Harvard Educational Review
  1. Spring 2017 Issue »

    Complex Sentences

    Searching for the Purpose of Education Inside a Massachusetts State Prison

    CLINT SMITH
    While policy makers and scholars often measure the success of prison education programs by quantitative outcomes such as recidivism and post-release employment, there is a gap in the literature with regard to how these programs facilitate community building, identity development, and agency. For the 159,000 people serving life sentences in the United States, and perhaps for all of those who are incarcerated, we need a new way of conceptualizing the purpose of education in prison. In this essay, Clint Smith reflects on his experience teaching creative writing in a Massachusetts state prison and questions how we might be able to create more holistic and humane educational infrastructures in incarcerated spaces, programs that move beyond instrumentalism and vocational preparation and instead toward cognitive liberation and a reclamation of human dignity.
    Clint Smith is a doctoral candidate at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, with a concentration in Culture, Institutions, and Society. He is a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow, and his research interests center on the sociology of racism, inequality, and incarceration. He is a 2014 National Poetry Slam champion and was a speaker at the 2015 TED Conference. His first collection of poetry, Counting Descent, was published in 2016. His scholarly writing, poems, and essays have been published in The New Yorker, The Guardian, Boston Review, and American Literary Review, among other places. Before beginning his doctorate, he taught high school English in Prince George’s County, Maryland. He was born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana.

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    Spring 2017 Issue

    Abstracts

    Responding to “Cross-Pollinating Culturally Sustaining Pedagogy and Universal Design for Learning: Toward an Inclusive Pedagogy That Accounts for Dis/Ability”
    A HARVARD EDUCATIONAL REVIEW FORUM
    H. SAMY ALIM, SUSAN BAGLIERI, GLORIA LADSON-BILLINGS, DAVID H. ROSE, DJANGO PARIS, and JOSEPH MICHAEL VALENTE
    Where Are All the Black Teachers?
    Discrimination in the Teacher Labor Market
    DIANA D’AMICO, ROBERT J. PAWLEWICZ, PENELOPE M. EARLEY, and ADAM P. MCGEEHAN
    Putting Race on the Table
    How Teachers Make Sense of the Role of Race in Their Practice
    AMANDA J. TAYLOR
    A Crime for a Crime?
    The Landscape of Correctional Education in the United States
    LYNETTE N. TANNIS
    Complex Sentences
    Searching for the Purpose of Education Inside a Massachusetts State Prison
    CLINT SMITH
    Critiquing Critical Pedagogies Inside the Prison Classroom
    A Dialogue Between Student and Teacher
    ERIN L. CASTRO and MICHAEL BRAWN
    The Problem Child
    Provocations Toward Dismantling the Carceral State
    ERICA R. MEINERS
    Harvard Educational Review’s Commitment to Justice and Equity at a Time of Political and Social Change
    From the Editors

    Book Notes

    Continuity in Children’s Worlds
    Melissa M. Jozwiak, Betsy J. Cahill, and Rachel Theilheimer

    An Everyone Culture
    Robert Kegan and Lisa Lahey, with Matthew L. Miller, Andy Fleming, and Deborah Helsing