Learning to Liberate: Community-Based Solutions to the Crisis in Urban Education

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Nonspecific Binding
  • Copyright: 11/16/2011
  • Publisher: Routledge

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There are few more pressing problems in education than the crisis that is affecting urban schools. Extremely high drop-out rates and rates of incarceration among poor and minoritized youth, alienation from schools and other institutions, unemployment' ;and the list could and does go on and on. All of these make it very hard to make a difference within urban schools. National policies surrounding privatization and marketization and more testing more often argue that the only solutions involve blaming teachers, placing schools in a competitive relationship with each other, turning to the private sector, and ratcheting up the pressure on teachers and students. In spite of a landscape that is both bleak and nihilistic, Learning to Liberate presents true and compelling portraits of educators who succeed without these methods. Drawing upon over three years of ethnographic research, Vajra Watson demonstrates how nontraditional educators are teaching for social change and how, in the process, they are revealing the ways disenfranchised youth can be schooled and empowered. Using portraiture, a unique methodology rooted in vivid storytelling, Watson shows the complicated process of youth engagement. Each portrait forms a chapter that provides rich descriptions of each practice and practitioner, thematic in-depth interviews, and document analysis. Watson explores and analyzes each educator'"s distinct pedagogies and tactics for working with students and then ties together the unique narratives to create a theoretically grounded framework with practical strategies for a broad audience. A poignant, insightful, and practical analysis, Learning to Liberateis a timely resource for all educators who are committed to transforming "at-risk" youth into "at-promise" individuals who put their agency and potential into action in their schools and communities.

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