Race has regularly been a part my research/work, but I have never focused squarely on school integration. At times, the blog may reflect growing pains in my knowledge development about school segregation and/or my exploration of personal privilege. I am an education policy researcher, which requires me to visit schools at the K-12 and higher ed level regularly as part of research projects for various clients. Discussion on the blog will in no way represent the thoughts, perspectives etc of my employer or our clients and partners. I will draw from my experiences in schools, but I will never identify any locations, schools or people that I work with. Before finding my current job, I completed a doctoral program in Curriculum and Instruction at Boston College. While I aim to have a general working knowledge of all areas of public education policy, the primary focus of my research so far has been democratic engagement in educational policy development, explored in my dissertation and in shorter related publications (see here and here). I hope that readers with more experience in school (de)segregation will use the comments to push me for better, more nuanced, and more productive thinking about this topic.
Of course, to talk honestly about race in schooling requires recognition of personal background and privilege. I plan to incorporate personal experience where relevant in subsequent posts and this is another area where I want to encourage feedback or alternative perspectives from any readers. The short background is: I grew up in a reduced price lunch house, mostly raised by a single parent, in a predominately white and affluent community. We got there because we were able to rent (likely at a reduced rate) from family members who owned several properties in town, illustrating one way that the cultural privilege of whiteness can have a profound impact on low-income families. We were accepted without question into the community, formed friendships, and eventually bought a house on the street where we first rented. Schooling made all the difference for me, supporting increased personal and social awareness during tougher times that would come later in childhood. It then helped me to get to college, where I met my best friends and wife. And, my experience in school is what inspired me to stay in school as long as I could to study, well, schooling.
I’m recently a new dad to a baby girl born just a few weeks before the election. Her birth definitely magnified the feeling I had, following the election, that I wanted just to do something, anything really. I don’t want her to grow up in an America that is shaped by Donald Trump’s values, especially his stated beliefs about race and, of course, women. I want her to have many more opportunities than I did to interact with people from different backgrounds, and I certainly don’t want opportunities to be foreclosed for other parents whose families haven’t enjoyed the same privileges as ours.