SOAN 310

Critiquing Education

Measuring students, norming test results, ranking students and schools, and ?racing to the top? are endeavors that produce, according to a competitive paradigm, not only triumphant winners, but also deficient losers. Are there better, more inclusive and more socially just ways to envision and carry out the mission of education? How else might stigmatized students ? those who are often perceived only as marginalized, ?broken,? and in need of ?fixing? ? be seen and positively incorporated in school systems? This course explores these and related questions, using an anthropological approach to identify the possible riches as well as perceived liabilities ?brought to school? by those students who often struggle disproportionately in most educational systems. They include students whose biopsychological functioning is different enough for them to be labeled as ?disabled?; students who are poor or have access to very limited economic resources; aboriginal students still negatively affected by their parents and grandparents having been forced to live far from family and home in residential boarding schools; and students whose home language is either a language other than English or a devalued variety of English. Class readings include both ethnographic accounts of such students? lived experiences as well as investigations of various proposed policies of school reform.