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Peabody Journal of Education, Volume 86, Issue 5, 2011

Postracialism in U.S. Public School and Higher Education Settings: The Politics of Education in the Age of Obama

 According to some political pundits and journalists, the 2008 presidential election of Barack Obama heralded the United States' entrance into a "postracial" society. With an African American president in the White House, the US had moved past issues of race and racism and entered into a period of "color blindness." In this edition of the Peabody Journal of Education: Issues of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations, guest editors Enrique Aleman, Jr., Timothy Salazar, Andrea Rorrer, and Laurence Parker question the truth of this supposed postracial society. Centering their analysis on the politics and policies of America's K-12 public education system, the guest editors criticize the notion that Barack Obama's election facilitated the formation of a new postracial society. The issue, entitled "Postracialism in U.S. Public School and Higher Education Settings: The Politics of Education in the Age of Obama," explores unanswered questions about racial inequity in today's schools, arguing that the US cannot abandon its responsibility to supply all children with equitable education, no matter their race or background. Though President Obama's election was indeed historic, this issue contends that his election does not preclude efforts to improve the educational opportunities of all students, especially those of color.

The issue begins with an introductory piece by guest editors Aleman, Salazar, Rorrer, and Parker, which outlines the historical context of the rhetoric of postracialism. The next article by Kuntz, Gildersleeve, and Pasque shifts the conversation to the realm of higher education, analyzing whether the American Graduation Initiative (AGI), which marks a massive investment by the Obama administration in postsecondary education, has the implicit tendency to sustain and perhaps even increase pervasive social inequalities. Crawford and O'Neill then examine the legal and historical context of recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions dealing with desegregation. Analyzing these court cases through the lens of Gunnar Myrdal's An American Dilemma, the authors discuss the implications of recent decisions as they relate to current policy and law. Siegel-Hawley and Frankenberg build on Crawford and O'Neill's article by examining the local and federal response to the recent court case, Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District No. 1. The article argues that some school districts have had to redefine concepts of divesity in order to survive in an ever-changing and challenging political environment.

The next article by Paguyo and Moses addresses the place of race-conscious education policy in "postracial" America. The article examines the political rhetoric and language surrounding the antiaffirmative action initiative, Amendment 46. Using a qualitative analysis of media, statistics, messages, and data sources, Paguyo and Moses compare proponents and opponents of the measure, ultimately providing strategies for fostering increased communication about race-conscious measures. Scott concludes the issue with her article on education reform strategies, which describes the advocacy network supporting market-based schooling options for students of color.

The Peabody Journal of Education would like to extend its gratitude to Enrique Aleman, Jr., Timothy Salazar, Andrea Rorrer, and Laurence Parker for organizing this excellent issue.  The PJE is thankful as well to all the authors for their contributions, without which this issue on postracialism in U.S. public school and higher education settings would not have been possible. We hope practitioners and researchers alike will find this discussion insightful and useful.

CONTENTS
Journal abstracts are linked to titles.

Introduction to the Issue on Post-Racialism in U.S. Public School and Higher Education Settings: The Politics of Education in the Age of Obama
Enrique Aleman Jr., Timothy Salazar, Andrea Rorrer, and Laurence Parker
Peabody Journal of Education: Issues of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations, Vol. 86, No. 5: pages 479-487.

Obama's American Graduation Initiative: Race, Conservative Modernization, and a Logic of Abstraction
Aaron M. Kuntz, Ryan Evely Gildersleeve, and Penny A. Pasque
Peabody Journal of Education: Issues of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations, Vol. 86, No. 5: pages 488-505.

A Mere Footnote? An American Dilemma and Supreme Court School Desegregation Jurisprudence
Jon G. Crawford and Linda J. O'Neill
Peabody Journal of Education: Issues of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations, Vol. 86, No. 5: pages 506-528.

Redefining Diversity: Political Responses to the Post-PICS Environment
Genevieve Siegel-Hawley and Erica Frankenberg
Peabody Journal of Education: Issues of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations, Vol. 86, No. 5: pages 529-552.

Debating Affirmative Action: Politics, Media, and Equal Opportunity in a "Postracial" America
Christina H. Paguyo and Michele S. Moses
Peabody Journal of Education: Issues of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations, Vol. 86, No. 5: pages 553-579.

Market-Driven Education Reform and the Racial Politics of Advocacy
Janelle T. Scott
Peabody Journal of Education: Issues of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations, Vol. 86, No. 5: pages 580-599.


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