UCLA Ed&IS UCLA INFORMATION STUDIES PursuingÂ Fair, Just and Equitable Access To Information PAGE 4
MAGAZINE OF THE UCLA GRADUATE SCHOOL OF EDUCATION AND INFORMATION STUDIES
“Wait, What Do You Mean by College? A critical race analysis of Latina/o students and their pathways to community college.
The educational inequality present for Latina/o students does not begin in higher education; rather, it is present all throughout the educational pipeline. Latina/o students experience institutionalized racism in their elementary, secondary, and postsecondary education with fewer students progressing from one step to the next.
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The Past is Prologue In his 2018 W.E.B. Du Bois Lecture at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association (AERA), Distinguished Professor of Education Walter Allen addressed the issues surrounding Black higher education as predicted by the 20th Century sociologist, author, and civil rights activist.
Educational researchers and practitioners must continue to lead the struggle to improve educational access, quality and achievement for all groups, but especially for those communities most disadvantaged in our ‘knowledge economy.’
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Ed&IS MAGAZINE OF THE UCLA GRADUATE SCHOOL OF EDUCATION AND INFORMATION STUDIES
3 Message from the Dean 4 UCLA Information Studies Pursuing fair, just and equitable access to information 16 Renewing the Commitment to Civil Rights in America UCLA Civil Rights Project Research Shines a Light on the Continuing Challenge 20 Building a Biliterate Brain Excerpts from “Reader, Come Home: The Reading Brain in a Digital World” by Maryanne Wolf 23 Community Archives Information Studies Professor Michelle Caswell and her work with community-based archives 26 The Past is Prologue: W.E.B. Du Bois and Black Higher Education Excerpts from AERA 2018 lecture by Distinguished Professor of Education, Sociology and African American Studies Walter Allen 32 Wait, What Do You Mean by College? A critical race analysis of Latina/o students and their pathways to community college
Renewing the Commitment to Civil Rights in America
Most of the serious national focus on civil rights happened a half century ago and was centered on BlackWhite issues in the South and in some big cities. Decades after that period, an enormous wave of Latino and Asian immigration transformed American society.
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Ed&IS MAGAZINE OF THE UCLA GRADUATE SCHOOL OF EDUCATION AND INFORMATION STUDIES
Marcelo Suárez-Orozco, Ph.D. UCLA Wasserman Dean & Distinguished Professor of Education, UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies Laura Lindberg Executive Director External Relations, UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies EDITOR
Leigh Leveen Director, Annual Fund and Donor Communications, UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies email@example.com CONTRIBUTING WRITERS
Joanie Harmon Director of Campaign & Development Communications, UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies firstname.lastname@example.org John McDonald Director, Sudikoff Family Institute email@example.com
Robin Weisz Design © 2018, by The Regents of the University of California
MESSAGE FROM THE DEAN
n this issue we shine our light on the UCLA Department of Information Studies, the IS part of Ed&IS. The Department was founded in 1958 as the School of Library Service. Lawrence Clark Powell, for whom the main UCLA library is named, served as the school’s first dean. A lover of books and a prodigious writer, Powell was a dedicated disciple and advocate of the philosophy of librarianship. As we celebrate the 60th anniversary of the founding of the School of Library Service, Information Studies is today a full partner in the UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies. Together, both departments have made important contributions to what has become a highly ranked and well-respected institution of learning. Our collaboration has helped our school to achieve excellence in research and scholarship, and we are partnered together in the pursuit of and commitment to social justice. As Ed&IS, we are greater than the sum of our individual parts. While much has changed over the years, Powell’s commitment to the philosophy of librarianship, a commitment to access to knowledge and public service, is still at the core of the work of the Department of Information Studies. Led by Professor Jonathan Furner, chair of the department, the faculty, staff and students in Information Studies are deeply engaged in work that is critically important to our graduate school, our univer sity, and our society. From the preservation of rare books to probing the digital practices of the information age, they are engaged not just in the discovery and preservation of information, but in the battle to ensure that people of all backgrounds have fair, equitable and just access to information and the benefits it can provide. The fall issue features an in-depth look across the Department, delving into how Information Studies prepares graduates for important careers, and digging into their research and scholarship in library sciences, Photo: Jennifer Young
archival practices and data science. We also highlight the department’s cutting edge efforts to understand how technology and digital practices are transforming access to knowledge and information practices, and how those trends are impacting individuals and communities across the globe. There is also a feature on Information Studies professor and archivist Michelle Caswell, who has built on her fascinating research and archival efforts on the Cambodian Genocide to do groundbreaking work on community archival practices. Professor Gary Orfield and Professor Patricia Gándara serve as the co-directors of the UCLA Civil Rights Project/Proyecto Derechos Civiles. In these tense politically and racially divided times, the Civil Rights Project’s work has documented the resegregation of American schools. In these pages, they issue the call for a renewed and more powerful civil rights movement to protect and further civil rights in our nation. We also recognize the important work of Walter Allen, Distinguished Professor of Education, Sociology and African American Studies at UCLA, to address issues of inequality, access, diversity, and equity in higher education. This past spring Allen was honored by the American Education Research Association (AERA) as the recipient of the Scholars of Color Distinguished Career Award and delivered the prestigious W.E.B. Du Bois Lecture at the AERA annual meeting. This year, he was selected as a Fellow of the National Academy of Education. Tanya J. Gaxiola Serrano, a Ph.D. graduate of UCLA’s Division of Social Sciences and Comparative Education (’18, Race and Ethnic Studies) and recent assistant director of the Center for Critical Race Studies at UCLA, has done research on the college trajectories of Latina/o students through the lens of critical race theory. We share excerpts of her work in these pages. This year we are excited to
welcome Visiting Professor Maryanne Wolf, a distinguished colleague from Tufts University, where she was the director of the Center for Reading and Language Research. Her current book, “Reader, Come Home: The Reading Brain in a Digital World,” has just been published and we are thrilled to share excerpts in these pages. As the fall quarter gets underway here at UCLA, we at the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies are engaged in important research and scholarship. From our youngest graduate students to our emeritus professors, our efforts are furthering knowledge and learning, and engaging with our community partners to address the difficult challenges we face. I hope this new fall issue of UCLA Ed&IS magazine offers you a window into the scope and importance of our efforts and the talents of our people. Enjoy— Marcelo
Wasserman Dean & Distinguished Professor of Education UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies
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UCLA INFORMATION STUDIES PURSUING FAIR, JUST AND EQUITABLE ACCESS TO INFORMATION BY JOHN MCDONALD
mong other things, Ellen Pearlstein, a professor in the UCLA Department of Information Studies, studies bird feathers. Or more precisely, the conservation and curation of featherwork from Central and South America. She is an expert in the conservation of materials, and a scholar in the UCLA/Getty Program in the Conservation of Archaeological and Ethnographic Materials. Her colleague, Sarah T. Roberts, an assistant professor in the UCLA Department of Information Studies, studies online content, plumbing the practices of Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms. Her work has brought to light the commercial content practices of major media companies in the Internet age and their impacts on workers in the industry. On the surface, there would seem to be little connection between their scholarship. But if you scratch that surface, dig a little deeper, look a little closer, the connections begin to become apparent. “The reality is that their work is tied to the same piece of string,” says Jonathan Furner, chair of the UCLA Department of Information Studies. “They are both information scientists studying the ways in which people collect, preserve and provide access to sources of information.” Pearlstein and Roberts are just two of the faculty members in the UCLA Department of Information Studies, who together with graduate students and staff make up what may be one of the least understood academic departments on campus, and perhaps one of the most important. “Our work is about understanding what gets kept, and who gets access to it, and how, and why,” says Furner. “We want to find out whether people have fair, equitable and just access to all the kinds of information that they need. And we want our students to ask the same kinds of questions when they graduate as professionally qualified librarians and archivists, as data curators and information managers—when they’re designing information services and systems, and when they’re making information policies, that have social as well as economic value.” The UCLA Department of Information Studies was founded in 1958 as the School of Library Service. The first Dean was university librarian Lawrence Clark Powell, for whom UCLA’s main undergraduate library is named. The School initially offered a master’s degree in Library Science, adding in 1965 a Master of Science in Information Science (Documentation) that was discontinued in 1972. The School was renamed the Graduate School of Library and Information Science in 1975,
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and a Ph.D. program was launched in 1979. In 1994, the Graduate School of Library and Information Science merged with the Graduate School of Education to form the UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies. The Master of Library Science degree was renamed Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) in the same year, and the Department of Library and Information Science became the Department of Information Studies in 1999. Today, the UCLA Department of Information Studies is known as one of the top information schools in the world. In 2018, it was ranked number 10 globally by QS World University Rankings. Its programs provide students with a blend of conceptual and theoretical knowledge and practical experience. Students acquire a solid foundation in contemporary library, archival, and information management theory, information seeking and retrieval skills, and information technology expertise. The department trains dozens of graduate students each year who go on to work in the vast field of information science, joining entertainment companies like Disney, social media platforms such as Google and Facebook, government and academia, and yes, libraries. “Our graduates get great jobs. But we are also very focused on diversity, equity and social justice,” Furner says. “We want our graduates not only to be extremely knowledgeable and highly skilled, but to share in and promote those values.” The work of faculty and scholars in the department is broad and deep, ranging from the preservation of ancient documents, rare books and images, to the collection and preservation of rec ords about migrants and refugees and data about climate change. Scholars are deeply engaged in the analysis of systems of access to information ranging from the study of classification systems that determine library content, privacy and access, the exploration and use of archives, the content moderation practices of social media platforms and the impact of policy issues such as net neutrality.
“We’re interested in such an amazing array of topics and issues. What they have in common is not that the content or format of the resources is similar, it’s not that the technologies being used are similar—it’s more that they all involve important questions about how resources get selected, how they get appraised, and how they get organized,” Furner says. “We’re interested less in the information itself, and more in what people do with it and to it. And questions of fairness, access and opportunity run all the way through the work.”
We’re interested less in the information itself, and more in what people do with it and to it. And questions of fairness, access and opportunity run all the way through the work. JONATHAN FURNER Chair, UCLA Department of Information Studies
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A FOCUS ON LIBRARIES “Critical to Democracy.” Sarah T. Roberts, Assistant Professor UCLA Department of Information Studies
here is perhaps a common perception in popular culture, or maybe more accurately a mis perception, of libraries and librarians as quiet, unassuming places and people. Marion the Librarian never made any trouble. At least not in the movie “The Music Man.” But the reality is that libraries and librarians have long been tremendously important places central to the collection and preservation of knowledge, with people doing challenging work that has shaped civilization and societies. The Library of Alexandria was established in the third century B.C., in Egypt, by King Ptolemy, the successor to Alexander the Great. In his treatise, “The Library of Alexandria,” researcher Roy MacLeod writes that the Library was in charge of collecting all the world’s knowledge. At the height of its powers, the Library may have had as many as 400,000 scrolls and it served as an international center for scholars. But the holdings of the Library of Alexandria were reserved only for learned noblemen and scholars. Libraries today still serve as central places for the collection and preservation of information and knowledge, but many believe their holdings should provide access for all. The American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights reads, in part, “Books and other library resources should be provided for the interest, information, and enlightenment of all people of the community.” Preparing leaders for libraries remains at the core of the MLIS program at UCLA. For students interested in Library Studies as an area of specialization, the program offers the opportunity to learn about the functional activities associated with the profession of librarianship, such as collection development, public services, cataloging and classification, service to children and young adults, and outreach to underserved populations. And course offerings help them to prepare for work in a range of library settings in both the public and private sectors. Perhaps more importantly, the program engages students in an exploration of the values of professional librarianship and issues of social justice. “Our students learn the practice and pedagogy of librarianship, the skills, but that is just a beginning,”
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says Professor Roberts, who has taught classes in the Library Studies specialization. “It is our commitment to social justice that they come here seeking; they are hungry for it. It is that commitment that sets us apart.” Combining the skills and values of professional librarianship together with the focus on social justice, the Library Studies specialization places great emphasis on access, confidentiality, privacy, intellectual freedom and other core values of the profession as defined by the American Library Association. Students also explore a range of historical and contemporary issues in librarianship, such as race and racism in librarianship, examining the relationships between public libraries and people of color. In the process they consider a broad array of topics confronting librarians in the communities they serve and the context of those communities. For example, in the spring of 2018, students delved into the issues of homelessness and housing insecurity, and the implications for librarianship. Other students looked at the challenges confronting undocumented community members or their families, and the implications for libraries and librarians. Students pushed to explore questions like “What if you host a seminar on paths to citizenship and ICE shows up at the library; what do you do?” “I don’t believe you can be successful as an information intermediary if you are not steeped deeply in the social, economic and political context of where you are practicing,” Roberts says. “That means you need to know something about the community you serve—who are the people, what are the issues they face, what’s changing in their lives and communities? You need to understand the lens of the political climate we are in and the economic challenges faced by library institutions and the communities they serve. Preparing students to protect the principles and values of librarianship that have historically stood, especially when they are being threatened as they are now, is a really tall order. But libraries and librarians are more important than ever. They have a critical role to play in democracy.”
Preparing students to protect the principles and values of librarianship that have historically stood, especially when they are being threatened as they are now, is a really tall order. But libraries and librarians are more important than ever. They have a critical role to play in democracy.
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THE ARCHIVE “Archivists, wherever they work and however they are positioned, are subject to the call of and for justice. For the archive can never be a quiet retreat for professionals and scholars and craftspersons. It is a crucible of human experience, a battleground for meaning and significance …” Verne Harris “The Archival Sliver: Power, Memory and Archives in South Africa”
It’s important to understand that every element of archival practice is political and every decision we make is influenced by our own political context, our own bias and position. And that shapes what stories get told and whose stories get told, who gets to speak for the record and who doesn’t, who gets left out.
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n the UCLA Department of Information Studies, the research and work reaches far beyond the library doors. From the collection and preservation of rare documents to the creation, gathering and safekeeping of digital data and sound and visual materials, students and faculty are learning and striving to preserve evidence and ensure access to it. In the process they are engaged in a wide spectrum of archival studies and the practices and values that guide a rapidly changing and expanding field. Archival studies is first and foremost about records. Not the kind you play, but records that reveal and document activity across space and time. A record does not have to be a paper-based document, or photograph or even physical material. A record can be a dance, a song, the telling of a story. It can be a cassette tape or a digital file or even a phonographic rec ord. What is key is that it is created, and that it persists as evidence of an activity that happened. Archivists are fundamentally interested in records as evidence. Archival studies are also about context, about how, why and by whom rec ords were generated, kept and gathered, and how they were and will be used. At UCLA, archivists are not only interested in how records can be used to preserve the past or inform the future, but also about how they can be used now and what they may mean to people whose lives may be touched by them. “It’s important to preserve records with legal adjudication in mind, and for future research, to be used by journalists and government officials. But we should also develop archival sensitivity about access, description, and context when
those records are being viewed,” says Michelle Caswell, an associate professor in the UCLA Department of Information Studies. “It’s not just about the stuff. There are a lot of political and ethical issues to consider that add a new layer of meaning to the work. We have to ask, is someone going to use these materials to cause harm, to incite violence against someone? We need to focus on people and relationships and the larger issues of power and how we show our care for people and communities.” At UCLA, students specializing in archival studies learn the practical skills of collecting and preserving “the stuff” and making it accessible. Students and faculty explore the full spectrum of archival materials including paper and
electronic records, manuscripts, still and moving images, oral history and other forms of records. They study the theories and ethics that underlie recordkeeping, archival policy development, and memory-making. And they examine the historical roles that recordkeeping, archives, and documentary evidence play in an increasingly diverse and global society. Advanced seminars and internship opportunities prepare students to play leadership roles in archival fields. But they are also deeply engaged in an exploration of a conceptual understanding of the issues and challenges that confront the field. “I think theory is everything. Every practical act, every act of practice, has a whole host of theories behind it,” Caswell says. “It’s something we embrace as a department. We are always thinking and encouraging our students to think critically about what is unjust, what is wrong with the current state of practice, and how can we do it better.” “We want our students to get practical skills and get jobs, but we are preparing them to be thinkers and leaders in the field,” Caswell says. “We really want them to think critically about the prac tices, the histories and ideologies of the practices they are learning, and to identify where those practices may not be adequate and may not serve marginalized or vulnerable people. And we want them
to be able to think and develop practices that are more just.” “To me that means it’s important to understand that every element of archival practice is political and every decision we make is influenced by our own political context, our own bias and position. And that shapes what stories get told and whose stories get told, who gets to speak for the record and who doesn’t, who gets left out. Those are central questions for me.” The Archival Studies specialization at UCLA is not just about preserving the past or informing the future, but also has applications for the challenges of today. One of the clearest examples of this can be seen in the work of the Center for Information as Evidence, which is led by Anne J. Gilliland, professor in the UCLA Department of Information Studies and director of the Archival Studies specialization. The center addresses the ways in which records and archives and other information objects and systems are created, used, and preserved as legal, administrative, scientific, social, cultural and historical evidence. The Center emphasizes the preservation and use of recorded evidence and archives in support of human rights, social justice and community empowerment. Given the millions of displaced persons around the world today, not to mention the thousands of children
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Archiving Environmental Data As with the records of refugees, archivists at UCLA and elsewhere are increasingly concerned with global challenges such as climate change and looking at the roles that records and documentation and the work of archivist can play in addressing them. In 2017, students and faculty in the UCLA Department of Information Studies hosted a workshop and teach-in to further efforts to secure, preserve and protect climate change data on the EPA website and other Climate Science resources.
The question is, with 67 million displaced persons around the world, who really need to be able to escape, to obtain asylum and to survive and thrive in their afterlives, how do records and other forms of documentation play into their ability to achieve those things?
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and families recently separated at the U.S.-Mexico border while seeking asylum in the United States, the center’s work is especially relevant to current challenges. “The question is, with 67 million displaced persons around the world, who really need to be able to escape, to obtain asylum and to survive and thrive in their afterlives, how do records and other forms of documentation play into their ability to achieve those things?” Gilliland says. “Is how we are creating, preserving and using data really stacking the deck against them? There are an enormous number of people who fall through the cracks in recordkeeping and are increasingly demonized by language about counter-terrorism and national security risks. And so, when hundreds of thousands of people have to flee en masse and they cannot get across a border because the documents they carry are deemed to be invalid for so many different reasons, what humanitarian help can archivists provide?” To address these issues, the Center is home to the Refugee Rights in Records (R3) Project, co-directed by Gilliland and James Lowry of the Liverpool University Centre for Archive Studies (LUCAS). The project aims to understand, identify and make visible the ways in which official records (including bio-records), bureaucratic practices and other more “irregular” forms and uses of records play crucial roles in the lives of displaced people. The project also seeks to identify and understand the roles and implications of information communications technology for the creation, movement, preservation and accessing of records. “There is a tremendous amount that is happening among government and international organizations that are deploying technology to ratchet up ways to secure borders, and secure nations,” Gilliland says. “High-powered technology, including drones, infrared sensing and satellite surveillance, is being used internationally, and biometric data and DNA samples are being taken now from refugees as well as migrants along the U.S. southern border.” “For refugees and other migrants who hand over or have their DNA or
their biometrics taken from them, who is looking after their rights to ensure that private information about them, about their children, is not used against them now or later on in life when they realistically don’t have the choice about contributing that kind of information?” Gilliland asks. The R3 Project is making a big push to build awareness of these challenges. In collaboration with a project based at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, R3 is working to get the United Nations to develop a declaration on personal rights in and to records held by others about oneself. In January 2018, the Center and LUCAS organized a Rights in Records for Refugees symposium jointly with the Vera and Donald Blinken Open Society Archives at Central European University, and another in August hosted by the Department of History at University College Dublin. Further symposia will take place at UCLA in October 2018. The center is also identifying ways professionals and agencies involved in archives and recordkeeping in affected countries can contribute and collaborate, as well as to identify potential policy recommendations supporting specific refugee rights in records. “Part of our problem is that archival practices are still largely set up to facilitate historical scholarship, they are not set up to facilitate human rights’ work,” Gilliland says. “We are challenged by an extremely complex and contingent set of problems. In terms of equity and power issues, so much work and so much money is being deployed on securing borders. There is an increasing imbalance and growing impossibility with addressing the genuine humanitarian concerns involved. And records and new deployments of information technology are facilitating that imbalance. It’s becoming easier and easier to use documents as reasons to turn away cases for asylum, and to be able to say that inadequate or irregular documentation makes someone a security risk without investigating the recordkeeping and human circumstances that might explain the documentary situation.”
SPE CIALIZAT IONS IN INFORM AT ION ST UD IE S ARCHIVAL STUDIES explores the full spec-
trum of archival materials, the theory that underlies recordkeeping, archival policy as well as the historical roles that recordkeeping, archives, and documentary evidence play in a diverse and increasingly global society. INFORMATICS equips students to design
modern information services, including digital libraries, data repositories, metadata services, and search engines, in a wide variety of institutional contexts such as community archives, cultural heritage, e-commerce, electronic publishing, and government. LIBRARY STUDIES teaches the function-
al activities associated with the profession of librarianship and stresses the core values of the profession as articulated by the American Library Association, as well as an understanding of the dynamic nature of the field that will enable students to develop as leaders for the profession. MEDIA ARCHIVAL STUDIES focuses on the
full range of historical, contemporary, and emergent media-making contexts and formats and the unique challenges they pose, from 19th-century optical devices through classical Hollywood cinema and the emerging sound, image, and video formats of today. Opportunities for practicum and internship experiences at world-class archives, major motion picture studios, and technical service providers in Los Angeles and beyond are a hallmark of this specialization. RARE BOOKS / PRINT AND VISUAL CULTURE
provides a foundation in the history of literacy technologies, from early writing and manuscript culture through print and digital format, and addresses contemporary challenges for thinking about digital scholarship and special collections.
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A FOCUS ON DATA “Just as you can drown from two tablespoons of water in your lungs, you can drown in small amounts of data if you don’t have the tools and skills to handle them.” Christine Borgman, Distinguished Professor and Presidential Chair UCLA Department of Information Studies
Data have become valuable products to be captured, shared, reused, and managed for the long term, and data have also become contentious intellectual property to be protected. At the same time, public policy encourages open access to and sharing of research data, but rarely provides the public investment necessary to sustain access.
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t its most basic elements, the work of the UCLA Department of Information Studies is about data. As the science fiction writer Daniel Keys Moran says, “You can have data without information, but you cannot have information without data.” Understanding data, what it is, how it is created, collected, measured, verified, and analyzed, and understanding how the social, technical and political aspects shape the use and communications of data, is central to information studies. “It’s hard to think about anything in information that is not somehow about data in one way or another,” says Christine Borgman, distinguished professor and presidential chair in the UCLA Department of Information Studies. “And it crosses over so many fields.” In the UCLA Department of Information Studies, the focus on data science is largely the domain of The Center for Knowledge Infrastructures. Led by Borgman, the center conducts research on scientific data practices and policy, scholarly communication, and socio-technical systems. The center also mentors students, post-doctoral fellows, and visiting scholars in these areas. Their latest project, “If Data Sharing is the Answer, What is the Question,” funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, is studying data practices, policy, and the infrastructure of multiple distributed scientific collaborations, exploring methods of data collection and management, innovations
in scaling and workflows, and multidisciplinary approaches to complex problems. In cooperation with DANS, the Data Archiving and Networked Services Institute in the Netherlands, the center is also studying the uses and users of digital data archives. The CKI team continues to publish findings from a previous three-year Sloan Foundation project, “The Transformation of Knowledge, Culture, and Practice in Data-Driven Science: A Knowledge Infrastructures Perspective.” The Center also works closely with other UCLA Schools, departments and programs, such as the Galactic Center Group in the UCLA Division of Astronomy and Astrophysics, as well as universities and organizations across the nation and globe. In what has come to be known as an era of big data, data scientist has been called the “sexiest job of the 21st century.” Data have become valuable products to be captured, shared, reused, and managed for the long term, and also have become contentious intellectual property to be protected. At the same time, public policy encourages open access to and sharing of research data, but rarely provides the public investment necessary to sustain access. Data practices are local, varying from field to field, individual to individual, and country to country. Meanwhile, enthusiasm for big data is obscuring the complexity and diversity of data in scholarship and the challenges for stewardship. “These are very difficult challenges, very deeply human problems,” Borgman says, “but the opportunities are huge. To take advantage of those opportunities, we need to bring together a mixture of people, technologies, organizations, training, and arrangements that make all these pieces work.” Graduate students in the UCLA Department of Information Studies have the opportunity to learn and think about these challenges as preparation for careers in data-centric fields. Coursework explores data management, practices, services, and policy across fields and sectors, focusing primarily on scholarly applications. Students learn about national and international data policy, the
INFORMATION STUDIES IN THE DIGITAL AGE
management of data by research teams, data centers, libraries, and archives, and data curation, preservation, and stewardship. Seminars engage students from across campus in the challenges of the use and reuse of research data. Students engage in hands-on projects such as the analysis of data archives, work in teams on real world problems with UCLA researchers, and make classroom presentations. “We’re trying to get students who come to study libraries or archives, to think beyond those institutions—archives with somebody’s papers, libraries with books or journals, or museums with artifacts—to explore how data is a fundamental construct that spans the contexts of information use,” Borgman says. “We challenge them to think about data in terms of technology, policy, sociology, and behavior, and to see what we can learn about those institutions, about policy, about direction. We give them real hands-on field experience, let them be on the ground where research is being done, where knowledge is being created, to get them to think about the whole knowledge chain in a very different way.”
ne of the nation’s first large computers, the Standards Western Automatic Computer was built at UCLA in 1950. Housed in a building on the north end of campus, near where Dickson Art Center is now, it took up a whole room. Powered by 2,300 vacuum tubes, it was at the time the fastest computer in the world. Today, the ubiquitous phones carried around by students at UCLA are faster and more powerful. Contrary to some popular perceptions, information studies is not primarily about computers and technology. It does however dig deeply into the changes that computers, smartphones and other technologies have wrought in information, and the implications for how it is collected, shared and communicated. As digital technologies spread to every continent of the world, the UCLA Department of Information Studies examines the implications for education, politics, labor, identity, and the economy. The Center for Global Digital Cultures, led by Ramesh Srinivasan, associate professor in the UCLA Department of Information Studies, brings together top scholars across the University of California system to pioneer innovative interdisciplinary research and advocate for best practices that further understanding of how technologies can support diverse cultures and societies worldwide. Crossing the globe, Srinivasan leads research examining the implications of technology for power and revolution, studying how they shape media and journalism, and in the course, impact demonstrations and protest for those without Internet access, as well as how technologies are impacting communications between activists in their communities, and across the globe. The research also examines the implications for how communications technology can support UCLA Ed&IS FALL 2018 13
Professor Sarah T. Roberts convened a seminal discussion on commercial content moderation at UCLA in 2017, “All Things in Moderation,” with international participants from throughout academia, technology, social media, and journalism.
democracy and economic development, shining a light on the need to listen to and develop technologies and strategies that reflect and support the voices, objectives and concerns of diverse peoples and communities. The work also explores the need for and possibilities of designing technologies not driven or shaped by the Western world, but that serve a wider and more diverse range of cultures and communities across the globe. Closer to home, Srinivasan and colleagues at Information Studies have played a leading role in the battle to preserve net neutrality. While the Internet may have been invented at UCLA, as visionary as its pioneers may have been, it is doubtful that they could have envisioned the changes it has brought to information and communication. Professor Sarah T. Roberts is plumbing the practices of Internet content providers and the implications for information and communications. A 2018 Carnegie Fellow, Roberts focuses her research on the practices and policies social media and technology companies use to manage online content. Her work has drilled into the commercial content moderation practices of companies such as Facebook and Twitter, and their impact on workers engaged in efforts to moderate or remove objectionable content from social media or websites. Examining the thin line of defense
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against digital age horrors, her groundbreaking research details the labor conditions and mental health impacts on the thousands of workers who toil to remove the obscene, violent and criminal content on the Internet. Roberts has also explored social media privacy issues and the implications of Internet governance and policy. In 2017, she developed and convened what is believed to be the first national research conference on commercial content moderation, “All Things in Moderation,” at UCLA. From preserving the ancient to understanding the future, the work of the UCLA Department of Information Studies follows an interesting if challenging arc. Faculty and students examine and encourage the design of information systems and services for individuals, communities, cultures, disciplines, and literacies. The Department also encourages access by promoting libraries and archives as social, cultural, educational, and intellectual centers in our society. “It is this idea of access—that access should be for all, access should be equitable, should be fair, should be just—it’s this idea that’s at the core of our work,” concludes Furner.
Contrary to some popular perceptions, information studies is not primarily about computers and technology. It does however dig deeply into the changes that computers, smartphones and other technologies have wrought in information, and the implications for how it is collected, shared and communicated.
The professional skills required to deal with rare materials are many, and special collections librarians need the ability to assess, acquire, and manage collections.
RARE BOOKS, PRINT AND VISUAL CULTURE AT UCLA “Rare books are a necessary luxury.” Lawrence Clark Powell
awrence Clark Powell, for whom the main library at UCLA is named, was an advocate for the collection of rare books. In a 1939 essay, “The Functions of Rare Books,” Powell wrote that “because of their historical significance, their intrinsic value, their beauty, and sentimental associations, rare books, when intelligently grouped, have power to excite the imagination and stimulate the intellectual curiosity of the student. A rare book collection, no matter how modest, can be made by alert librarians to play an educational role, and to enliven the library, increase its prestige.” Powell believed librarians had a critical role to play in the collection and preservation of rare books, writing in the same essay that “whether or not a small library should seek and care for gifts of rare books depends upon the intelligence of its librarian and his associates.” Citing concerns of book collectors reluctant to give rare books to librarians “not well trained in the treatment of unusual books,” he suggested library schools train librarians about collectors and collections of rare books. At UCLA, we like to think that Powell, who was the first dean of the UCLA Library School, would be pleased with the Rare Books / Print and Visual Culture specialization in the Department of Information Studies. From the collection and preservation of rare books and
manuscripts, to the collection, preservation and use of digital documents and images, the specialization provides students with the knowledge and skills they need to work with rare books and other materials. The specialization provides a foundation in the history of literacy technologies, addresses contemporary challenges for thinking about digital scholarship and special collections, and explores the implications of legacy collections and diversity initiatives in expanding horizons for scholarship and research. Drawing on archival science, bibliography, digital humanities, and librarianship, courses explore the professional and historical aspects of activities in rare books, print history, and visual resources. The specialization is enriched by courses taught by the California Rare Book School, a continuing education program dedicated to providing the knowledge and skills required by professionals working in all aspects of the rare book community, and the rich resources of special collections in the Southern California area. “Special collections librarianship is a multi-dimensional job with complex responsibilities,” says Johanna Drucker, a professor in the UCLA Department of Information Studies and the inaugural Martin and Bernard Breslauer Professor of Bibliography at UCLA. “The professional skills required to deal with rare materials are many, and special
collections librarians need the ability to assess, acquire, and manage collections. Management often requires the provision of technical and public services, digitization, and the preservation and conservation of rare materials. Special collections librarians need knowledge and skills across these areas, not to mention knowledge of fundraising and donor cultivation strategies. Our coursework at UCLA in Special Collections Librarianship offers students exposure to these issues and an introduction to the many facets of the profession.” In courses like “History of the Book and Literacy Technologies,” students are exposed to basic frameworks for thinking about historical issues such as technological changes, the emergence of institutions like private and public libraries, political periods and style. The class also provides some basic knowledge of printing methods, manuscripts, document types, bibliographical work and the opportunity to engage directly with rare materials and create a digital exhibit about the work. “We are integrating special collection materials into the education of MLIS students. It’s an incredible privilege and pleasure, and opens their eyes to the complex legacy of the past,” Drucker says. The UCLA Department of Information Studies is one of only 13 accredited master’s level programs in the nation that offer specialized studies in rare books, special collections or print history.
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UCLA CIVIL RIGHTS PROJECT RESEARCH SHINES A LIGHT ON THE CONTINUING CHALLENGE
he American myth is that there were severe racial problems before the 1960s but the great civil rights laws solved them. While there was historic progress in dismantling the official segregation of the South, profound racial separation and inequality continued in the great cities that were transformed by the Black exodus from the South and, later, by the even larger Latino migration. Both groups faced severe discrimination and segregation. Warnings from Martin Luther King Jr. before his assassination and from the authors of the 1968 Kerner Commission report about the steps needed to create equal opportunities for urban Blacks were ignored. A large drop in the White birth rate and a huge non-White immigration changed society, even as the tools of civil rights reform were abandoned. A major commitment in the United States to ongoing independent production of reliable civil rights evidence is crucial to a renewed commitment to civil rights in this country. The research must confront the central obstacles to opportunity for historically excluded groups and must address key issues their leaders and advocates are facing. There is a heavy flow of disinformation from the present executive branch and from media associated with the administration. If the country is to move forward, powerful evidence, strong enough that it cannot be dismissed, free from political control, is critical. And this research needs to be disseminated through new channels and in innovative ways to inform and engage our communities, and penetrate increasingly isolated and partisan groups. Many assume that the needed research for policy has already been done but the UCLA Civil Rights Project was created because there were huge gaps in basic research on affirmative action and there were urgent needs in each field in which the Project has worked. Most of the serious national focus on civil rights happened a half century ago and was centered on Black-White issues in the South and in some big cities. Decades after that period, an enormous wave of Latino and Asian immigration transformed American society, especially among the younger cohorts, and racial change is now overwhelmingly suburban. UCLA Civil Rights Project has historically worked on such much-needed research. An important prong of research at the Civil Rights Project documents the resegregation of America’s schools. Almost all the school integration progress of the past half century has been lost, and the gaps in college access have actually increased.
RENEWING THE COMMITMENT TO CIVIL RIGHTS IN AMERICA
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Portions of this article were originally published by the Learning Policy Institute in their blog “Education and the Path to Equity,” written by Gary Orfield.
In 2017, the Civil Rights Project released new research showing the reversal of civil rights era gains, and an increase in school segregation in the South. According to the study, Black and Latino students in the South are increasingly isolated in intensely segregated schools and are doubly segregated in schools serving low-income students. CRP research over the last few years shows resegregation of school districts in Indiana, New Jersey, South Carolina, and Florida. “While significant gains in integration were made during the Civil Rights era, we are unfortunately seeing a troubling reversal of those trends,” says Gary Orfield, co-director of the Civil Rights Project. “Much was accomplished by the civil rights revolution and there is good evidence about policies that would advance equal opportunity. Serious work in the 1960s created a powerful agenda for that time. But a half century ago, it was already obvious to civil rights groups and the courts that simply forbidding discrimination could not change deeply rooted social practices. A conscious plan to improve opportunities and measure the results was needed. That is still true today. We need a new agenda now for a much more complex society, more segregated and unequal in some critical ways, and a new vision of integration in a century where we will all soon be minorities who have to depend on each other.” In 2018, CRP released a study on the school enrollment patterns in Washington, D.C.’s most rapidly gentrifying areas, which have seen a decline in racial segregation, more so in traditional public schools than in charter schools. The report’s authors caution, however, that while the trend of declining racial segregation in schools in some of the city’s most gentrifying areas is promising, a high level of racial segregation remains, and substantial progress is still needed to ensure that these newly integrating neighborhoods result in integrated schools and inclusive communities. CRP researchers also released a study of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools in North Carolina, “Charters as a Driver of Resegregation” by Jennifer Ayscue, Amy Hawn Nelson, Roslyn Arlin Mickelson, Jason Giersch, and Martha Cecilia Bottia, which describes how
Many assume that the needed research for policy has already been done but the UCLA CIVIL RIGHTS PROJECT WAS CREATED BECAUSE THERE WERE HUGE GAPS IN BASIC RESEARCH ON AFFIRMATIVE ACTION and there were urgent needs in each field in which the Project has worked.
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Sixth-grade students listening to a school program on Brown v. Board of Education school desegregation decision. (Photo by Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
charter schools directly and indirectly contribute to resegregation in traditional public schools. The study illustrates how charter schools undermined the capacities of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools leaders to effectively redesign student assignment boundaries to achieve the district’s goal of breaking up high concentrations of poverty. “Prior research has consistently demonstrated that charters tend to be more segregated than traditional public schools,” said Jennifer Ayscue, a researcher with the Civil Rights Project. “This study of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools is important because it describes how charters also drive segregation in traditional public schools.” Also in 2018, the Civil Rights Project released the findings of a new national first-of-its-kind survey of educators, revealing the alarming impact of immigration enforcement on teaching and learning in public schools. The study was presented at a policy forum at the Wilson Center in Washington, D.C. Patricia Gándara, co-director of the UCLA Civil Rights Project and the study’s lead researcher, said, “Educators from all parts of the country tell us their immigrant students are distracted and living 18 UCLA Ed&IS FALL 2018
in fear of losing their parents to deportation and this is affecting all the students in their classrooms. As a result, teachers in these mostly low-income schools are being stressed sometimes to the breaking point. The unintended conse quences of an immigration enforcement policy that did not consider its impact on the nation’s schools will continue to jeopardize the education of millions of students if allowed to persist.” The Civil Rights Project study is based on an analysis of thousands of survey responses from educators in more than 730 schools across the country. It illuminates the extent to which increased enforcement is a problem for schools, many of which are among the most challenged in the nation; how the problem varies by region; the “collateral” fallout for non-immigrant students; and the extent to which educators are being affected and reacting. Another key focus of research for CRP is on school discipline and its disproportionate impacts on students of color. In 2017, a CRP study, “Massachusetts Students Missed More Than 156,000 Days of Instruction Due to Discipline” showed that the overuse of suspensions in the Commonwealth’s
schools is harming educational opportunities for all students, but with the burden impacting Black students and students with disabilities more than other groups. The study is the first ever to quantify the school-level days of missed instruction due to discipline, reporting both the Black/White gap and the impact on students with disabilities. Researchers find 38 schools averaged greater than 100 days of missed instruction for every 100 enrolled due to suspensions. Black students and students with disabilities missed the most days and most missed instruction was in response to minor misbehavior. “In contrast to the civil rights era in which the courts saw their responsibility to support civil rights in spite of public pressure, the Supreme Court has substantially cut back civil rights since the late 1980s,” says Orfield. “No national administration since the 1960s has devoted serious resources to informing the public about these issues as did the Presidential commissions of Presidents Truman and Johnson. In this situation researchers and journalists have a very heavy responsibility to inform the public about the basic racial facts and issues if the country is make progress.” “It is a threatening time for civil rights, but there has been no easy time and the keys are vision and persistence. The advantage of this time is that the 2016 election and what has happened since swept aside the delusion that our civil rights problems had basically been solved. Most Americans now recognize that we have serious racial and ethnic problems and that something must be done. Often the most frightening times are also times of opportunity. The UCLA Civil Rights Project has played an impor tant role in keeping alive a different vision in what have been hard times, and will continue to do so. Significant new research and action is needed.”
The UCLA Civil Rights Project
he UCLA Civil Rights Project (CRP) was created to provide intellectual capital to academics, policymakers and civil rights advocates. CRP is a multidisciplinary research-and-policy think tank and consensus-building clearinghouse; operating with the highest intellectual standards; attentive to dissemination for multiple audiences; and committed to building a network of collaborating legal and social science scholars across the nation. CRP has convened dozens of national conferences and round tables; commissioned hundreds of research and policy studies; produced major reports, and published twelve books. CRP directors and staff testify and provide technical assistance on Capitol Hill and in state capitals. Its research has been incorporated into federal legislation, cited in litigation, and used to spur Congressional hearings. In any given month, CRP work is quoted in major national media. CRP’s work was cited in the 2003 Supreme Court decision upholding affirmative action, and in 2015, CRP published and submitted a brief of 823 social scientists as amici curiae in Fisher v. University of Texas. The center’s research has been used and cited in a number of other important civil rights decisions. During CRP’s initial years, much of the work focused on forging stronger links between national civil rights organizations, lawyers, academics and policymakers. More recently, the organization turned its attention to strengthening state and community racial justice efforts, and conducting state or locally focused research towards that end. It is at these levels where many key policy decisions are made regarding education, criminal and juvenile justice, electoral reform, and other matters. Officials at the district level often set policies regarding school discipline (“zero tolerance”), special education, and voluntary desegregation efforts. State legislators, state school boards and state attorneys generally influence such policies as testing and accountability for failing schools, sentencing and parole practices, and juvenile justice procedures.
The Civil Rights Project was initially founded at Harvard by Founding Codirectors Christopher Edley, Jr. and Gary Orfield. Edley left to become law school dean at the University of California at Berkeley in 2004. In 2007, the Civil Rights Project moved to UCLA and became The Civil Rights Project/ Proyecto Derechos Civiles with Gary Orfield and new Co-director Patricia Gándara. At UCLA, new initiatives related to immigration, language policy and a special local focus on studies of the Southern California metropolitan megaplex were included in the research and policy agenda of CRP. CRP also seeks to expand its reach into non-English media outlets, reaching a broader and critically important constituency. RESEARCH ff Impacts of the elimination of affirmative action in higher education admissions ff Benefits of racial diversity in K–12 education ff Impacts of Title I and No Child Left Behind (NCLB) reforms on K–12 education, and particularly on minority children ff Alignment of the civil rights and standards-based school reform agendas ff High stakes testing ff The relationship between religion and civil rights goals and advocacy ff Racial disparities in school discipline and special education practices ff School resegregation trends and remedies ff Dropout trends and remedies ff Long-term implications of the country’s rapidly changing demographics, especially in suburbs and metro areas ff Effective educational policies for language minority students (English Language Learners)
UCLA Civil Rights Project/Proyecto Derechos Civiles Co-directors, Gary Orfield and Patricia Gándara
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READER, COME HOME: THE READING BRAIN IN A DIGITAL WORLD by Maryanne Wolf
B U I L D I N G A B I L I T E R AT E B R A I N Written as a series of letters addressed to her readers, the book draws on neuroscience, literature, education, technology, and philosophy, and blends historical, literary, and scientific facts with down-to-earth examples and anecdotes. Wolf offers her comprehensive proposal for the development of a biliterate reading brain—a brain that reads differently depending on the medium involved.
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ear Reader, I have little doubt that the next generation will go beyond us in ways we cannot imagine at this moment. As Alec Ross, the author of The Industries of the Future, wrote, 65 percent of the jobs our present preschoolers will hold in the future haven’t even been invented yet. Their lives will be extended much beyond ours. They may well think very different thoughts. They will need the most sophisticated armamentarium of abilities that humans have ever acquired to date: vastly elaborated deep-reading processes that are shared with and expanded through coding, designing, and programming skills, all of which will be transformed by a future that none of us—from Stewart Brand, Sundar Pichai, Susan Wojcicki, Juan Enriquez, and Steve Gullans to Craig Venter and Jeff Bezos—can now predict. Building the kind of pluripotential brain circuitry that can prepare the youngest members of our species to think with the knowledge and cognitive flexibility they will need is one task that we, their guardians, can attend to in the short time we share the planet. Whatever their next iterations, the future of the reading circuit will require an understanding of the limits and possibilities of both the literacy-based circuit and digital-based ones. This knowledge involves examining the often contradicting strengths, weaknesses, and sometimes opposing values that characterize the processes emphasized by different mediums and media. We need to study the cognitive, social-emotional, and moral impact of the affordances of present mediums and work toward the best possible integration of their characteristics for future circuits. If we are successful, we will recapitulate in our next generation’s physiology Shakespeare’s great lesson about love: “Mine own, and not mine own.” The philosopher Nicholas of Cusa can help us. He believed that the best way to choose between two seemingly equal but contradicting perspectives—what he called the “coincidence of opposites”—was to assume the stance of learned ignorance, in which one strives to thoroughly understand both positions and then goes outside them to evaluate and decide the course to be taken. Knowledge about the reading brain and the directions of its future iterations requires yoking research from multiple disciplines—from cognitive neuroscience and technology to the humanities and social sciences. No one of these disciplines is sufficient to make the kind of decisions we need to make; each of them adds something essential to the combinatoria of knowledge we need to develop Nicholas of Cusa’s stance of learned ignorance. Within this context I propose the development of a biliterate reading brain.
A DEVELOPMENTAL PROPOSAL We start by building a childhood that is not split between two mediums of communication but rather, in Walter Ong’s words, is “steeped in” the best of both, with more options still to come. You already know what I think about the print medium’s role and the gradual introduction to a second, digital medium in the first five years. The second five are our real challenge. I propose a relatively simple, perhaps novel design for introducing different forms of print-based and digitalbased reading and learning during the five- to ten-year age period. Its overall blueprint is based on what we know about nurturing dual-language learners whose father and mother each speak a separate language and the parent who spends the most time with the child speaks the language that is less spoken outside the home. In this way, young bilingual children learn to speak both languages well. They gradually get beyond the inevitable errors that arise in going from one language to another and ultimately are able to tap into their deepest thoughts in either language. Very importantly, during this process they learn to become expert code switchers. By the time they reach adulthood, their brains are masterpieces of cognitive and linguistic flexibility, which we can see in fascinating ways. Many years ago, aided by insights by my Swiss friends Thomas and Heidi Bally, I created a naming speed task called the Rapid Alternating Stimulus (RAS) test, now used by neuropsychologists and educators to predict and diagnose dyslexia. Basically it asks a person to name a series of fifty well-known
items in different categories, specifically letters, numbers, and colors. The person has to switch from one category to the next as fast as possible, which requires both considerable automatized knowledge and a great deal of flexibility. An unexpected finding in the various comparison studies was that bilingual adults were faster on these tasks than were their monolingual peers. Duallanguage learners had acquired far more verbal flexibility than single-language learners had. As shown by groundbreaking work by Claude Goldenberg and Elliott Friedlander at Stanford University and at Save the Children, bilingual and multilingual speakers have spent years going back and forth between languages. Not only are they more flexible in retrieving words and concepts, but there is some research that indicates that they are also more capable of leaving their particular viewpoints and taking on the perspective of others. That is what I want our young nascent readers to become: expert, flexible code switchers—between print and digital mediums now and later between and among the multiple future communication mediums. My thoughts about how this would work over time are inspired by the Russian psychologist Lev Vygotsky’s depiction of the development of thought and language in the young child: first separated and then increasingly connected. Thus I conceptualize the initial development of learning to think in each medium as largely separated into distinct domains in the first school years, until a point in time when the particular characteristics of the two mediums are each well developed and internalized.
I want the child to have parallel levels of fluency, if you will, in each medium, just as if he or she were similarly fluent in speaking Spanish and English. In this way the uniqueness of the cognitive processes honed by each medium would be there from the start.
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… reading in print by parent and child reinforces core temporal and spatial dimensions in reading, adds important tactile associations in the young reading circuit, and provides the best possible social and emotional interaction.
This is an essential point. I want the child to have parallel levels of fluency, if you will, in each medium, just as if he or she were similarly fluent in speaking Spanish and English. In this way the uniqueness of the cognitive processes honed by each medium would be there from the start. My unproven hypothesis is that such a codevelopment might prevent the atrophy seen in adults when screen-reading processes bleed over into print reading and eclipse the slower print-reading processes. Rather, children would learn from the outset that each medium, like each language, has its own rules and useful characteristics, which include its own best purposes, pace, and rhythms.
THE ROLE OF PRINT In the first school years, physical books and print would be used as the principal medium for learning to read and would dominate story time. That was the lesson in Letter Six: reading in print by parent and child reinforces core temporal and spatial dimensions in reading, adds important tactile associations in the young reading circuit, and provides the best possible social and emotional interaction. Whenever possible, a teacher or parent would ask questions that lead children to connect their own background knowledge to what they read; that elicit their empathy for another’s perspective; that prompt them to make inferences and begin to express their own analyses, reflections, and insights. Learning the importance of allocating time to their nascent reflective processes is anything but simple for children raised in a culture filled with distractions. As Howard Gardner and Margaret Weigel noted, “guiding this peripatetic mind may be the primary
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challenge of educators in the digital era.” The explicit encouragement of the earliest deep-reading skills in young readers would be an antidote to the continuous temptations of digital culture: to skim quickly and move on to the next interesting thing; to be passive and conceptualize reading as one more game that entertains and is over; to skip figuring out their own thoughts. As one student opined, “Books slow me down and make me think, and the Internet speeds me up.” Each would have its place; moreover, children would learn what is best for different learning tasks. For example, during the initial introduction to print reading, we want children to learn that reading takes time and gives back thoughts that continue long after a story is finished. Just as children’s natural tendency to dart from one thought to the next may be exaggerated by frequent digital viewing, the experience of deep reading can help give them an alternative mode for their thoughts. Our challenge as a society is to give digital children both these kinds of experiences. They will need concerted efforts by their teachers and parents to be sure they read fast enough to allocate attention to deep-reading skills and slowly enough to form and deploy them. Through this five- to ten-year age period, the goal is to instill in children the expectation that if they take their time, they will have their own ideas. All children—particularly children who feel insecure due to having to learn to read—gain something in the process of this kind of thinking that sets the stage for the rest of their lives. Copyright ©2018 by Maryanne Wolf. Re-printed here with permission of Harper, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
Maryanne Wolf currently directs the Center for Dyslexia, Diverse Learners, and Social Justice at UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies, and is working with the Dyslexia Center at the UCSF Medical School and with Curious Learning: A Global Literacy Initiative, which she co-founded. Formerly, she was the John DiBiaggio Professor of Citizenship and Public Service at Tufts University, where she was the director of the Tufts Center for Reading and Language Research. She is the recipient of multiple research and teaching honors, including the highest awards by the International Dyslexia Association and the Australian Learning Disabilities Association. She is the author of Proust and the Squid (Harper), Tales of Literacy for the 21st Century (Oxford University Press), and more than 160 scientific publications.
Information Studies Professor Michelle Caswell
COM M U N ITY
A R C H I V E S F
We’re responsible for the people and their stories and whether and how their stories get told, and how those stories empower or disempower people.
Professor Michelle Caswell presenting at SAADA (South Asian American Digital Archive), 2017.
or many archivists the focus of the work is on the “stuff,” the rec ords and material that document what has happened in the past. For Michelle Caswell, an associate professor in the UCLA De partment of Information Studies and a scholar of archival studies, it’s about the people. “We fetishize the stuff, we’re trained to work with the stuff, but more importantly, it’s about the people,” Caswell says. “We’re responsible for the people and their stories and whether and how their stories get told, and how those stories empower or disempower people.” A few years ago, with the support of a National Endowment for the Humanities Common Heritage grant, Professor Caswell helped to set up projects with the South Asian American Digital Archive to digitize records of local residents of two neighborhoods sometimes referred to as “Little India” and “Little Bangladesh.” They set up scanners at the public library in Artesia, a city in Southeast Los Angeles county, and invited people to bring in their family photographs, home movies, audio recordings, journals, newspaper clippings, and correspondence for digitization. And two ninety-year-old Indian immigrants who came to Los Angeles in the 1940s brought in some materials. “It was really amazing stuff, but more importantly, they sat around a table and just started talking and people started talking with them. We scanned their stuff, but it made me realize, it’s not about the stuff, the work of the archive is those people talking to each other, sharing stories, people listening, sitting around this table. We didn’t have the microphone on. We weren’t recording. I kind of wished—the archivist in me was like, oh, we should have been recording. But it’s about those relationships. It’s about the people. It’s about people like these two ninety-year-olds, who have experienced so much racism living in the United States since the 1940s and ’50s, feeling validated. Being in a room where people want to hear their stories and are telling them their stories are important, and that their personal stories are part of a larger story, part of a larger narrative.” Professor Caswell’s research centers on both community-based archives and the growing field of archiving human rights violations in a way that respects survivors and victims, documents their history, and provides valuable information for communities, scholars and historians.
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Among other archival studies projects, Caswell’s research has explored the genocide of the Cambodian people during the reign of terror of the Khmer Rouge. Roughly 1.7 million people died in Cambodia at the hands of the Khmer Rouge in the late 1970s. The regime’s brutality has come to be symbolized by the black-and-white mug shots of prisoners taken at the Tuol Sleng prison, where thousands of “enemies of the state” were tortured before being sent to the Killing Fields. In her book, “Archiving the Unspeakable,” Caswell examined these photographic records through the lens of archival studies, showing how they have become agents of silence and witnessing human rights and injustice as they are deployed at various moments in time and space. From their creation as Khmer Rouge administrative records to their transformation beginning in 1979 into museum displays, archival collections, and databases, the mug shots are key components in an ongoing drama of unimaginable human suffering. Professor Caswell, along with her colleague Samip Mallick, is also the co-founder of the South Asian American Digital Archive (SAADA), a community-based project that chronicles the history of South Asians in the United States by collaborating with the very individuals, families, and communities represented. “SAADA is a part of what I would call a community archives movement in the U.S. where groups that have been left out of mainstream university or government archives take it upon themselves to document their own history and to steward those histories, and to control the narrative about themselves,” Caswell says. Professor Caswell worked with Mallick and others at SAADA on the “First Days Project,” which provides an opportunity for South Asian immigrants to chronicle their first 24 hours in the United States through a communitybased online resource with short audio, video, and written narratives. The “First Days Project” was recognized with the Roy Rosenzweig Prize for Innovation in Digital History by the American Historical Association in 2015. Caswell calls the site a “digital participatory microhistory project,” that provides “a sense of how emotional the immigration experience
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is—from fear, anxiety, and loneliness to excitement, relief, and wonder.” In 2016, Caswell expanded her work on community archives, launching a study on “Assessing the Use of Community Archives,” funded by an Early Career Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. The three-year project examines the use of community archives by observing and interviewing users of five community archives sites in Southern California. The study will also include the creation of a toolkit for community archives to assess their own users. Caswell draws deeply on her experiences with SAADA and with community-based archives to teach about archival work at the UCLA Department of Information Studies. Her class on community-based archives engages students in learning about best prac tices for community-based archives. But Caswell also pushes students to critique how standards for archival practice have been applied in community-based settings and to consider the kinds of policies and practices developed by communitybased archives that are rooted in and reflect the context and culture of their communities. The students in the class are required to complete community-based archive projects. These range from the development of grants in support of community-based archival projects, to plans to start up archives, or efforts to help existing community organizations who may have not thought about archiving their histories or may not have had the resources to do so. “It’s a huge range of projects, and they require a high level of creativity and perseverance,” Caswell says. “Students are confronted with what works and what doesn’t, and have to figure it out as they go along. Practice and theory come together.” “A lot of this work is unglamorous,” Caswell says. “That student is sitting there opening up documents, putting them on the scanner, pressing scan, resizing objects, but that kind of unglamorous work has huge political implications. I always tell the students that politics is infused in everything we do. Even the seemingly benign act of pressing the scan button is very political. Because
it’s all about enabling who gets represented, whose story gets told, whose doesn’t, who has access to it, and who doesn’t.” Emily Sulzer, a student in Caswell’s class, worked on a project to digitize rec ords from the Yassir Islam materials portraying the experiences and perspectives of members of the South Asian LGBTQ community for SAADA. “It was a lot of work; I digitized more than 200 pages of materials for the collection,” Sulzer says. “I was thinking that working with LGBTQ materials there is always a concern that you might unintentionally out someone if you put the materials online,” Sulzer said. “But in this case I did not find anything particularly sensitive. I’m really excited about this. I thought that they were really good examples that showed how preserving smaller histories can be important for constructing much larger histories. Hopefully it will bring more LGBTQ representation to the SAADA collection.” Caswell sees community archives as a way to push back against the structure and limitations of predominately white institutions, a way to ensure that the stories of people of color and other marginalized groups get told. “I’ve done lots of interviews with members of marginalized communities, primarily people of color and queer communities, who talk about trying to find records of their communities in mainstream repositories, who find nothing at all, or that they are misrepresented. There is a deep emotional reaction one gets to not seeing themselves represented. There is a term for that from the field of communications: symbolic annihilation,” explains Caswell. “I’m interested in building [the use of] this term symbolic annihilation in archival studies because it resonates with the experiences of users when they look for people who look like them or who are from their communities.” With her students, Caswell developed a framework on the concepts of symbolic annihilation and representational belonging; the interviews with users of community-based archives revealed “emotions and affect [that are] a very important component of studying archives.”
“If you’re narrowly studying academic users, there’s a sense [of] a cool distance between researchers and their materials,” says Caswell. “But if you’re interviewing activists, artists, or community members who see themselves sometimes quite literally in the collections and materials, there might be an emotional response to seeing themselves represented. Community archives foster something we’re calling representational belonging, which we’re positing is the opposite of symbolic annihilation. There’s an affect; an emotional dimension of seeing yourself represented in archives when … you felt excluded before.” Professor Caswell is also very interested in dismantling what she refers to as the “white supremacist foundations of archival theory and practice.” In a 2017 article for The Library Quarterly, “Teaching to Dismantle White Supremacy in Archives,” she outlines steps to help students identify the ways in which white privilege is embedded in archival institutions and strategizes steps to dismantle white supremacy in archival practice. “For centuries, archivists working in predominantly white institutions have made decisions that devalue the histories of communities of color,” Caswell says. “Archival work is a political act, and I am saying, the history of immigrants, the history of people of color is important, it’s worth documenting, this is a story worth telling.” “I think archival work is essentially about telling stories and having evidence to support those stories. Representation is hugely political. Just an assertion that by preserving a record, documenting a person, or community organization, the assertion that they exist and they were important and they mattered is political,” Caswell says. “But I also think we need to go beyond representation and actually look at materials in archives, and the structures and practices developed around archives and ask ‘how do we learn from them?’ so that we’re not making the same mistakes over and over again. How do we use the materials that are in the archives to enable new forms of activism and inspiration?” Caswell hopes her students will take those questions and lessons to heart. “In our Information Studies Department, we
want our students to look at the larger social and political implications, to look critically at practice. We hope our students don’t just graduate to put stuff in boxes. We hope they go out and transform archival practices to help build a more just society.”
I always tell the students that politics is infused in everything we do. Even the seemingly benign act of pressing the scan button is very political. Because it’s all about enabling who gets represented, whose story gets told, whose doesn’t, who has access to it, and who doesn’t.
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Either the United States will destroy ignorance, or ignorance will destroy the United States. W.E.B. Du Bois 26 UCLA Ed&IS FALL 2018
W.E.B. DU BOIS AND BLACK HIGHER EDUCATION
THE PAST IS PROLOGUE Excerpts from AERA 2018 Lecture, Walter Allen
BY JOANIE HARMON
rofessor Walter R. Allen is the Allan Murray Cartter Professor of Higher Education and Distinguished Professor of Education, Sociology and African American Studies at UCLA. He co-directs The Center for Capacity Building, which conducts empirical research to improve equity, diversity, inclusion, and excellence in higher education in California, the U.S. and internationally. Allen is also co-investigator for “Educational Diversity in U.S. Law Schools,” a national, longitudinal study of how race, ethnicity, and gender influence teaching and learning at 70 law schools among 8,000 law students. A prolific author, editor, and writer, Allen’s 200-plus publications include “As the World Turns: Implications of Global Shifts in Higher Education for Theory, Research and Practice” (2012); “Towards a Brighter Tomorrow: College Barriers, Hopes and Plans of Black, Latino/a and Asian American Students in California” (2009); and the article, “Everyday Discrimination in a National Sample of Incoming Law Students,” which was written for the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education in 2008. Professor Allen served as an expert witness in affirmative action and higher education discrimination cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, including Grutter v. Bollinger and Gratz v. Bollinger (for Student Intervenors); and U.S. v. Fordice (MS). He has also testified on race, education, and inequality before the United Nations in Geneva and the U.S. House of Representatives. Trained as a sociologist—he earned both his M.A. and Ph.D. at the University of Chicago—Allen landed his first position in academia at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, an institution with an infamous history of segregation among both the student body and the faculty, until the early 1970s.
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“We were literally the first generation of Black professors in sizeable number to move into the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, which had settled a court case charging them with continuing discrimination,” Allen recalls. “One of their arguments was that they would have liked to hire qualified Black faculty, but they couldn’t find anyone. But once the university was under a court order and the settlement was in place, they found Black psychiatrists, lawyers, people in sociology, mathematics, English—everything. Not only did they find us, but they brought us from the top tier of schools. “It was challenging because you moved into a space where people were not necessarily accepting or understanding of you,” he says. “We had encounters with janitors, police officers … students walking into a class, seeing who was teaching it and leaving because it was a Black professor.”
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These experiences influenced Professor Allen’s research, which includes issues of inequality, access, diversity, and equity in higher education. “Scholarly discourse and popular events show that ‘the more things change, the more they remain the same,’” notes Allen. “A half century after the Civil Rights Movement, we have the Black Lives Matter movement and students demonstrating for greater campus diversity. Race-ethnic stereotypes and discrimination are deeply embedded in our society and do great harm to students of color. I am encouraged that many young scholars in the field are determined to confront, research and solve these inequities.” “Educational researchers and practitioners must continue to lead the struggle to improve educational access, quality and achievement for all groups, but especially for those communities most disadvantaged in our ‘knowledge economy,’” says Allen. “Today, more than ever before, higher education is the Holy Grail. College graduates earn more, therefore they also have a better quality of life. Education continues to offer a more certain pathway to a better future. Sadly, forces have converged to limit educational opportunities for the poor, the disenfranchised, and for many students of color.”
In his 2018 W.E.B. Du Bois lecture at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Institute (AERA), Professor Allen addressed the issues surrounding Black higher education, as predicted decades ago by the 20th-century sociologist, author, and civil rights activist.
ot only did W.E.B. Du Bois predict the problem of race, or predict the problem that race has posed for the 20th century, [but he also predicted] the current status of Blacks in U.S. higher education. While Brown v. Topeka in 1954 may have outlawed separate and unequal on the books, I grew up across the river in Kansas City, Missouri and there, Jim Crow continued to have us on the hooks. Racial separation was a real and constant feature in our lives even though the Supreme Court had said stop it, cut it out! Du Bois recognized and recorded our dignity and degradation as a people struggling, striving, and thriving under the clouds of white supremacy. It was a decade after Brown, before White campuses operating with all deliberate speed finally began to accept Black students in any substantial numbers under pressure from the courts and from federal enforcement agencies, and not to forget, their response to the explosion of urban riots across the country, a.k.a. urban rebellions. But significantly, by 1975, the majority of Black college students were attending traditionally White institutions. Ten years before, the majority of our college students had been at historically Black colleges and universities. Du Bois predicted that the problem of higher education is going to be primarily a problem of the state. Now given the height and importance of a college degree in today’s society, higher education has become and continues to be an intense battleground for racial equity. Public universities and institutions account for the majority of U.S. college graduates. This is especially true for Blacks, as shown by the results from a 40-year empirical study of the status of millions of Black students. We studied enrollment and completion trends for Black college students since 1975 at four-year public universities in
the 20 states with the largest numerical Black populations. In each state, we focused on the state flagship university, the prominent Black serving institutions (BSIs) and where present, the most prominent HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities). Traditionally, BSIs have played very important roles in the higher education of Black students because they have for reasons of history, economics, and geography concentrated and regularly graduated Black students. Summarizing our findings across that 40-year period studied, the overall proportion of Black undergraduates enrolled in Black and public flagship institutions has remained consistently low. Significantly, Black undergraduate enrollment at flagship institutions has reliably been below the proportional representation of Black people in the state. A striking example is Mississippi, where Black people are nearly 40% of the state population but only 13% of undergraduates enrolled at the University of Mississippi. Black undergraduates enrolled at UC Berkeley, UCLA, University of Michigan, and Texas, Austin, was 4% or lower in 2015. This, despite the fact
A half century after the Civil Rights Movement, we have the Black Lives Matter movement and students demonstrating for greater campus diversity. Race-ethnic stereotypes and discrimination are deeply embedded in our society and do great harm to students of color. I am encouraged that many young scholars in the field are determined to confront, research and solve these inequities.
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We are graduating young men and women with an intense and overwhelming appetite for wealth and no reasonable way of gratifying it, no philosophy for counteracting it. Universities are also feeling the economic pressures resulting from government refusal to pay for quality higher education. Sadly this trend is fueled by society’s reluctance to invest in the higher education of an increasingly non-White demographic.
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that the Black population in those states was as follows: 7% in California, 15% in Michigan, 13% in Texas. The percentage of Black undergraduates enrolled only reached double figures at five state flagship institutions nationally: The University of Alabama, Louisiana State University, Maryland College Park, and the University of Mississippi. The State University of New York, Albany had the highest percent Black enrollment at 17%. Over the period studied, BSIs showed the most prominent growth in educating Black college students. This seems to support anti-affirmative action arguments. You have Black students rejected from flagships who will simply cascade down to lower ranked institutions better suited to their academic qualifications. Don’t buy the hype! In that, this pattern of displacement—the removal of Blacks from higher status, more elite, public higher education institutions—represents substantial net losses in overall Black undergraduate enrollment. So, you see a mixed picture with
the BSIs but ultimately, it’s a picture of more losses than gains. Our analyses revealed that while Black students increasingly attended low tiered BSIs, Black enrollment at public flagship institutions remained stagnant, or in most cases, declined. Although Black students are mostly denied admission into the ivory gates of “Public Ivy” Campuses ... HBCUs and BSIs offer those students opportunities to attend and complete college. By comparison, Black students have largely declined in numbers at the nation’s most elite publics. By contrast, HBCUs only represent a mere 3% of all institutions of higher learning in this country. Yet in any given year HBCUs produce 25% of the Black students who graduate with B.A. degrees.
BLACK HIGHER EDUCATION— WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?
lack students demanding change at Howard University recently ended their occupation of the administration building. Many of their demands were of the most basic sort: better dorms and food; an end to sexual harassment and discrimination on campus; and expanding the student voice in shared governments. However, the students also made demands … calling for fundamental changes in the university and in the society to address racism, sexism, homophobia, poverty, and state violence. In this respect, those Howard University students shared tactics and goals with the Black Lives Matter movement driven nationally by young, Black, and multicultural students, community activists, and related groups. No doubt, many of the Howard students straddled both movements as they demand more relevant education rooted in the real world and as they seek solutions to the problems that plague their own lives and those of their friends, families, and communities. We too, once dreamed of a new different world that we were determined to risk life, limb, and, heaven forbid, even career, to realize. These students recognize and call out inherent contradictions that Du Bois pointed to. In 1930, when he asked, “What is the true purpose and value of higher education?” (Here I have to correct him and expand a bit. He was talking about men, but we mean everybody.) He said, “The whole question as to what the education of Negroes was
truly aiming at is the matter of a man or a woman’s earning a living. The object of education is not only to make men or women competent but to make complete men or women.” So, the tension between work and education, which he spoke to in his 1930 graduation speech at Howard University, continues to plague higher education today. Economics and economic inequality challenge the integrity of this enterprise on all levels. Students stagger under the crushing burden of loan debt and are frustrated and discouraged after graduation when they fail to find economically viable employment. Today, as in 1930, quoting Du Bois, “We are graduating young men and women with an intense and overwhelming appetite for wealth and no reasonable way of gratifying it, no philosophy for counteracting it. Universities are also feeling the economic pressures resulting from government refusal to pay for quality higher education. Sadly this trend is fueled by society’s reluctance to invest in the higher education of an increasingly non-White demographic.”
Du Bois then poses an interesting question as follow-up: “How are we going to place the Black American on a sure foundation in the modern state?” The modern state is primarily businesses. The world must eat before it can think. The Negro has not found a solid foundation in that state as yet. He is mainly the unskilled laborer, the casual employee, the man or woman hired last and fired first. The man or woman who must subsist upon the lowest wage and consequently share a new burden of poverty, crime, insanity, and ignorance.” So, speaking from beyond the grave, Du Bois’ voice joins an emerging and present college student leadership and movement. These young people challenge us to revisit and revamp our approaches to higher education in order to emphasize, “first, training as human beings in general knowledge and experience, then technical training to guide and do a specific part of the world’s work.” It is essential that academics and universities join with Du Bois to recognize that three great things are necessary for the spiritual equipment of the institution of learning: “Freedom of spirit, self-knowledge, and a recognition of the truth.” Our young Black and multicultural students at Howard University and across the country do us a great service when they insist that we re-discover and manifest our better selves. To them, I say, Amen and Thank You.
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WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY COLLEGE?” A Critical Race Analysis of Latina/o Students and Their Pathways to Community College
BY TANYA J. GAXIOLA SERRANO
ANYA J. GAXIOLA SERRANO IS A RECENT PH.D. GRADUATE OF UCLA’S DIVISION OF SOCIAL SCIENCES AND COMPARATIVE EDUCATION (’18, RACE AND ETHNIC
STUDIES) AND FORMERLY WORKED AS ASSISTANT DIRECTOR OF THE CENTER FOR CRITICAL RACE STUDIES AT UCLA. Gaxiola Serrano has examined the college trajectories of Latina/o students through the lens of critical race theory. In a recently published article in the Community College Journal of Research and Practice, she presents the barriers that Latina/o students face, such as institutional racism, exclusionary academic tracking, lack of information on college and college-prep courses, and the low expectations of teachers and administrators. She posits that these conditions lead to disproportionately high enrollments of Latina/o students in community colleges over four-year institutions of higher learning. Born in Los Angeles and raised in Tijuana, Gaxiola Serrano and her family migrated back to the United States when she was in elementary school, settling in Chula Vista, California. Her father
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E XCE R PTS F R O M THE ARTICL E IN
Community College Journal of Research and Practice 20 1 7, VO L. 4 1
was a transnational worker who crossed the border legally each day, and her mother was a preschool teacher. Gaxiola Serrano, who has done extensive research on other aspects of the lives of Latina/o community college students, says her findings “[challenge] the narrative that Latina/o students don’t care about higher education or that they are lazy or unfit for it.” “They want to be journalists, a chef, an attorney, a marine biologist,” she says. “They want to get Ph.D.s. In terms of their careers and professions, they all have awesome career paths that they are trying to take.”
s a group, Latina/o students are more likely to experience a substandard K–12 education complete with under resourced schools, high teacher turnover, and fewer college-preparatory courses. It is this same inferior education that denies many Latina/o high school students the opportunity to engage in college-choice—leading to their disproportionate enrollment in community colleges over 4-year colleges or universities. In California alone, approximately 75% of Latina/o students in higher education can be found in the community college sector—making this an important pathway for many Latina/o students. The initial findings suggest that racism in K–12 in the forms of tracking, limited college information, and low expectations from academic personnel had a direct impact on the postsecondary experiences and opportunities available to L atina/o students. Latinas/os are one of the fastest growing groups in the United States, with 55 million people (U.S. Census Bureau, 2015). The increase in the Latina/o population continues to transform the student bodies found in academic institutions from preschool to graduate and professional schools (Fry & Lopez, 2012). Specifically, we have witnessed a rise in the enrollment of Latinas/os in community college over any other sector of higher education. While there has been a surge in the number of Latinas/os in postsecondary education, particularly community colleges, the educational attainment gap still persists with “only 12.7% of all Latino adults hav[ing] a baccalaureate degree compared to 30% of Whites” (Zarate & Burciaga, 2010, p. 25). In other words, a higher number of Latinas/os in higher education does not equate to an increase in the attainment of college degrees for this group. The educational inequality present for Latina/o students does not begin in higher education; rather, it is present all throughout the educational pipeline. Latina/o students experience institutionalized racism in their elementary, secondary, and postsecondary education with fewer students progressing from one step to the next (Ladson-Billings & Tate, 1995; Yosso & Solórzano, 2006). Encountering substandard and underresourced schools in racially segregated neighborhoods and communities, high push-out rates, and low college enrollment and completion percentages lead to disproportionate schooling outcomes for Latina/o students, something that has become the norm rather than the exception (Valenzuela, 1999).
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Community colleges enroll the majority of students of color in higher education in part due to their open access policies providing all interested the “opportunity” to enter and participate in higher education. Community colleges are also generally much less costly in tuition than 4-year colleges and universities. For reasons similar to these, community colleges are known to be the big equalizer in our society as they democratize higher education (Boggs, 2010). In 2014–2015, the California Community College (CCC) system matriculated close to one million Latina/o students, accounting for 42% of their student body (California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office, 2015). Unfortunately, only 14% of the Latinas/os in the CCC system persist to transfer to a 4-year university making this one of the highest pushout points in the educational pipeline (Solórzano, Acevedo-Gil, & Santos, 2013). This educational disparity is alarming, and it calls for the improvement of retention and transfer pathways for Latina/o students in community colleges (Chapa & Schink, 2006; Moore & Shulock, 2010; Ornelas & Solórzano, 2004; Rivas, Perez, Alvarez, & Solórzano, 2007).
Racism as experienced by the students consisted of events inside and outside of their schools, whether in K–12 or community college. More specifically, the students themselves mentioned how they experienced racism through (a) being placed in the noncollege track while in K–12, (b) receiving limited information on preparation for college and the application process, and (c) suffering from a lack of encouragement and support from school stakeholders. 34 UCLA Ed&IS FALL 2018
Instances of institutional racism were a common occurrence as expressed in the counterstories provided by the study’s participants. Racism as experienced by the students consisted of events inside and outside of their schools, whether in K–12 or community college. More specifically, the students themselves mentioned how they experienced racism through (a) being placed in the noncollege track while in K–12, (b) receiving limited information on preparation for college and the application process, and (c) suffering from a lack of encouragement and support from school stakeholders—all leading to negative experiences and disengagement in high school and, ultimately, to their enrollment in community colleges.
EXCLUSIONARY TRACKING FOR COLLEGE ACCESS Literature on the K–12 schooling experiences of Latina/o students states how placing students in noncollege tracks is a common occurrence for this population (Yun & Moreno, 2006). Consequently, Latina/o students experience an inequitable education compared to their White counterparts early in their academic career, leaving them unprepared for college and with limited postsecondary options (Valenzuela, 1999). In the case of Laura, who migrated from Mexico to the U.S. at the age of four, she explains how her experience as an immigrant student with limited English proficiency led her to being enrolled in bilingual classrooms up until 3rd grade, which she further described as “bilingual meaning Spanish.” During 4th grade, Laura was identified as a gifted student and
Research on the schooling experiences of limited English proficiency students has demonstrated how these students get disproportionately and wrongfully placed in special education classrooms filled with students with behavioral problems.
transitioned into an all-English classroom at a pilot school. Although this experience should have marked her transition and placement in a regular English track, Laura still experienced a form of tracking early in her academic career during her elementary years: “In fifth and sixth grade, I know now reflecting on it I wasn’t put in the class with all the advanced English speakers, I was put in the class with English speakers but with the kids that had more behavioral issues. I didn’t have really good teachers in fifth and sixth grade. I pretty much spent a lot of time being disciplined.” Research on the schooling experiences of limited English p roficiency students has demonstrated how these students get disproportionately and wrongfully placed in special education classrooms filled with students with behavioral problems (Callahan, 2005). This is problematic at many levels given that students who are placed in classrooms such as these get automatically labeled as special education students or students with behavior problems, even without the proper diagnosis (MacSwan & Rolstad, 2006). Being
negatively labeled at such an early age has a long-term impact on the education of these students, as they will continue to be placed in a noncollege track as they transition to middle school and high school, largely reducing their chances of attending college (Callahan, 2005). Furthermore, exiting the special education track and transitioning into a regular, noncollege track is also a hard task to do for these students and their families. Cristina, a first-generation college student and the oldest of three had a very negative and disempowering high school experience. When asked about her pathway to community college, she shared: “What led me [to enroll in a community college] was basically that I didn’t have a chance at getting into any college. And so my track was the community college track. I know the AP [advanced placement] and honors students were getting into UCLA [University of California, Los Angeles], into the top schools. That’s when I started to question my position, I was like wait, what do you mean by college?” Hence, for Cristina, much like as for Laura, her noncollege tracking started UCLA Ed&IS FALL 2018 35
early on in her academic career, before she was able to have the language and tools to speak back to this type of racial discrimination and systematic oppression. The experience of Cristina can be taken as a piece of evidence of the different forms of racism that Latina/o students and their families face when attempting to navigate educational institutions starting in K–12 and beyond (Yosso, Smith, Ceja, & Solórzano, 2009).
LIMITED COLLEGE INFORMATION AND THE PRISON PIPELINE
Tanya Gaxiola Serrano, ’18 Ph.D. in Race and Ethnic Studies, is currently serving her Ford Dissertation Year Fellowship at UCLA, and in 2019 will enter a tenure-track position in the department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at UTSA. She earned her M.Ed. from the University of Utah.
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Access to college information and preparation has also been found to be a key component in the experiences of disenfranchised students of color. Research studies have found that Latina/o students largely attend schools that suffer from finite resources including limited AP and honors courses; impoverished facilities; unprepared teachers and few counselors in largely overcrowded schools; and limited college preparation, information, and workshops (Kozol, 1991, 2005; Valenzuela, 1999; Vaught, 2011). The students in this study all shared how very little information on college was received throughout their high
school career from not once meeting with an academic counselor to first finding out about college only a few months before high school was over. Julian, a third-generation Chicano, explained how he would always receive good grades, but was never chosen to enroll in AP classes or any other college-track courses during high school. “There was like zero college prep, it was just taking those general classes. My high school didn’t have, at least for myself, didn’t have any college prep, it was only about meeting those graduation requirements. It was never like, what’s the steps after. I wouldn’t say I had any college prep, it was just like meeting those general requirements. I was never approached by anybody, like I didn’t see any counselors at all throughout my entire high school experience except for one time when I was forced because I got in trouble for something. But besides that I didn’t see any academic counselors.” College preparation is vital to the success of students like Julian who are first-generation college students and do not have readily available resources to prepare and guide them through the process. He highlighted how the only time he met with an academic counselor was when he got in trouble and was required to attend a meeting. In this instance, Julian, like many Latino students, was not called in to see an academic counselor to discuss his future career plans or to receive information on college, but instead, to be reprimanded. We can imagine how such experiences in high school support the well-documented
school-to-prison pipeline for Latinos (Valles & Villalpando, 2013). This intractable pattern for schools to treat students like delinquents further reinforces the master narrative that Latinos are not meant to be in academic spaces as they threaten the school safety. These experiences directly affect the academic identity Latino males hold of themselves and how others come to view them as well as reinforce derogatory stereotypes based on race and gender.
LOW EXPECTATIONS AND LACK OF ENCOURAGEMENT AND SUPPORT The lack of encouragement and support from teachers, counselors, and other school stakeholders further inhibits the academic identities of Latinas/os as successful students with academic potential beyond high school. The [study] participants suffered from low expectations, support, and encouragement, and these forms of institutional racism ultimately led to having poor experiences in the classroom and disengagement. The limited nurturing of Latina/o students in the classroom has been linked to the high pushout rates of these group in the literature. For example, a study done by Aviles, Guerrero, Howarth, and Thomas (1999) demonstrated how Chicano students did not drop out as commonly as referred to in the mainstream education literature; instead, they were facilitated out or pushed out. The study further confirmed this by sharing how a “combination of lowered teacher expectations and encouragement on the part of school personnel to opt out of mainstream education facilitated a steady exodus of Chicano/Latino students out of the school system” (Aviles et al., 1999, p. 469). This statement begins to explore how not only are the low teacher expectations harmful to the academic success of students, but also how other school stakeholders, such as counselors and administrators, also provided very little support and encouragement to their success.
CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS Community colleges can begin responding to this inequity by supporting the educational success of their large Latina/o student body. K–12 schools and community colleges can help improve the pathways of K–12 to community college for Latina/o students by (a) ending tracking practices that constantly exclude and further marginalize students, (b) providing students college preparation and information, and (c) nurturing the academic identities of students. Noncollege tracked students find themselves with limited postsecondary educations albeit their college-going aspirations. The lack of available college-level courses directly impacts the future academic experiences and college choice for these students. The nurturing of academic identities should continue for students when they enter community colleges. Incorporating pedagogical practices that hold students accountable to high expectations while also understanding their experiences as a marginalized group can strengthen the academic careers and future pathway of these students. Centering the counterstories of Latina/o graduate students provides scholars, educators, and practitioners the opportunity to learn from their trajectory and experiences while being critical of majoritarian discourses. Although students of color have access to higher education via the pathway of community college, we have seen in the literature that access does not equate to successful degree attainment. Yet, in order to begin to chip away at institutional racism, we first need to hear these experiences through the voices of those situated at the margins. It is only after our society can acknowledge the impact of racism in education that we will be able to deconstruct the practices that support educational inequalities for Latina/o students and students of color in general.
Yet, in order to begin to chip away at institutional racism, we first need to hear these experiences through the voices of those situated at the margins. It is only after our society can acknowledge the impact of racism in education that we will be able to deconstruct the practices that support educational inequalities for Latina/o students and students of color in general.
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The UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies’ magazine highlights the public scholarship of our faculty. We shine our light...
Published on Sep 27, 2018
The UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies’ magazine highlights the public scholarship of our faculty. We shine our light...