsion to encourage children to question the world and their place in it. I don’t think this would be successful in a place like Sinthiou Mbadane, at least not yet.

Watching this movie and reflecting on it has helped me articulate my thoughts on education in sub-Saharan Africa. I have certainly not come to any conclusions but I have put myself more strongly in the schooling camp than not. There is a need to respect traditions and customs but respect doesn’t mean acceptance, especially where physical and emotional damage is done. Teaching people to read and write is key. It opens doors that may previously have been shut. Many African languages exist in written form, mostly in Latin and/or Arabic script. Every African person I’ve met, or read about, speaks at least two languages and often they speak three or more. This isn’t to imply fluency in all these languages but it does infer the ability to communicate with a wide variety of people. Madjidi and Restoule caution against a focus on language that demonstrates persisting interest in the outer, and some would say ‘safer’ forms of Indigenous culture. This resonates with me and I will take this into account moving forward. I would like to think my interest in languages and literacy development doesn’t remain at a superficial level, but I need to look closely at what I actually do.

This summer I was fortunate to be able to return to Port Elizabeth, South Africa for the third time. This year I worked with a woman who lives in Joe Slovo township and we ran classes for the four to ten years olds during the holiday break (two weeks). We worked with the children for four hours and incorporated reading and writing instruction along with gross and fine motor activities. The woman I worked with has worked in schools in the area and she is very critical of the school system in general. Zukiswa is a dynamic and creative person, but this threatens teachers who have been doing the same thing for possibly decades, and who are incapable of change. There is not enough space here to discuss the dire state of schooling in South Africa, but to tie this in with the film, I question how I approach literacy instruction with this group of children. Reading time tended to be time to choose freely among the books we had on hand. The younger children didn’t speak much English so I wasn’t able to check their understanding of text and pictures, but Zukiswa could do that. Writing instruction came in the form of an About Me book. I would model the sentences needed using a book I’d made (from paper) and would write these sentences on the board. If the children wanted to write in Xhosa, that was encouraged. I only had two weeks there this year but Zukiswa is there year round. The tensions that arise for me come from a potential need for direct instruction, despite my belief in constructivist education. In “Other People’s Children”, Lisa Delpit affirms

Acquiring the ability to function in a dominant discourse need not mean that one     must reject one’s home identity and values, for discourses are not static, but are   shaped, however reluctantly, by those who participate within them and by the form             of their participation.

The internal debate that takes place in my heart and intellect swings backwards and forwards and this gives it momentum, but I doubt it will ever be resolved, and be still. Education is never static, it reflects a dynamic world, and reflects dynamic relationships. What we must never lose sight of are the needs of our students. We must be open to distinct forms of schooling and we must tread carefully if we wish to effect change. To quote Freire, we must help students to ‘read the word and the world’.


Delpit, L. D. (2006). Other people’s children: cultural conflict in the classroom. New York: New    Press : Distributed by W.W. Norton.

Madjidi, K. & Restoule, J-P. (2008). Ch. 4 “Comparative Indigenous Ways of Knowing” In                         K. Mundy, K. Bickmore, R. Hayhoe, M. Madden & K. Madjidi (Eds.), Comparative             and International Education: Issues for Teachers. New York: Teachers College Press

[1] The books were not originally written in Xhosa but they work well as they are culturally inoffensive. I think the books are translated into all the South African languages (eleven official ones).

[2] There’s always a risk of generalization but there are certain similarities that exist across sub-Saharan borders.

“The deliberately silenced or the preferably unheard”

May 2015

“We know of course that there’s really no such thing as the ‘voiceless’. There are only the deliberately silenced or the preferably unheard.”

-Arundhati Roy, Sydney Peace Prize 2004[1]

Freddie Gray’s death at the hands of the Baltimore police was caused by gross acts of violence, while more pernicious forms of violence led to his illegal arrest. Johann Galtung (1969), a peace education scholar, describes violence as that which increases the distance between the potential and the actual. It is clear that in too many urban areas in the United States violence disrupts the lives of even the most peaceful of people, in untold ways. Giroux (2004) notes that the dominant public pedagogy of neoliberalism negates basic conditions for critical agency. “Public pedagogy in this sense refers to a powerful ensemble of ideological and institutional forces whose aim is to produce competitive, self- interested individuals vying for their own material and ideological gain.” Neoliberal policies are by nature violent, as profit is made off the hands of those less fortunate, and less likely to have their voices heard. Giroux also notes that the relationship between culture and power constitutes a new site of both politics and pedagogy, leading to resistance movements and opposition to the dehumanization of the 99%. This needs to begin in the early childhood arena. Early childhood experiences play a major role in a child’s life and early childhood educators need be intentional about lessons being taught, both explicitly and implicitly, in order to generate a more peaceful and productive world.

In “A Letter from a Birmingham Jail”, Martin Luther King Jr. excoriates the white moderate who is “’more devoted to ‘order’ than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice.” The Baltimore Uprising stems from issues regarding disinvestment in urban areas, leaving people with very few options in regards to education, nutrition and physical and mental health. Violence is meted out to this community, and too many others, in gross acts of abuse, and in more insidious forms. Robbing inner cities of essential resources, such as recreation centers, libraries, health clinics, access to healthy and inexpensive food, is a violent act, yet those responsible can still sit back and gloat when these communities explode. These faceless destroyers will never be held accountable for their crimes, and it is unclear whether they genuinely feel a loss of humanity, thoughts of profit most likely fill those holes. Violence is carried out every day against children in schools robbed of resources, not simply in obvious acts of deprivation, such as excessive punishment, but in terms of not providing a school environment that would really see these children thrive. Their promise and potential may rest untapped, to the detriment of society as a whole.

In the place of the ‘achievement gap’, Gloria Ladson-Billings (2006) contends there is an ‘educational debt’ we owe our students, and it’s not a debt that will be paid off anytime soon. It could be argued that this debt is only growing, along with the number of children living in poverty. Ladson-Billings mentions four components that make up this educational debt: historical, economic, sociopolitical and moral. The moral debt equates to the disparity between what we know is right and what we actually do. Pauline Lipman (2011) affirms that we need to harness the collective wisdom and political will toward fashioning a sustainable, democratic, socially just alternative. Kumashiro (2012) notes that movement building requires forming coalitions with various constituents in ways that build on their strengths (emphasis added). Involving all stakeholders in discussions relating to the educational futures of a community is vital in affirming that education and policy making should be done with those affected, rather than to those affected. Rick Ayers ( 2009) reminds us that a socially just curriculum should not take on a dogmatic approach. All students must be respected as thinking beings. Each person is ‘an entire universe’. The centrality of the curriculum should be the point of view of the marginalized. Socially just classrooms always teem with possibilities; always seek out relevance, deeper meaning and connections.

Ethnic Studies has emerged as a major theme in my work along with home/school/community connections in the early childhood setting. I am particularly interested in critical literacy, and I am a strong proponent of the maintenance and promotion of home languages, in a broad sense: language and discourse not needing to be defined by an official title. Much has been written about Ethnic Studies in high school and into middle school but there is less research concerning socially just practices in elementary school and younger. This is not to say the work isn’t happening but it doesn’t take up the place it should in academic journals and elsewhere. To be clear, it’s possible not all Ethnic Studies classes promote social justice and equity, just as a ‘multicultural curriculum’ does not always equate with anti-bias teaching, but it’s a start. In Rethinking Early Childhood Education, Ann Pelo (2008) sets out the argument for socially just practices in early childhood settings. She states that ECE is a political act that necessarily involves values and visions. She goes on to point out that early childhood is the time in our lives when we develop core dispositions. We must attempt to nurture these dispositions towards empathy, ecological consciousness, engaged inquiry and collaboration. Pelo also points out that social justice teaching grows from children’s urgent concerns. Observing and listening in to conversations happening at school, and paying attention to what other avenues of self-expression are in play, helps us target curricula to suit individual and group needs.

“Children are fundamentally concerned with making sense of their social and            cultural world; teachers and caregivers can join them in this pursuit, guiding         them towards understandings rooted in accurate and empathetic         understandings-or we can leave them to figure out their questions on their own,    coming to conclusions based on misinformation and cultural bias.” (Pelo, p.xii)

It’s easy to forget how disorienting those first years can be and how dizzying it is to grow from a tiny baby to a little person who can do a lot on their own, but not everything. In this process, as has been discussed in the previous paper, it is essential families and the community are brought to the table. The more children see home and school intertwining the more successful they are likely to be at school, not just academically but socially and emotionally as well. It is also essential that teachers view education through a wide lens, and not as that confined to four walls.

“In an Indigenous worldview, education is based upon the requirements of everyday life. In this way, education is “an experience in context, a subjective experience that, for the knower, becomes knowledge in itself. The experience is knowledge.”[…] The idea that learning should take place only within the four walls of a school, through the prescription of a fixed written curriculum, is diametrically opposed to the idea that learning is dynamic, experiential, and grounded in a sense of place.” (Madjidi & Restoule, 2008)

Mariana Souto-Manning (2013) highlights the work of multicultural and anti-bias educators in early childhood classrooms. She emphasizes that to teach multiculturally is create spaces of possibility and to position power at the center of our teaching. “It is not possible to engage with race and gender or to question structures of privilege unless we consider power relations.” One of the teachers Souto-Manning writes about is particularly successful with linking home and school literacies. Ms. Baines is a first grade teacher in South Carolina. She works from what the children are already familiar with, what the children are already good at and who, what and where is important in their life. Environmental print from places in their neighborhood shows them they can already read certain items; making up new words to favorite pop songs builds on their musical interests and literacy skills, and learning about their communities through student generated interviews, class books, and community artifact shares (among many other amazing activities) shows them home and school can be one. Ms. Baines also makes home visits, thus strengthening the already powerful ties between home and school. Related to these visits, Souto-Manning reminds us that school may not always have been a welcoming place to parents and family members of traditionally minoritized communities. It is our place to show that we are different and to articulate how, and why. It is essential to show we value their practice and that we are committed to making the learning experience better for them and for their child. Honor and respect should be the brook babbling underneath us.

Henri Giroux (2004) states that proliferating sites of pedagogy bring into being new forms of resistance, raise new questions, and necessitate alternative visions regarding autonomy and the possibility of democracy itself. Bickmore (2008) asserts that just as people learn about conflict by witnessing and participating in it, people can learn about constructive peacemaking and peacebuilding by practicing peace in informal community activities. Peace, along with honor and respect, should tie a classroom together. It is also important to remember that Paolo Freire refused to accept fatalism, until the end. “At every turn, he emphatically rejected the idea that nothing could be done about the educational consequences of economic inequalities and social justice.”(Darder, 2009) I am reminded of Freire’s words as I despair over the fact that Giroux’s words regarding neoliberalism are no less true today than they were ten years ago, in fact the neoliberal attack on public education brought about by the Obama administration under the stewardship of Arne Duncan, is an attack like no other seen before or since. We need all the grassroots organizing and creative vision available to carve a kinder world out for the children yet to join the system, and for those who are already there.


Ayers, R. (2009). Classrooms, Pedagogy and Practicing Justice. In W. Ayers, T. Quinn, & D. Stovall (Eds.), Handbook of Social Justice in Education. New York, N.Y: Routledge.

Bickmore, K. (2008). Chapter Ten: Education for Conflict Resolution and Peacebuilding in Plural Societies: Approaches from Around the World. In K. E. Mundy, K. Bickmore, R. Hayhoe, M. Madden, & K. Madjidi (Eds.), Comparative and International Education: Issues for Teachers. New York, N.Y.: Teachers College Press.

Darder, A. (2009). Teaching as an Act of Love: Reflections on Paulo Freire and His Contributions to Our Lives and Our Work. In A. Darder, M. Baltodano, & R. D. Torres (Eds.), The Critical Pedagogy Reader (2nd ed.). New York, N.Y.: Routledge,Taylor & Francis ; National Council of Teachers of English.

Galtung, J. (1969). Violence, Peace, and Peace Research. Journal of Peace Research, 6(3), 167–191.

Giroux, H. (2004). Public Pedagogy and the Politics of Neo-liberalism: making the political more pedagogical. Policy Futures in Education, 2(3&4).

Kumashiro, K. K. (2012). Bad teacher!: how blaming teachers distorts the bigger picture. New York: Teachers College Press, Columbia University.

Ladson-Billings, G. (2006). From the Achievement Gap to the Education Debt: Understanding Achievement in U.S. Schools. Educational Researcher, 35(7), 3–12.

Lipman, P. (2011). The new political economy of urban education: neoliberalism, race, and the right to the city. New York: Routledge.

Madjidi, K., & Restoule, J.-P. (2008). Chapter Four: Comparative Indigenous Ways of Knowing. In K. E. Mundy, K. Bickmore, R. Hayhoe, M. Madden, & K. Madjidi (Eds.), Comparative and International Education: Issues for Teachers. New York, N.Y: Teachers College Press.

Pelo, A. (2008). Introduction: Embracing Social Justice in Early Childhood Education. In A. Pelo (Ed.), Rethinking Early Childhood Education. Milwaukee, Wisconsin: Rethinking Schools Publication.

Souto-Manning, M. (2013). Multicultural teaching in the early childhood classroom: approaches, strategies, and tools, preschool-2nd grade. New York: Teachers College Press.