Peabody Journal of Education, Volume 91, Issue 3, 2016
Race and Place: How Suburban Schools Respond to Increasing Racial Diversity
Introduction: Race and Place: How Suburban Schools Respond to Increasing Racial Diversity
Alison C. Tyler and Erica Frankenberg, Pennsylvania State University
Jennifer B. Ayscue, University of California—Los Angeles
Over the last forty years, the suburbs have experienced dramatic increases in racial/ethnic and socioeconomic diversity (Frey, 2014), while suburban schools have had surges in enrollment (Frankenberg, Lee & Orfield, 2003). This issue addresses the diversification of suburbia by explaining how and why suburban schools respond to growing racial/ethnic, socioeconomic, and linguistic diversity. The volume covers this topic in three sections: section one, conceptualizing diversity and change; section two, responses to demographic change, and section three change in suburban high schools.
CONTENT OF THIS ISSUE
The first section addresses how suburban schools and their communities conceive of the increasing diversity of their schools. In “‘Really Just Lip Service’: Talking About Diversity in Suburban Schools” Alison C. Tyler’s analysis of qualitative data shows how teachers’ beliefs about the increasing diversity in their schools have an effect on their schools’ response to their changing demographics and the school experiences of their minority students.
A second article by R. L’Heureux Lewis-McCoy examines the diversification of schools from the perspective of the black community, specifically the black parents’ views on their sons’ experiences in suburban schools. In Lewis-McCoy’s qualitative analysis, parents expressed concern about their sons’ teachers’ attitudes. In addition, they verbalized worries about the effects of race, class and gender prejudices in society on their sons’ choices and behaviors. For example, would their sons reach their potential and form solid relationships with the opposite sex, in spite of potentially damaging stereotypes that surround them daily?
Both of these articles wrestle with idea of colorblindness and the way these changing communities are talking about race. The authors draw similar conclusions that it is necessary for communities to be aware of the differences that minority students bring to the table without grouping these students together. Simply put, students should be treated as individuals with their own needs and talents.
Section II speaks to particular policy responses to the schools’ changing demographics. Jennifer B. Ayscue’s article, “Promising or Potentially Harmful? Suburban School Responses to Racial Change,” examines how 19 different schools are responding to racial change. Her findings indicate that schools employ some helpful new procedures and others that are not. Rebecca Lowenhaupt’s article addresses the policies of schools in Wisconsin that are attempting to adjust to the new influx of Latino students to the area. The geographic position of Wisconsin proves to be a huge factor in the policymaking as the schools seem ill-equipped to address EL Latino students’ needs adequately. For example, suburban schools incorporate little Spanish into instruction and few teachers know any Spanish. Students, however, are more likely to be included, not separated from, non-EL students.
In a similar vein, “Shifting the Zone of Mediation in a Suburban New Immigrant Destination: Community Boundary Spanners and School District Policymaking” by Kristina Brezicha and Megan Hopkins describes the challenges that new Latino community members face in suburban communities. This article shows how “boundary spanners,” allies from the white community help their communities improve their perceptions of these populations, eventually allowing these students to be more fully embraced as members (not outsiders) in the community.
Section III zeroes in on changes that occur specifically in suburban high schools. Erica Frankenberg, Jennifer B. Ayscue, and Alison C. Tyler’s “Diversifying High Schools in Racially Changing Suburban Districts: Expanding Opportunity, Creating Barriers?” shows that the six schools considered in the study made strides to address the needs of the minorities entering the school, but still had a way to go. The policies provided some help—adequate information—but did not provide other needed services like transportation. In addition, the implementation of policies could improve as well.
A second article looks specifically at increasing minority students’ access to advanced placement coursework. M. Lance Rowland and Barbara J. Shircliffe’s “Confronting the ‘Acid Test:’ Educators’ Perspectives on Expanding Access to Advanced Placement at a Diverse Florida High School” shows practices do not make it easy for minority students to take these courses. Together with the high-rigor environment that is unwelcoming to students trying out a new challenge, the accountability systems in place often have negative consequences for including minority students.
Taken together these articles show that schools are making headway in addressing the needs of their changing schools; however, work still needs to be done to shore up gaps in services and to help make the policies already in place even more effective than they are currently. For example, while schools experiencing the “New Latino Diaspora” in Wisconsin include EL students in the mainstream classroom, research shows that use of some English in the classroom could make this environment more suitable for EL student. instruction.
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Race and Place: How Suburban Schools Respond to Increasing Racial Diversity
Alison C. Tyler, Erica Frankenberg, and Jennifer B. Ayscue
Peabody Journal of Education: Issues of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations, Vol. 91, No. 3: pages 283-288.
Section I: Conceptualizing Diversity and Change
“Really Just Lip Service”: Talking about Diversity in Suburban Schools
Alison C. Tyler
Peabody Journal of Education: Issues of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations, Vol. 91, No. 3: pages 289-308.
Boyz in the ‘Burbs: Parental Negotiation of Race and Class in Raising Black Males in Suburbia
R. L’Heureux Lewis-McCoy
Peabody Journal of Education: Issues of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations, Vol. 91, No. 3: pages 309-325.
Section II: Responses to Demographic Change
Promising or Potentially Harmful? Suburban School Responses to Racial Change
Jennifer B. Ayscue
Peabody Journal of Education: Issues of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations, Vol. 91, No. 3: pages 326-347.
Immigrant Acculturation in Suburban Schools Serving in the New Latino Diaspora
Peabody Journal of Education: Issues of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations, Vol. 91, No. 3: pages 348-365.
Shifting the Zone of Mediation in a Suburban New Immigrant Destination: Community Boundary Spanners and School District Policymaking
Katrina Brezicha and Megan Hopkins
Peabody Journal of Education: Issues of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations, Vol. 90, No. 3: pages 366-382.
Section III: Change in Suburban High Schools
Diversifying High Schools in Racially Changing Suburban Districts: Expanding Opportunities, Creating Barriers?
Erica Frankenberg, Jennifer B. Ayscue, and Alison C. Tyler
Peabody Journal of Education: Issues of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations, Vol. 91, No. 3: pages 383-403.
Confronting the “Acid Test”: Educators’ Perspectives on Expanding Access to Advanced Placement at a Diverse Florida High School
M. Lance Rowland and Barbara J. Shircliffe
Peabody Journal of Education: Issues of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations, Vol. 91, No. 3: pages 404-420.