Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California


Welcome to the Berkeley Review of Education, a peer-reviewed interdisciplinary journal published online and edited by students from the Graduate School of Education at the University of California, Berkeley. The Berkeley Review of Education engages issues of educational diversity and equity within cognitive, developmental, sociohistorical, linguistic, and cultural contexts. The BRE encourages submissions on research and theory from senior and emerging scholars, practitioners, and policy-makers. To submit a paper, please click on "Submit article to this journal" in the side bar.

Volume 1 Issue 1 2010

Issue cover

Editors' Introduction

Editors’ Note

Introduction to Volume 1, Issue 1.


The Postcolonial Ghetto: Seeing Her Shape and His Hand

This article maps the ghostly outlines of urban postcolonial subjectivities by hinging together several moving parts/frontiers: connotations of postcolonial; applications and implications of ghettoed places and lives; a telling of the closure of a vibrant, innovative urban community high school; and literary depictions of the subtleties and macro-aggressions of historical and ahistorical domination. Theoretical contributions include the construct of post+colonial; elaborations on the space and place of the ghetto; a mapping of colonial-metropole-nation relations and provisions for a cartographic discourse of urban postcolonial subjectivites; and a discussion of the colonizer’s constructions of the postcolonial subject as dispossessed, murderable, and still haunting.

Teacher Education for Social Justice: What's Pupil Learning Got to Do With It?

There are many controversies related to the increasingly widespread theme of “social justice” in teacher education, including debates about whether and/or how promoting pupils’ learning is part of this theme. This article briefly discusses the concept of teacher education for social justice in terms of pupils’ learning and then considers this notion in terms of the current press to hold teacher education accountable for learning. The article then presents the results of the “Teacher Assessment/Pupil Learning” (TAPL) study, an analysis nested inside a larger qualitative study about learning to teach over time in a preparation program with a stated social justice agenda. The purpose of the TAPL analysis was to evaluate the outcomes of teacher education for social justice by assessing the intellectual quality of assessments created or used by teacher candidates during the student teaching period and also to assess the quality of their pupils’ responses to those assessments. The project used Newmann and Associates’ (1996) framework of “authentic intellectual work” and the scoring system that emerged from that framework because of their general consistency with the idea of social justice. Drawing on scored examples of teacher candidates’ assessments and pupils’ work samples, the article shows that many teacher candidates created cognitively complex and authentic learning opportunities for their pupils and that when pupils had more complex classroom assignments, they produced higher quality work. The article concludes that although it is complex, it is possible to construct teacher education assessments, such as the TAPL, that focus on pupil learning outcomes in ways that are consistent with social justice, especially preparation for a democratic society.

Race, Class, and Whiteness in Gifted and Talented Identification: A Case Study

What began fifteen years ago as a volunteer effort to promote desegregation via a gifted and talented magnet school has become a case study analyzing inequalities in the identification of young children for gifted and talented services. We use Cheryl Harris’ (1993) argument that “whiteness” is a form of property that creates and maintains inequalities through the conjoining of race and class. We show how gifted and talented status meets the criteria of white property interests and is defended by recourse to law and policy. Efforts to improve identification of students for gifted services reveal that the implicit operation of these Interests is an important reason why identification practices favoring white and middle-class children have been resistant to change. Dismantling underlying white property interests in gifted and talented identification is a necessary, though not sufficient step, toward a more just educational system.

Neighborhood Ethnic Density as an Explanation for the Academic Achievement of Ethnic Minority Youth Placed in Neighborhood Disadvantage

The underachievement of ethnic minority youth from disadvantaged neighborhoods is a pervasive educational issue this nation is facing. Based on an ecological perspective, we examined the contextual effects of neighborhood ethnic density and neighborhood disadvantage on the academic achievement of Hmong immigrant youths. Utilizing hierarchical linear modeling techniques in analyzing 3,185 Hmong and White students (for comparisons) across 79 neighborhoods, we found when we controlled for student demographics, Hmong students in the most disadvantaged neighborhoods (high-crime and high-poverty) performed better academically than their ethnically identical peers in the more safe and affluent neighborhoods. Further, with student demographics held constant, Hmong adolescents in the most disadvantaged neighborhoods academically outperformed their White counterparts with the same neighborhood conditions. These intriguing findings resulted from ethnic density in that the predictor of the Hmong population percentage in each neighborhood appeared to absorb the significant effect of neighborhood types. Hmong students would be more likely to achieve highly when they were surrounded by more Hmong residents in their neighborhoods. The logic behind ethnic density functioning as a positive factor for Hmong students within neighborhoods high in disadvantage is discussed along with the implications of this finding for policy.