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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.

Issue cover

Editors' Introduction

Editors' Introduction

Introduction to Volume 4, Issue 2.


Lived-in Room: Classroom Space as Teacher

This paper is a portrait of a public elementary school classroom in light of the relationships, history, and ideas that have formed its physical space. In describing Judy Richard’s classroom, the author shows how a creative teacher’s commitment to seeing her classroom as a living space inevitably brings her to overstep the narrow limits of the traditional mandates of classroom management. The author presents this portrait as an example of the ideological and creative stance teachers can assume in relation to their classrooms. Addressing challenges that are specific to urban public schools, the author also suggests that public schools must abandon their oversimplified conception of learning spaces and develop support systems that help teachers incorporate the socio-emotional, developmental, and cultural needs of their students into their classroom settings.

Theorizing Food Sharing Practices in a Junior High Classroom

This reflective essay analyzes interactions where food was shared between a teacher and her junior high school students. The author describes the official uses of food in junior high school classrooms and in educational contexts in general. The author then theorizes these interactions, suggesting other semiotic, dialogic, and culturally encoded possibilities for interpreting food exchanges between teachers and students. These possibilities are contextualized using several stories that demonstrate socially grounded interpretations of food use, which contrast with typical notions of how food operates in educational contexts. The implications of these stories raise questions about how relationships are built and maintained in classrooms, what happens in reality when items are banned at school, and what possibilities exist for teachers as they approach classroom interactions in more strategic ways.

History Through First-Year Secondary School Spanish Textbooks: A Content Analysis

Although enrollments in secondary school Spanish have risen over the past few decades, the Spanish-speaking world (Latin America, in particular) tends to be underrepresented or absent in history textbooks. Given that not all students who take entry-level Spanish classes will continue to more advanced levels, the first-year Spanish textbook may be some students’ first or only engagement with the histories of the Spanish-speaking world. Using content analysis, I evaluate four entry-level secondary school Spanish textbooks for the nations they include, the time periods they reference, and the ways in which those references are made. My analysis indicates that many nations, time periods, and concepts are excluded, resulting in reductionist views of history. The histories referenced tend to be exoticized, resulting in the Othering of contemporary groups. Further approaches are suggested.

Black Radicals Make for Bad Citizens: Undoing the Myth of the School to Prison Pipeline

Over the past ten years, the analytic formation of the school to prison pipeline has come to dominate the lexicon and general common sense with respect to the relationship between schools and prisons in the United States. The concept and theorization that undergirds its meaning and function do not address the root causes that are central to complex dynamics between public education and prisons. This paper argues that in place of the articulation of the school to prison pipeline, what is needed is a nuanced and historicized understanding of the racialized politics pertaining to the centrality of education to Black liberation struggles. The result of such work indicates that the enclosure of public education foregrounds the expansion of the prison system and consequently, schools are not a training ground for prisons, but are the key site at which technologies of control that govern Black oppression are deemed normal and necessary.

Creating High Leverage Policies: A New Framework to Support Policy Development

In this paper we describe the development and application of a research-based model for understanding the formulation and implementation of education policy. We draw upon research on policy implementation across a variety of contexts to create what we call the “high leverage policy” (HLP) framework. The HLP framework identifies three specific areas policy makers should attend to: the policy-to-practice lever, design features of the policy, and contingencies for implementation. These three elements are connected by an explicit theory-of-action that describes the policy’s intentions and how it will play out in practice. We illustrate the application of the HLP framework using an example of state policy development and execution in Rhode Island. Finally, we conclude by discussing the framework’s potential utility to policy makers.

Loving Whiteness to Death: Sadomasochism, Emotionality, and the Possibility of Humanizing Love

Although scholars have articulated how whites institutionally, economically, and socially invest in their whiteness, they have paid little attention to white emotionality. By explicating a critical, more humanizing theory of love that accounts for the painful process of sharing in the burden of creating humanity, this psychoanalytic theoretical essay illustrates how the norms and values of white emotionality are premised on a sadomasochistic notion of love. Finally, the authors re-imagine a different set of norms and values through a critical humanizing pedagogy of love, one that can only be realized when whites learn to “love whiteness to death.” That is, whites need to find not just the political will but also the emotional strength (i.e., vulnerability) necessary to eliminate the white race as a sociopolitical form of human organization and free themselves and others from the shackles of the institution of race.