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Does School Participatory Budgeting Increase Students’ Political Efficacy? Bandura’s “Sources,” Civic Pedagogy, and Education for Democracy

Does School Participatory Budgeting Increase Students’ Political Efficacy? Bandura’s “Sources,” Civic Pedagogy, and Education for Democracy

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Does school participatory budgeting (SPB) increase students’ political efficacy? SPB, which is implemented in thousands of schools around the world, is a democratic process of deliberation and decision-making in which students determine how to spend a portion of the school’s

Does school participatory budgeting (SPB) increase students’ political efficacy? SPB, which is implemented in thousands of schools around the world, is a democratic process of deliberation and decision-making in which students determine how to spend a portion of the school’s budget. We examined the impact of SPB on political efficacy in one middle school in Arizona. Our participants’ (n = 28) responses on survey items designed to measure self-perceived growth in political efficacy indicated a large effect size (Cohen’s d = 1.46), suggesting that SPB is an effective approach to civic pedagogy, with promising prospects for developing students’ political efficacy.

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2021-05-01

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Voices of social justice activist educators in Arizona

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The passing of anti-immigrant legislation in the state of Arizona over the last decade has exacerbated an already oppressive system perpetuated by globalization and its byproducts, neoliberalism and neoconservativism. The social justice activist educators who live and work with the

The passing of anti-immigrant legislation in the state of Arizona over the last decade has exacerbated an already oppressive system perpetuated by globalization and its byproducts, neoliberalism and neoconservativism. The social justice activist educators who live and work with the children and families most affected by these laws and policies must learn to navigate these controls if they hope to sustain their work. I have drawn from Freire's work surrounding the theories of praxis and conscientization to explain the motivation of these teachers, and the sociological theory of Communities of Practice (Lave & Wenger, 1991; Wenger, 1998; & Wenger, McDermott, & Snyder, 2002), to explain how the group, Arizona Teachers for Justice serves as a space of learning and support for these educators. This dissertation is a multiple case study and has employed semi-structured interviews with four social justice activist educators to understand how social justice activist educators in Arizona cope and sustain their teaching and activism, particularly through their membership in groups such as Arizona Teachers for Justice. The teachers in this study are each at different stages in their careers and each teaches in a different setting and/or grade level. This cross section provides multiple perspectives and varied lenses through which to view the struggles and triumphs of social justice activist educators in the state of Arizona. The teachers in this study share their experiences of being singled out for their activism and explain the ways they cope with such attacks. They explain how they manage to fulfill their dedication to equity by integrating critical materials while adhering to common core standards. They express the anger that keeps them fighting in the streets and the fears that keep them from openly rejecting unjust policies. The findings of this study contribute to the discussion of how to not only prepare social justice activist educators, but ways of supporting and sustaining their very crucial work. Neoliberal and neoconservative attacks on education are pervasive and it is critical that we prepare teachers to face these structural pressures if we hope to ever change the dehumanizing agenda of these global powers.

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2013

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Neighborhood development and school-community partnerships: the case of Barrio Promesa

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This study explores community development initiatives and school-community partnerships that took place during the period 1998 - 2010 in Barrio Promesa, a Hispanic immigrant neighborhood within a large metropolitan area of the South Western United States. More specifically, it examines

This study explores community development initiatives and school-community partnerships that took place during the period 1998 - 2010 in Barrio Promesa, a Hispanic immigrant neighborhood within a large metropolitan area of the South Western United States. More specifically, it examines the initiatives and partnerships carried out through three main sectors of social actors: a) elected officials, public administrators and their agencies of the city; b) the neighborhood elementary school and school district administration; and c) civil society inclusive of non-profit agencies, faith-based organizations and businesses entities. This study is bounded by the initiation of development efforts by the city on the front end. The neighborhood school complex became the center of educational and social outreach anchoring nearly all collaborations and interventions. Over time agents, leadership and alliances changed impacting the trajectory of development initiatives and school community partnerships. External economic and political forces undermined development efforts which led to a fragmentation and dismantling of initiatives and collaborations in the later years of the study. Primary threads in the praxis of community development and school-community partnerships are applied in the analysis of initiatives, as is the framework of social capital in understanding partnerships within the development events. Specific criteria for analysis included leadership, collaboration, inclusivity, resources, and sustainability. Tensions discovered include: 1) intra-agency conflict, 2) program implementation, 3) inter-agency collaboration, 4) private-public-nonprofit partnerships, and 5) the impact of public policy in the administration of public services. Actors' experiences weave a rich tapestry composed of the essential threads of compassion and resilience in their transformative human agency at work within the global urban gateway of Barrio Promesa. Summary, conclusions and recommendations include: 1) strategies for the praxis of community development, inclusive of establishing neighborhood based development agency and leadership; 2) community development initiative in full partnership with the neighborhood school; 3) the impact of global migration on local development practices; and 4) the public value of personal and civil empowerment as a fundamental strategy in community development practices, given the global realities of many urban neighborhoods throughout the United States, and globally.

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2014

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Prototypes of "preschool" in Arizona, 1987 to 2014

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This dissertation identified ideas and prototypes framing the notion of “preschool” in two types of influential public discourses in Arizona during the 1987-2014: a) editorials, op-editorials, and opinion letters appearing in the Arizona Republic and Arizona Daily Star and b)

This dissertation identified ideas and prototypes framing the notion of “preschool” in two types of influential public discourses in Arizona during the 1987-2014: a) editorials, op-editorials, and opinion letters appearing in the Arizona Republic and Arizona Daily Star and b) political documents, including Senate and House Committee Meeting Notes and Comments, Gubernatorial Speeches, Executive Orders, Comments, Proclamations, Memos, and Press Releases. Seventy seven newspaper articles and 43 political documents that substantively addressed debates about preschool in Arizona were identified from an initial pool of 631 documents, of which, 568 were newspaper articles and 63 were political documents.

This dissertation argues little progress can be made in education policy by ignoring the unconscious and automatic levels of thinking, which are not easily dissuaded with rational and factual arguments. Haas and Fischman’s (2010) model for identifying prototypes provided an analytical method to capture the richness and diversity of the educational policy debate about preschool in Arizona. Prototypes captured the values, ideologies and attitudes behind the discourse of “preschool.” Prototypes provide a window into the unconscious thoughts of the authors of the editorials, op-editorials, opinion letters and political documents. This research identified five newspaper prototypes: “Last Resort,” “Community and Family,” “Evidence-Based for At-Risk Children,” “New Knowledge Community,” and “Learner of 21st Century.” It also identified four political political prototypes: ,three of them (“Community and Family,” “Evidence-Based for At-Risk Children,” “Learner of 21st Century”) were aligned with the newspaper prototypes. The fourth prototype was “Arizona Citizen.”

This research concluded that: (1) Multiple “truths” of the concept of “preschool in the newspaper and political documents existed between 1987 and 2014, (2) An inter-relational cross-over existed between the newspaper and political documents effecting the policy debate of preschool, and (3) In less than 30 years, the newspaper and political prototypes narrowed to one. Movement away from the rational policy model, and a broader use of prototypes and discourse analysis in education policymaking, is advocated.

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2015

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A multiplicity of successes: capabilities, refuge, and pathways in contemporary community colleges

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Community colleges, like all higher education institutions in the United States, have not been immune to the increased national focus on educational accountability and institutional effectiveness over the past three decades. Federal and non-governmental initiatives aimed at tracking and reporting

Community colleges, like all higher education institutions in the United States, have not been immune to the increased national focus on educational accountability and institutional effectiveness over the past three decades. Federal and non-governmental initiatives aimed at tracking and reporting on institutional outcomes have focused on utilitarian academic and economic measures of student success that homogenize the goals, aspirations, and challenges of the individuals who attend these unique open-access institutions. This dissertation, which is comprised of three submission-ready scholarly peer-reviewed articles, examined community college students’ conceptualizations and valuations of “student success.” The research project was designed as a multiple methods single-site case study, and the data sources consisted of a large-scale student e-survey, follow-up semi-structured interviews with a heterogeneous group of students, semi-structured interviews with faculty and administrators, and a review of institutional documents. The interviews also incorporated two experimental visual elicitation techniques and a participatory ranking exercise. Article One introduces and operationalizes the author’s primary conceptual perspective, the capabilities approach, to develop a more comprehensive framework for understanding and evaluating community college student outcomes. This article documents the methodological process used to generate a theoretical and an empirical list of community college capabilities, which serve as the basis of future capabilities-based research on community college student success. Article Two draws on the student interview and student visual elicitation data to explore the capability category of “refuge” – a new, unexpected, and student-valued purpose of the community college as a safe escape from the complexities and demands of personal, home, and work life. In light of recent efforts to promote more structured and prescriptive college experiences to improve graduation rates, Article Three explores students’ perceptions of their pathways through the community college using the participant-generated and researcher-generated visual elicitation data. Findings indicate that students value the structure and the flexibility community colleges offer, as well as their own ability to be agents and architects of their educational experience. Taken together, these articles suggest that student success is less linear and more rhizomatic in structure than it is currently portrayed in the literature.

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2015