Harvard Educational Review
  1. Summer 2017 Issue »

    Beyond Mediocrity

    The Dialectics of Crisis in the Continuing Miseducation of Black Youth

    BRIAN D. LOZENSKI
    In this essay, Brian D. Lozenski explores why Gloria Ladson-Billings’s 2006 pronouncement of the nation’s “education debt,” as opposed to “achievement gap,” has not gained traction in the national discourse around educational disparity. He contends that education debt is a more nuanced, historically based, and generative framing of racialized educational disparity, which has been marginalized by the narratives of crisis in education, specifically with black youth, that necessitate a frantic urgency allowing for ahistorical, quick-fix solutions to complex problems. Through a tracing of four major epochs in African American education, including the mid-nineteenthcentury era of slavery statutes, Reconstruction, post–Brown v. Board, and today’s early twenty-first-century “crisis,” of the underachievement of black youth in schools, the author considers how African American education has always been precarious and, thus, able to be labeled a “crisis.” Using a combination of synchronic (snapshot) and diachronic (longitudinal) analyses, he demonstrates how the achievement gap logic does not allow us to address historical constructions of contemporary disparity. Lozenski concludes the essay by suggesting that African American self-determination, and not the reification of the nation-state through state-centered reform efforts, should be the driving force behind educational decisions that impact black youth.

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    Brian D. Lozenski is an assistant professor of urban and multicultural education in the Educational Studies Department at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota. His research explores the intersections of critical participatory action research, Africana studies, and cultural relevance in the education of youth of African descent. Before pursuing his PhD, Lozenski taught for over a decade in Philadelphia and St. Paul. As a teacher educator and researcher, he has worked with other educators, parents, schools, and districts to develop perspectives and strategies that aspire toward social justice while illuminating the historical realities that have created current educational disparities. He holds a deep commitment to a community-engaged research framework where academic researchers follow the lead of community members and organizations to identify prevalent issues that can be addressed through an inquiry-based approach.
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    Summer 2017 Issue

    Abstracts

    Beyond Mediocrity
    The Dialectics of Crisis in the Continuing Miseducation of Black Youth
    BRIAN D. LOZENSKI
    Reclaiming Adolescence
    A Roma Youth Perspective
    JACQUELINE BHABHA, ARLAN FULLER, MARGARETA MATACHE, JELENA VRANJEŠEVIĆ, MIRIAM C. CHERNOFF, BORIS SPASIĆ, AND JELENA IVANIS
    Investigating Alignment Between Elementary Mathematics Teacher Education and Graduates’ Teaching of Mathematics for Conceptual Understanding
    AMANDA JANSEN, DAWN BERK, AND ERIN MEIKLE
    Strategic Coalitions Against Exclusion at the Intersection of Race and Disability—A Rejoinder
    KATHLEEN A. KING THORIUS AND FEDERICO R. WAITOLLER
    At the Nexus of Education and Incarceration
    Four Voices from the Field
    A SERIES OF INTERVIEWS WITH JODY BECKER, BARBARA L. CARR, GILLIAN R. KNAPP, AND LUIS GUSTAVO GIRALDO
    One of Them
    RYAN MICHAEL COULSON
    Beyond the Wall
    MICHAEL SATTERFIELD
    Editor’s Review
    LAUREN YOSHIZAWA

    Book Notes

    Liberating Minds
    Ellen Condliffe Lagemann