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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.

SPECIAL ISSUE: The State of Public Education

Issue cover

Editors' Introduction

Editors' Introduction

Introduction to Volume 2, Issue 1.

Section 1: Central Issues in U.S. Public Education

The Politics of School Reform: A Broader and Bolder Approach for Newark

A substantial body of evidence has shown that past reforms have largely failed to improve schools in urban areas. After reviewing some of the major reforms that have been undertaken over the last 20 to 30 years the authors conclude that prior efforts failed to address the numerous ways in which poverty influences student academic outcomes and school performance (Coleman et al., 1966; Rothstein, 2004). As a contrast to the decontextualized approach to school improvement that has characterized national reforms, a new strategy to school improvement that is underway in Newark, New Jersey is presented as an alternative model. Conceived as a demonstration model for the Broader and Bolder Approach,2 the Newark strategy follows an approach that has been pursued by the Harlem Children’s Zone, the Children’s Aid Society, and a small number of similar efforts. These initiatives are based on the premise that educational reforms must be designed to counter and mitigate the effects of social and economic conditions in the local environment. The case of Newark is presented as a model for what it might take to enable a greater number of schools in distressed neighborhoods to experience success.

The Militarization and the Privatization of Public Schools

This article offers a case study of the militarization of the Chicago Public Schools (CPS). First, we portray the landscape of militarization of education through the example of Chicago Public Schools. Second, we situate the militarization of schools within the current charter school movement. Third, we explain the impact of militarization on youth and critique the view that military academies and military programs are appropriate as public education models. Fourth, with a lengthy appendix, we provide readers with tools to work against the militarization of public schools within their communities.

White Kids: Identity Construction, Critical Mass, and Symbolic Exclusion in High School Cliques and other Groups

This ethnographic study explored to what extent white students were able to critically understand the significance of their racial identity in more diverse demographic settings. It further looked at the discourse the students used to describe themselves, their cliques, and other groups with regard to race and racial identities. The participants in this study were students at two public urban high schools in the same district, one where white students have a substantial critical mass but are not the majority and one in which they comprise a small minority. Interview and observation data were analyzed through thematic coding. The emerging themes coded for included boundary work, symbolic exclusion, group rigidity and group options, critical mass, and white consciousness.

Section 2: The State of Public Education in California (Voices from the Symposium)

Hedgehogs and Foxes at the Crossroads: Leadership and Diversity at the University of California

Following Clark Kerr’s distinction between hedgehogs, or visionary leaders who know “one big thing,” and foxes, or shrewd leaders who know “many things,” this paper studies Kerr, an archetypical hedgehog, and David Gardner, a quintessential fox, as models for these two types of leaders. The paper also analyzes the hedgehog concept of systemic excellence, which was articulated during Kerr’s presidency and underpins the California Master Plan for Higher Education, and the rise of fox culture, with its focus on the pursuit of resources, which coincided with Gardner’s tenure as president. In addition, the paper examines diversity as an element that never became incorporated into the University of California’s (U.C.) hedgehog concept of systemic excellence, but rather has been dealt with in an ad-hoc, fox-like manner. The paper calls for a new hedgehog concept of systemic excellence for the University of California as the premier multicultural and international institution of higher learning in the 21st century.

From Reagan to Obama: Institutions, Relationships, and the Shrinking State

Note: The following is a transcript of a talk given by Professor Fuller on March 12, 2010 at the U.C. Berkeley Graduate School of Education symposium: “The State of Public Education in California” organized by the Berkeley Review of Education.

Section 3: A Call for Action (Discussion)

Living in the Gutter: Conflict and Contradiction in the Neoliberal Classroom A Call to Action

Note: Beyond a sewer or a ditch, the “gutter” is that narrow blank space between panels in every comic book or graphic novel. Seeming to say nothing at all, that thin white strip is where most of the magic actually happens. The gutter brings the art to life as sequential, and is the central site of tension and conflict, interpretation, imagination, and meaning making. We often feel, these days, that we are living inside a comic book, and so we write this from the margin, the cut, the gutter.

From Life in the Gutter to a Pedagogy of Freedom: The Importance of Learning from Young People

Note: The following is a response to “Living in the Gutter: Conflict and Contradiction in the Classroom, A Call to Action” (2011, this volume). Among other critical insights, Ayers Neoliberal and Ayers argue that we must frame conversations about educational reform in ways that center education for democracy. Here, I build on this argument by suggesting that young people must be fully welcomed and involved in the construction of this alternative frame.