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 4, Number 1 (2013)

Issue cover

Editors' Introduction

Editors' Introduction

Introduction to Volume 4, Issue 1, with the theme of challening dominant frameworks.


Schooling in American Sign Language: A paradigm shift from a deficit model to a bilingual model in deaf education

Deaf people have long held the belief that American Sign Language (ASL) plays a significantrole in the academic development of deaf children. Despite this, the education of deaf children hashistorically been exclusive of ASL and constructed as an English-only, deficit-based pedagogy.Newer research, however, finds a strong correlation between ASL fluency and English literacy,supporting Deaf people’s belief. This article describes efforts at the University of California, SanDiego to develop and field-test a teacher preparation program that combines best practices inbilingual education and deaf education. The training curriculum designed for this programincorporates cultural practices from the Deaf community into the training of teachers of deafchildren, a paradigmatic shift from traditional deaf education pedagogy based on a deficit modelto a socio-cultural view of deaf children and their schooling. This shift represents a significantnew direction in addressing the chronic poor performance of schools in educating deaf and hardof-hearing children who as a group are severely undereducated. This article also providesbackground and rationale for the recent approval of ASL authorization on the Multiple Subjectsteaching credential in California.

Adolescents as Readers of Social Studies: Examining the Relationship between Youth’s Everyday and Social Studies Literacies and Learning

In this paper, we examine the relationship between student engagement and social studiesliteracy, exploring the possible connections between students’ reading interests and practices andsocial studies learning. With a sample of 802 secondary students from five schools in one urbancommunity, we use complementary methods to explore survey and interview data. Descriptiveanalysis of survey data indicated that study participants often perceived social studies educationin school as boring and irrelevant. Nevertheless, qualitative analysis of interview data from asubsample revealed that many young people describe using texts to explore dimensions of theiridentities as well as themes of struggle and conflict. We use these findings to illuminateconnections between youths’ concerns and interests and the enduring problems taken up by thesocial sciences, arguing that attention to these connections has the potential to engage studentsand develop their thinking and literacy practices in the social studies.

I Always Knew I Was Gifted: Latino Males and the Mestiz@ Theory of Intelligences (MTI)

Drawing on the work on “scholarship boys” (Carrillo, 2010; Hoggart, 1957/2006;Rodriguez, 1982), this qualitative study explores the schooling trajectories of working-class,Mexican-origin “ghetto nerds” (Diaz, 2007) in order to introduce Mestiz@ Theory ofIntelligences (MTI). For the purpose of this study, “ghetto nerd” is a concept that captures thepolitical, cultural, social, and aesthetic dimensions of three academically successful Mexicanoriginmales that were born and raised in low-income settings, urban communities in the U.S. Thisresearch expands on Howard Gardner’s (1985) Multiple Intelligences (MI) theory byconceptualizing a Mestiz@ Theory of Intelligences. As such, this study explores how workingclassLatino males perform and embody “gifted identities” as forms of intelligence. Findingsprovide a critical contribution to current debates on the academic underperformance of Latinomale students and notions of intelligence, and they offer the potential for cultivating and affirminggifted mestiz@ identities.

When Claiming to Teach for Social Justice is Not Enough: Majoritarian Stories of Race, Difference, and Meritocracy

To understand how dominant messages about race and effective pedagogy impact teacherbeliefs and practice, this study employs critical race theory (CRT) in a case study analysis ofRebecca Rosenberg, a mid-career entrant into the teaching profession who was terminated fromher first job before the end of her district’s probationary period. Despite believing she wasteaching for social justice, being prepared in a program oriented toward social justice, and beinghired in a school with a comparable mission, Rebecca’s beliefs and practices affirmed uncriticalperspectives of the status quo regarding race, schooling, and social ascendance. This researchunderscores the substantial work to be done in preparing teachers to be reflective of theoverarching cultural myths and majoritarian stories that may guide their practice.

  • 1 supplemental file

New Orleans Education Reform: A Guide for Cities or a Warning for Communities? (Grassroots Lessons Learned, 2005-2012)

Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu, co-chair of the Senate Public Charter School Caucus inWashington, DC, hosted a forum for education policymakers. It centered on New Orleans-StyleEducation Reform: A Guide for Cities (Lessons Learned, 2004-2010), a report published by thecharter school incubator New Schools for New Orleans (NSNO). Through human capital andcharter school development, the report asserts, New Orleans has become a national leader ineducation reform. In this essay, members of Urban South Grassroots Research Collective,including education scholars and those affiliated with longstanding educational and culturalorganizations in New Orleans, reveal that such reform has been destructive to African Americanstudents, teachers, and neighborhoods. Inspired by critical race theory and the role of experientialknowledge in challenging dominant narratives, authors draw heavily on testimony fromcommunity-based education groups, which have typically been ignored, regarding the inequitableeffects of New Orleans’ school reform. While the Guide for Cities is used as a sounding board forconcerns and critiques, this essay challenges claims that have circulated nationally since 2005—ones that laud New Orleans as a model to be followed. This essay also charts the elite policynetwork that has shaped the city’s reform, with NSNO playing a central part, in order to revealthe accumulative interests of education entrepreneurs. A postscript illustrating parent and studentresistance to charter school reform in New Orleans reminds urban communities elsewhere thatcurrent reforms are not a guide but a threat to those struggling for racial and educational justice.

  • 1 supplemental PDF

Governance through concepts: The OECD and the construction of “competence” in Norwegian education policy

This article investigates how Norwegian policy documents construct the term competence in relation to policy initiatives exerted by the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Recent Norwegian policy documents partially redefined student and teacher competence so that the concepts became more individual and performance-oriented. This departed from previous policy documents. Thus, the author argues, the OECD not only governs through numbers and comparison, but also through what can be described as “governance through concepts.” Whereas evidence indicates that greater policy attention to outcomes and accountability, through policies directed at student and teacher competence, leads to increased student performance, researchers know less about whether such policies enhance opportunities for all studentsWeCD in the Field of Educations of education.ities for all students and whether there are reverse implications in terms of socia or whether there are reverse implications for social equality or the broader aims of education.

  • 1 supplemental file