Judith Herb College of Education



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This glossary is a collaborative and ongoing project of instructors of TSOC 3000 and is intended to give an introduction and overview of the key terms and concepts that are likely to be used in any section of TSOC 3000.  It is not complete and is intended as much as a site for ongoing discussion as a resource. 

Because this glossary is both collaborative and evolving, it is meant to serve as a basis for discussion—and an aid to entry into that discussion—rather than as authoritarian and agreed upon.  All concepts, events, and persons listed are complex, and most definitions were written by one person who intentionally simplified the matters for the sake of brevity.  Not all instructors, let alone any broader community, will agree entirely on any one definition. 

To some extent, this glossary can be seen as duplicative of glossaries found at the end of most textbooks on Social Foundations, and it should not be taken as trying to replace those.  However, this particular collection and discussions of the terms and concepts, as well as their citations, are unique and therefore can provide one view of the culture of TSOC 3000 at the University of Toledo.  


Academic freedom
Future teachers need to understand the difference between academic freedom and freedom of speech. Academic freedom refers to the ability for teachers to use their own judgment to make sound educational decisions within their discipline about what and how to teach. Those decisions must be deemed appropriate by those who would be knowledgeable in terms of age and curricular area. 

Affirmative Action
“The set of public policies and initiatives designed to help eliminate past and present discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin” (www.NOW.org).  The phrase "affirmative action" was first used by President Lyndon Johnson in his Executive Order 11246 (1965) requiring federal contractors to "take affirmative action to ensure that applicants are employed, and that employees are treated during employment, without regard to their race, creed, color, or national origin."  That executive order was expanded by Johnson in 1967 to include women.  Laws related to Affirmative Action include Title VII of the Civil Rights Law of 1964, which prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin, the Equal Pay Act of 1963(EPA), protecting men and women in the same institution who perform substantially equal work against sex-based wage discrimination; and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) of 1967, protecting individuals who are 40 years of age or older.  The NOW website notes:

Much of the opposition to affirmative action is framed on the grounds of so-called "reverse discrimination and unwarranted preferences." In fact, less than 2 percent of the 91,000 employment discrimination cases pending before the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission are reverse discrimination cases. Under the law as written in Executive Orders and interpreted by the courts, anyone benefiting from affirmative action must have relevant and valid job or educational qualifications.   


Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
Passed by Congress to ban discrimination against people with disabilities. This was amended in 1997 by the Individuals with Disabilities Act which promotes the inclusion of with disabilities in regular school classrooms.  Plans are mandated for all students with These are developed by including: parents, teachers, diagnosticians and administrators. For more information see American Education by Joel Spring.  


•    This has been an ideal of USA society and is often referred to as "the melting pot"

•    Especially in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, assimilation, or

"Americanization" was seen as a main purpose of public education in the USA

"The process in which an individual or group is absorbed into a new social context through a process of acculturation that results in the individual or group's original culture being replaced by the new culture" (Tozer et al., 2002, p. 527). The ideals of cultural pluralism and multicultural education have largely replaced the ideal of assimilation; however, the purpose of schooling being to "Americanize" and to teach the one, true American culture, as it is debated in the "culture wars" shows the continuation of the ideal of Assimilation among many in American society. 

Not intended to be understood as a standardized multiple choice tests only, but as the involvement of analyses and evaluation of student work by assessing their knowledge, comprehension, and application skills for a given task or subject.  School assessment can include: games, group work, service learning, and presentations. Students are also assessed to learn about particular learning needs that make them eligible for the federal government funded Individualized Education Programs (IEP) and Individual Family Service Programs (IFSP for pre-school children) (Oakes and Lipton, 2003). 

Bilingual education
This is teaching students whose first language is not English in that language and in English. The goal of all bilingual education programs in the U.S., as defined by bilingual educators, is to teach each student fluency in English; however, different programs also work toward maintenance of the student’s “home” language to different degrees—or not at all.  Bilingual education is in contrast to English as a Second Language (ESL programs) where the students are given special assistance English but are taught in English.  For further information see and Meeting the Challenge of Cultural Diversity by Eugene Garcia.

Brown vs. Board of Topeka

The Supreme Court decision in 1954 which reversed the Court’s earlier Plessy vs. Ferguson decision and made segregation illegal.   

The idea that people have certain rites by virtue of birth and residence. For further information see Paradoxes of Democracy: Fragility, Continuity and Change by Shmuel Noah Eisenstadt.  

See also “socioeconomic status,” below.  The degree to which a person lives above or below the poverty line (U.S. defined typically $14,000-$16,000 for a family of four). Class is generational (two or more generations living in poverty), or situational (first generation poverty due to issues such as divorce, death, illness, deployment, layoffs, injury, and natural disasters (Ruby Payne, 2001). In the U.S., social class is related to income, but more specifically debt-income ratio and disposable income (Payne, 2001). The recognized sections of classes including poverty class and/or working class; middle and upper middle class; and wealthy class all come with their own hidden and explicit rules and norms for survival and success within the U.S. national social and legal structures (Payne, 2001).   

Conflict Theory or Critical Theory
•    a sociological perspective for understanding social behavior derived from sociologist Max Weber [pronounced Vay-ber].

•    Emphasizes that achievement is not only a matter of individual merit and effort; rather, the opportunity for achievement depends on one's group memberships and this opportunity (or lack thereof) is much more influential in an individual's success than is her or his individual merit.

Sleeter & Grant (1999) define conflict theory in their discussion of the theoretical basis of their fifth type of multicultural education, Multicultural and Social Reconstructist. The main points of conflict theory are as follows:

First, social behavior is organized much more on a group basis than on an individual basis. Weber calls major social groupings 'status groups'.... Groupings do not necessarily have definite boundaries; what constitutes a group changes somewhat, depending on the situation. However, groupings do follow definite patterns, centering around family, level of wealth, geographic proximity, and religious and cultural ties.... 

Second, groups struggle with each other for control over resources and ideas.... You can probably think of examples of these scarce resources in your own community: jobs, land, housing, political influence, perhaps even food or water. You can also think of ideas and beliefs, like environmental issues and abortion, over which groups struggle.... 

The more scarce is the resource, the more intense is the struggle, and the more important group membership becomes. America has an ideology of individual achievement, but for the conflict theorist, this ideology masks a reality. The resources with which a person starts, the opportunities open to the person, the circumstances in which the person lives, and the way others react to the person all depend to a significant extent on the groups of which that person is a member. (Sleeter & Grant, 1999, p. 192) 

Critical Multicultural Education
•    Term used to indicate an approach to multicultural education that involves students in recognizing, analyzing, and developing ways to address or ameliorate social inequities such as socioeconomic oppression, racism, sexism, homophobia, and ablism.

•    Distinguishes this approach from other approaches to multicultural education which might focus only on knowledge of diverse groups' cultures and appreciation of diverse cultural forms, such as foods, holidays, or stories (published or oral) by members of diverse ethnic groups.  (See Oakes and Lipton for further discussion.) 

Critical Pedagogy
This philosophy of education builds upon the ideas of social meliorism (using education to improve society) to move students and teachers into proactive roles to change themselves as well as society. "Critical pedagogy connects schooling with actions to enhance the quality of life" (Teachers, Schools and Society 6th edition, p. 249).  Paulo Freire's work is a major example of this approach (See Pedagogy of the Oppressed).

•    Based on the work of Paulo Freire, a Brazilian educator aiming to uplift oppressed peoples, Critical Pedagogy as an educational method begun in the 1970s.

•    Critical Pedagogy also involves Social Reconstructionist scrutiny

According to Friere, "most educational systems attempt to integrate oppressed people into the very social system that caused their oppression" (Spring, p. 249). In Critical Pedagogy, "Students and teachers are involved in a 'subversive activity' and decision making and social action skills are the basis of the curriculum" (Nieto, quoted in Spring p. 159). Critical Pedagogy should help "students to understand the extent to which cultures can differ" (Spring, 160).   The overall goal of Critical Pedagogy is to "help students understand cultural domination and how they can end it" (Spring, 160). That is, Friere's goal was "to provide an educational methodology that will teach people to understand the economic and political forces determining the structure of society and that will prepare them to work for social change" (Spring, p. 249). The key method to Critical Pedagogy is teachers' problem-posing. "Teachers pose problems about aspects of their students' lives. Students and teachers then engage in a dialogue about these problems" (Spring, p. 250). 

"Culture consists of the values, traditions, social and political relationships, and worldview created, shared, and transformed by a group of people bound together by a common history, geographic location, language, social class, and/or religion. Culture includes not only tangibles such as foods, holidays, dress, and artistic expression, but also less tangible manifestations such as communication style, attitudes, values, and family relationships. These features of culture are often more difficult to pinpoint, but doing so is necessary if we want to understand how student learning may be affected" (Nieto, 2000, pp. 139-140). "Culture is conceptualized as a dynamic and complex process of construction" with both visible and "invisible and implied characteristics" (Banks & Banks, 2003, p. 1). 

Cultural Capital
•    Refers to cultural knowledge and ways of doing things that are valued within a particular cultural arena and therefore can be used, or "invested," by the person who has that knowledge in order to advance and prosper in that arena.

•    Most commonly referred lo in discussing how some groups' cultural knowledge is NOT valued in dominant culture settings like schools.

A term first coined by French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu in Outline of a Theory of Practice.  Nieto (2000) summarizes Bourdieu: 

Cultural capital can exist in three forms: dispositions of the mind and body; cultural goods, such as pictures, books, and other material objects; and educational qualifications. In all three forms, transmission of cultural capital is, according lo Bourdieu, 'no doubt the best hidden form of hereditary transmission of capital.' That is, the values, tastes, languages, dialects, and cultures that have most status are invariably associated with the dominant group. As a consequence, the weight of cultural capital cannot be ignored. (Nieto, 2000, p. 234) 

A classic example of how cultural capital works is in the learning of foreign languages in US schools. Immigrants' command of a language other than English is seen as a liability to be overcome before they can be educated and fully participate. That is, their "foreign" language does not have cultural capital in schools. However, native English speakers are encouraged to learn a second language. Their command of another language and ability to "speak it like a native speaker" has definite cultural capital. 

Cultural Deprivation Theory
•    A theory popular in the U.S. in the 1960s, replacing the idea of biological inferiority (on which racism and sexism had been based) with that of cultural inferiority as the explanation for why some students fail in schools.

•    Discredited by studies since the 1980s, "cultural deprivation theory" is no longer considered an accurate or useful explanation of school failure, but it lingers on in the popular mind, as heard in the phrases like, "The problem is the students' homes: they just don't come to school ready to learn," or in phrases like, "My students’ parents can’t help them with their homework. They either don’t know it at all, or they teach them to do it the wrong way.” 

Cultural Incompatibilities Theory
•    A currently acceptable explanation for student failure which developed in opposition to cultural deprivation theory

"Another explanation for school failure is that it is caused by cultural incompatibilities; that is, because school culture and home culture are often at odds, the result is a 'cultural clash' that produces school failure. According to this explanation, it is necessary to consider the differing experiences, values, skills, expectations, and lifestyles with which children enter school and how these differences, in being more or less consistent with the school environment, affect their achievement" (Nieto, 2000, p. 236).

An excellent study based on this is the KEEP Program in Hawaii, where teachers studied their students' home cultures and then tried to develop classroom routines and pedagogical approaches based on the way their students interacted with family and community members at home. Another approach is taken by anthropologist Luis Moll et al., who have developed the use of "funds of knowledge," whereby teachers go into their students' families and communities to find folk knowledge and skills that can be taught, and expanded upon into other concepts and skills, as part of the official school curriculum. 

Cultural Pluralism
•    An alternative ideology to that of assimilation, this ideology emphasizes that there is no one "right" culture and similarly, there is no one right way to be "American."

"A condition in which social and educational values encourage a variety of ethnic and cultural perspectives, languages, and values that enrich one another through their harmonious coexistence" (Tozer et al., 2002, p. 529). 

Culturally Relevant (or Responsive) Teaching or Pedagogy (CRT or CRP)
This is the art of teaching to empower students intellectually, socially, emotionally and politically by using relevant cultural referents to instill knowledge skills and attitudes (Ladson-Billings, 1994). It developed to become an antidote to cultural deprivation theory. This approach goes beyond trying to make school culture compatible with home cultures to trying to make school curriculum and pedagogy responsive to the values and needs of students.

Gloria Ladson-Billings study and book, The Dreamkeepers: Successful Teachers of African American Children (1994) develops culturally responsive pedagogy (CRP) through ethnographic work.  Another focus of CRP is to respond to and incorporate the cultural knowledge of students, with an eye toward building new learning on respect for what students already know from their own cultural references, allusions, and illusions. Students receive, analyze, and interpret information and thus, the teacher structures his/her instruction according (Howard, June 2001, Urban Review, p. 134). CRP has been similarly defined as “approaches to and methods of teaching that seek to respond to and incorporate the cultural knowledge of students, with an eye toward building new learning on respect for what students already know from their own cultural experiences" (Tozer et al., 2002, p. 528). 

What is taught and learned in schools, whether intentionally or unintentionally. “Curriculum” is the sum total of what is learned in schools, whether it is taught intentionally or unintentionally.  It includes textbooks, other materials, and lesson plans, but it also includes what is taught by example or by the arrangement and organization of the classroom or school.  “Curriculum” is sometimes conceptualized as consisting of “formal curriculum,” “extra curricular activities,” and “hidden curriculum.”  The hidden curriculum includes such things as skills, manners, roles, and ways of adapting that aren't explicitly taught or included in lesson plans.  For more info see Cognition and Curriculum: A for Deciding What to Teach by Elliot Eisner.

See “School Desegregation,” below. 

Developmental Pathways
Yale University and the Comer School Development program helps families teachers and students to view the child as a whole greater than the sum of his/or parts. Comer et al. (1999) suggest that we examine the physical, social, linguistic, psychological, and emotional contexts of the child and not just the cognitive one when exploring learning/teaching needs.  

Dominant Culture
•    Dominant culture as referenced in this glossary refers to the mainstream culture in the United States, which is European American. This is in contrast to dominated cultures, which refers to people who "were forcefully incorporated into the United States [American Education, p. 124]. Indeed, dominant culture is "That culture which is most strongly represented in a society's power structure and institutions such as government and schooling; may be a numerical minority in the culture as a while but exerts disproportionate power" (Tozer et al., 2002, p. 529).

Use of the term "dominant culture" highlights that culture and cultural differences involve power. "Members of the dominant group in a society traditionally think of dominant cultural values as 'normal' while they view the values of subordinated groups as deviant or wrong. The difference in perception is due more to the power of each of these groups than to any inherent goodness or rightness in the values themselves" (Nieto, 2000, p. 140). The dominant culture is that which is most commonly represented in textbooks" (cf. Nieto, 2000, p. 316; Apple); how it plays out in history books is critiqued in a popular book by James Loewen, Lies My Teacher Told Me. Because in the history of the USA, white, English-speaking males have tended to control money and institutions, the dominant culture is sometimes referred to as promoting "Anglo-conformity," that is, as containing "pressures, both expressed and hidden, to conform to the values, attitudes, and behaviors representative of the dominant group in U.S. society" (Nieto, 2000, p. 301). 

As opposed to “Training” and “Schooling” (see Tozer et al., 2002) for comparison of the three concepts).   Shujaa, (1994) explains that through reflection, one can develop the lens for being critical of schooling, while maintaining the critical temper necessary to the work at the school.  One can also ignore the power structure of school and learn only to re-inscribe it, keeping the good and the bad.  Education is indicative of the former type of social critique, whereas training or schooling merely teaches us to survive and succeed or fail by predominantly White, middle-class standards of K-16 education.

Historically, U.S. Ethnicity was born out of the conquest driven, and harmful separation of human groups by the following criteria: 1. imposed beliefs about “Race”; 2. immediacy of heritage; 3. history of privilege from a large distribution of power or denial thereof; 4. emersion of hidden and explicit rules and norms of survival and success (Hughes, 2005). Contemporarily, individuals and groups with strong Ethnic, rather than strong Race-based identities arguably hold more class-like (involving circumstance, mobility, dynamicism, and a type of “prophetic pragmatism” championed by Cornel West, 2004) than caste-like beliefs (that is, more beliefs in human social existence as inevitable, immutable, and static) (Fred Riggs, 1999; Hughes 2005).  

Equity vs. Adequacy
Equity is about fairness, equality and fairness.  Adequacy as the new equity standard regards the consideration of necessary adjustments that must be undertaken to achieve equality.  High School A, with a plethora of students with various learning and diversity needs, may need $9,000 per pupil to achieve what neighboring High School B can achieve with $6,000 per pupil.  The additional $3,000 is necessary to achieve equality in this case, however, the justification must be clarified so High School B personnel don’t feel slighted and High School A personnel aren’t publicly criticized and branded as “tax-payer money wasters.”  Adequacy is typically a route taken to begin helping schools filled with historically underprivileged people (e.g., generational poverty) to reach their highest potential (Ladd, 2001). 

Evaded Curriculum
“Matters central to the lives of students that are touched on only briefly, if at all, in most schools” (AAUW, How Schools Shortchange Girls, p. 5). 

Gender refers to cultural differences rather than biological difference between what is considered appropriate for and characteristic of women and girls versus men and boys.  Gender concerns the roles that men/boys and women/girls, as well as males and females of varying sexual orientations (i.e., Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender) play in societies; these roles are largely determined by social contexts and pressures (Lorber, 1994; and Hughes 2003).   

Gender begins to be taught in the US even before babies are born, when nurseries are decorated in pink or blue—and when a mistake has been made about the gender of the unborn baby, its birth often occasions hurried repainting and redecoration.  Babies who are minutes old are described as “handsome” versus “pretty.”  Gender expectations can translate into physical differences, thus blurring the line between “gender” and “sex” (see below):  Consider, if a girl is usually clothed in dresses, it is difficult for her to climb a jungle gym without getting tripped up on the skirt.  She thus learns early on that such activities are unpleasant and/or that she is not good at them.  Thus she does not develop the upper-body strength considered characteristic of males biologically rather than females.

            The major researchers of gender discrimination in schools are Myra and David Sadker, whose work is widely available in books and articles.


GLBT (Gay, Lesbian, Bi-Sexual, Transgender)
Sexual orientation references based on popular cultural categorization of sexual intercourse patterns and loving relationships that exist parallel to similar heterosexual unions. 

Hidden Curriculum
“What kids learn in school that is not part of the written, formal curriculum: implicit messages about ‘appropriate’ values, believes and behaviors, conveyed to children” (Bennet & LeCompte, The Way Schools Work, p. 14). 

High Stakes Testing
This refers to examinations that determine a student's academic and professional future. Since the No Child Left Behind legislation, these tests also influence the future of teachers and administrators in any given school and the fate of the school itself. Further, neighborhood real estate values are also influenced by test scores since realtors often use scores to influence sales. 

Fear, antipathy, and/or hatred of homosexuality 

This term has evolved over time since PL 94-142 was passed in 1975. Today it is commonly used interchangeably with "mainstreaming" and generally refers to incorporating children with disabilities into regular classrooms. "Full inclusion" means bringing all children with disabilities into regular classrooms, including those with more severe disabilities. It is controversial because many regular education teachers feel inadequately prepared to meet the needs of those students. 

The Bureaucratic functioning of ideology and power. Berger and Luckmann (1966) in a definitive piece on the concept write, “Institutionalization occurs whenever there is a reciprocal typification of habitualized actions by types of actors. Put differently, any such typification is an institution.”  In other words, the stages leading to institutionalization of ideology, rules, and norms, rights and wrongs, are driven by dominant group members’ power tactics.  Generally speaking, institutionalization involves the “forming, storming, and norming” of typical practices (like habits and rituals) that become legitimized by legitimized authorities.  Next, these authority figures help to render what were once originally merely typical practices, into legitimized and integral parts of the functioning of what becomes an institution.  Typification, Legitimation, and Institutionalization appear as stages of institutions closely monitored by its authority structures to maintain themselves. (Berger and Luckmann, 1966; and  Pinar at al., 1995, 1996).  

Jim Crow
“Jim Crow,” or Jim Crow laws, refers to the system of legalized segregation that existed

throughout the South from the post-Reconstruction Era until the landmark Brown vs. the Board of Education Supreme Court decision in 1954. Ronald Davis' essay "Creating Jim Crow," identifies the Jim Crow era as starting in "the 1890s, when southern states began to codify (or strengthen in law and constitutional provisions) the subordinate position of African Americans in society" ( see http://www.jimcrowhistory.org/history,  p. 1).  Since one major goal was to separate the races in the public arena, public schools,transportation, and places of accommodation were key targets. The other major goal was to prevent African American men from voting. “[Frederick] Douglass devoted a large portion of his speeches not to slavery, but to Jim Crow practices.  The two injustices were inseparable in his mind.’ On two occasions in 1841, Douglass was physically removed from white railway cars while traveling in Massachusetts…. The New England states, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and New York had all passed legislation maintaining segregated schools…. States that lacked specific segregation laws relied on ‘custom’ to exclude African American children from white schools….” (Altenbaugh, R. (2003). The American People & Their Education, p. 95) 

The method that humans use to communicate by using symbols. For further information see Language edited by R.C. Olfield and J.C. Marshall  

Little Rock 9
“The Little Rock 9” refers to the nine African-American high school students in Little Rock Arkansas who were chosen to integrate Central High School in 1957. In 1999, president Bill Clinton presented the Congressional Gold Medal to Ernest Green, Melba Pattilo Beals, Gloria Ray Karlmark, Carlotta Walls LaNier, Terrance Roberts, Jefferson Thomas, Elizabeth Eckford, Minniejean Brown Tricky, and Thelma Mothershed Wair. This medal was to recognize the courage and bravery the Little Rock 9 had demonstrated during their efforts to go to school as ordered by the courts. As noted in the video series  Eyes on the Prize, the students were chosen for their academic excellence, and when they went to Central High School, they met a violent mob of protestors intent on keeping them out of the school. 

This refers to the cherished notion that people will be promoted and succeed according to their demonstrated merit and achievement. This concept is built into our cherished notions of how education is supposed to work in this country, and it has deep roots. It was part of the design Thomas Jefferson built into his Bill for the More General Diffusion of Knowledge, written in 1779, to suggest a public school system for the colony of Virginia. Though the bill was never passed, it has become part of our consciousness that talent was all that was needed for success. Joel Spring notes that "Meritocracy fails if schools favor individuals from certain racial, religious, and economic groups" (Spring, American Education, p. 10). 

Multicultural Education
"An educational reform initiative to improve learning for all children by emphasizing the cultural contexts of learning and helping schools respond better to children of different ethnic backgrounds by using those differences as a foundation on which to build new learning" (Tozer et al., 2002, p. 531). The term "multicultural education" has become a bit of a catch-all—something that contemporary educators are expected to learn and espouse. When considering anything called "multicultural education," it is important to examine what the actual purposes and approaches involved are. As Sleeter & Grant (1999) state, "People mean different things by the term multicultural education. For one thing, they do not always agree on what forms of diversity it addresses. Some people think only about racial or cultural diversity, while others conceptualize gender, social class, and additional forms of diversity" (p. vii). Sleeter & Grant (1999) provide a useful typology of approaches to multicultural education, dividing them into five approaches. Each of these approaches is detailed in separate chapters of Sleeter & Grant's Making Choices for Multicultural Education: Five Approaches to Race, Class, and Gender (1999). A companion to this book, Grant & Sleeter's Turning On Learning (DATE) provides useful, comprehensive sample lesson plans across the of the five approaches below: 

1.   Teaching the Exceptional and Culturally Different. "Teachers who advocate this approach are concerned mainly about helping low-achieving students catch up and succeed in school so they can 'make it' in the mainstream of society. Teachers are concerned not with criticizing or trying to change the mainstream itself, but rather with building bridges between children and that mainstream" (Sleeter & Grant, 1999, viii). This approach is essentially assimilationist and therefore is not critical multicultural education in that it does not seek to point out inequities in society. 

2.   Human Relations. Teachers using this approach focus on "improving affective dimensions of the classroom: how students relate to each other, how they feel about themselves, and how they feel about diverse groups in the community and society" (Sleeter & Grant, 1999, viii). This approach was most popular in the 1970s, and remains popular and necessary, but is seen by many as limited in that it is not critical of the dominant culture and inequities in USA society. 

3.   Single-Group Studies. "Teachers who use this approach teach about one specific group, or one group at a time, such as African Americans, Native Americans, women, or people with disabilities" (Sleeter & Grant, 1999, viii). "Black History Month" and "women's studies" are two examples of this approach, which attempts to remedy the neglect of the history and culture of dominated groups by focusing on them. A problem with this approach is that it strongly implies that such groups' history and culture is not part of mainstream USA culture and society. A second problem is that taking such courses or including such material in one's curriculum is usually optional or elective, so not all students learn about these groups. This approach can be critical or non-critical. 

4.   Multicultural Education. "This is the approach long-time advocates of multicultural education have most discussed. It involves complete reform of the entire education process to reflect and support diversity, addressing dimensions of schooling such as curriculum, tracking and grouping, staffing, and testing. It also ... supports the development of a culturally pluralistic mainstream that does not require assimilation for success" (Sleeter & Grant, 1999, viii). Including tradebooks and other curricular materials that represent the variety of people in the USA and world is part of a multicultural education approach; however, simply doing this and not addressing other aspects of school structure is a very limited interpretation of this approach. Multicultural education as defined by Sleeter & Grant is critical multicultural education. 

5.   Education that is Multicultural and Social Reconstructionist. This approach "calls attention to social justice issues and empowering young people to make social changes. Like the 'Multicultural Education' approach, this one also involves reform of the entire education process, but it focuses much more explicitly on social critique and democratic citizen participation" (Sleeter & Grant, 1999, viii).  

Due Process of Law
As it pertains to schooling, refers to the legal right to be heard and the right for defense of three groups: school personnel, parents and students. Due Process thereby allows for the legal protection of these groups, particularly in cases involving student/teacher rights and/or responsibilities (e.g., student suspension or teacher tenure). 

Pedagogy is understood here as approaches to and methods of the art of teaching—(a) of sculpting model units and lessons for all students in attempts to prepare them for survival and self-sufficiency as they graduate from one stage of education in life to the next, (b) of scaffolding to paint a heightened portrait for all students in attempts to help them reach their highest potential, and (c) of conscientious performance with a collage of emotion-evoking and best-practice-content-based instruction methods in attempts to engage an education that instills a critical temper (Hughes, 2004; and Tozer et al., 2002, p. 531).

Ladson-Billings (1994) defines, “Pedagogy refers to a deliberate attempt to influence how and what knowledge and identities are produced within and among particular sets of social relations…. Pedagogy is a concept which draws attention to the processes through which knowledge is produced” (p. 14).  Pedagogy can be thought of as the relationship between students, teacher, and “knowledge,” and the kinds of POWER those relationships involve. Who has power? Who is learning to use power, and what kinds of power, for what purposes? Who is learning that knowledge can equal power? 


People of Color vs. Colored People
People of color tends to be a reference to Blacks, Latinos, and Native Americans (Hughes 2004, personal communication). Colored people has a dated history of being used against Black or African Americans to insult them face-to-face, or as a deplorable reference to that ethnic group.  The term “colored people” is problematic and probably should not be used by teachers or others not because of its denotation, but because of its connotations:  it connotes the Jim Crow period (see above), and use of it will probably be construed as supporting racist practices. 

Plessey vs. Ferguson
The Supreme Court decision in 1896 which declared that segregated facilities were acceptable; however, they were supposed to be equal.  Overturned by Brown vs. Board (see above). 

Political Economy
"According to Webster, 'a modern social science dealing with the relationship of political and economic processes'; more generally, a society's institutional arrangements and processes" (Tozer et al., 2002, p. 531). "Political economy is a durable, flexible concept that includes the social, cultural, economic, political, and demographic dimensions of a society. To study the political economy of a particular society is to examine how that society is organized—how its structures, processes, and physical and mental resources give it its character and distinctiveness. The school, like the family, the police force, and the banking industry, is one of the institutions that make up the political economy of American society.... Crucial to the method of analysis [based on political economy] is the assumption that when any part of the political economy experiences significant change, other parts of it are likely to be affected" (Tozer et al., 2002, pp. 8-9). 

"An idea that emerged out of feminist scholarship stating that variables such as an individual's gender, class, and race are markers of her or his relational position within a social and economic context and influence the knowledge that she or he produces. Consequently, valid knowledge requires an acknowledgment of the knower's position within a specific context" (Banks & Banks, 2003, p. 430). Tetreault (2003) emphasizes the need to recognize that "each student brings to your classroom a particular positionality that shapes his or her way of knowing. Your challenge as a teacher is to interweave the individual truths with course content into complex understandings that legitimize students' voices" (p. 171). Tetreault (2003) includes sample activities in language arts, science, and social studies for building upon and teaching students to recognize varying positionalities. 

Power concerns three things or the three “M’s”: Multiplicity, Monopolization, and Manipulation. 1. The Multiplicity of forces (e.g., power in numbers of people, natural technological and/or financial resources); 2. The Monopolization of force relations (e.g., through venues such as school, trade, and governance) (Also See Foucault, 1976); and 3. The Manipulation of daily life actions and outcomes (e.g. achievement, social and economic mobility, etc.) (See Hughes and Snauwaert, personal communication, 2003).   For groups of people to maintain certain powers, all of parties within their sphere of influence must believe that the distribution of power (and any benefits or potential benefits resulting from power) are worthwhile, legitimate, inevitable and/or inevitable (Oakes and Lipton, 2003, p. 18).  Otherwise, groups and individuals publicly and/or privately resist certain power structures by either clandestine or overt strategic resistance (Giroux, 1983). 

Prejudiceo prejudge a person or a group based upon hearsay or beliefs passed on from others.  Within the Vega Model (see Martin, 1994), “individual prejudice” is distinguished from discrimination in that prejudice exists within individuals’ minds whereas discrimination involves actual actions. 

"Pygmalion Effect"
In 1968, Robert Rosenthal and Lenore Jacobson chose several students at random and informed their elementary school teachers that they would make significant academic gains that year. These students did make significantly greater academic gains than what would have been expected. For further information see Pygmalion in the Classroom by Robert Rosenthal and Lenore Jacobson . 

A caste-like, social construction that narrows the understanding of the intellectual and physical capability of human groups.  “Races” were created from misunderstood somatic characteristics, or those characteristics defined in Webster’s 1913 dictionary as being “characteristic of the body as opposed to the mind or spirit” (i.e., hair texture, skin color, skull size which actually make up less that 1% of humans’ DNA); geographical and climatic separation (primitive ideas of different continents or nations producing different “races” of people); and social isolation (human separation where different hidden and explicit rules and norms for survival, success, and distribution of power emerge) (Hughes 2005, Blum 2002, Riggs, 1997).  Although, rooted in our misunderstanding and social ineptitude, “race” is quite real in its consequences (Montague, 1970) and we live with the effects of its creation each day in the U.S. with more or less individual and group privilege, humiliation, and suffering.  

Racial Prejudice
A particular prejudgment of or belief about a person or a group based first, and foremost upon a traditional belief in “Race.” It is most of driven by misunderstandings, misinformation, or dis-information (deliberate falsehoods), hearsay, and beliefs that flow from an infrequent, and lack of intensive positive face-to-face, and vicarious communicative transactions.  A frequency and intensity of positive communicative experiences involving emotion and content can be quite conducive to the knowledge, skills, and dispositions that can keep racial prejudice in check or even at bay.       

Treatment of individuals, groups, and/or ourselves through a heightened emphasis on “race” characterized by one or more of the following communicative behaviors: (1) exaggeration of differences between racialized groups, (2) exaggeration of commonalities within racialized groups, (3) exaggeration of the inevitability of racialized group characteristics, and (4) promotion of racialized group supremacy hierarchy (Blum 2002, pp. 105-108).  

Involves a collection of racist acts by a dominant group against ethnic and numerical minority groups within a given nation.   The degree to which the power to maintain racism as a regime becomes institutional is what distinguishes racism from any unorganized infrequent instances of racist acts by disconnected individuals (Hughes, 2005, Blum 2002).   

A person who first and foremost strongly believes race is not a social construction (something of human error, created and founded upon misleading historical and contemporary research, lived experiences, and even beliefs in certain divine interventions largely due to misunderstood somatic characteristics; Gossett, 1963, 1997). To become a racist one must have (racial prejudice) + (hatred/antipathy, inferiorization, and/or treating the “other” as an enemy) + the constant of (power) (Hughes, 2005; also See Blum, 2002).  

Gary Orfield (2002) and Mickelson, (2001) suggest that in the U.S. schools are resegregating within schools via tracking and ability grouping and between schools where particularly White middle- and upper-class parents and teachers are moving to “Whiter” neighborhoods with “Whiter” schools.  The resegregation of schools conference in North Carolina (2002) suggested that even when achievement, safety, and other such issues are not identified as troubling spots for the school, White teachers disproportionately leave grade schools when student populations becomes less “White.”  

School Desegregation
Sparked by Brown vs. Topeka Board of Education of 1954, public school desegregation was set by the U.S. Supreme Court to remedy many of the previous historical social ills of the nineteenth and twentieth century, particularly the educational plight of Blacks (African Americans). This legislation made it unconstitutional and illegal to avoid provisions to offer a sound, basic education to All people of color. Prior to school desegregation, Blacks, for example, attended all-Black public grade schools that often lacked the resources for Blacks to compete fairly with their White counterparts in employment and college admissions. Segregated Black schools did have successes and intergenerational closure, however, leading some scholars and Black citizens to also question whether school desegregation was a pyrrhic victory for Black people (Siddle Walker, 1996; Cecelski, 1994; Hughes, 2004).   

SegregationThis refers to separation by race. We note that de jure segregation refers to segregation by law, as indicated by Jim Crow laws mandating separate waiting rooms, bathrooms, or water fountains as validated by Plessy vs. Ferguson, and eliminated by the Brown decision. We also note de facto segregation, which refers to segregation by tradition, by circumstance. This is still an issue in most cities and towns. 

Self-Fulfilling Prophecies
This phrase refers to the power of student, caregiver, and school personnel expectations. Discussion is connection to the famous 1964 study conducted by Robert Rosenthal and Lenore Jacobson called “Pygmalion in the Classroom,” Teachers were told that certain students in their classes were “late bloomers” and would show a “spurt” in academic progress later in the year. This prophecy turned out to be true even though the student had been picked at random. Clearly the expectations became self-fulfilling for all assuming the roles of “late bloomers” and caregivers/teachers of “late bloomers.”  

Sociocultural Pedagogy
“Participation in communities of practice…that increases gradually in engagement & complexity” (Oakes and Lipton, citing Lave, p. 211): that is, everyone has an important job that they can do successfully, and everyone moves toward doing more complex, sophisticated jobs—this is the “socially just” part: everyone is needed & appreciated. 

Socioeconomic Status or “SES”
Socioeconomic status includes class variables as well as consideration of the education level attained and educational achievement of individuals. The education component is meant to serve as a proxy for the degree to which a person understands and can pass along the hidden and explicit rules and norms of survival and success in the White middle-class dominant U.S. schooling system (Jencks and Phillips, 1998). 

Refers to biological differences rather than cultural differences (see gender, above).  The definition of one’s biological sex tends to be referenced in Education as a binary category through the identifications of male/female with their differing reproductive capabilities, however not all newborn children are immediately identifiable as “male” or “female” and some develop reproductive organs much later in life (e.g., during adolescence) than others (Lorber, 1994, Hughes 2003 report). Sex and Gender are often used as if they are synonymous in education research. However, one’s biological sex tends to suggest a binary category, the identifications of male/female with their differing reproductive capabilities (Lorber, 1994).   See “gender,” above. 

Social efficiency
This refers to an approach to school curriculum, as described by Herbert Kliebard in The struggle for the American Curriculum, 1893-1958 which builds on concepts intrinsic to an essentialist philosophy of education. Joel Spring notes that the social efficiency approach is "[b]acked by those who want the schools primarily to serve the needs of the economy, it is designed to prepare students for the workforce" (American Education, p. 254).  Beyond the basics stressed in an essentialist curriculum, it incorporates vocational subjects. 

Social inequality
"[M]any people experience social institutions differently, often according to their group memberships. Further, these differences seem regularly to advantage those whose group membership is white, economically middle-class or better, and male. This is not to claim that people of color, people from low-income backgrounds, and females never achieve as much as white middle-class males do in this country's educational and social institutions.... Rather, ... trends or patterns of inequality often influence an individual' life chances. Individuals succeed or fail not simply due to their native abilities and applied efforts but also on the basis of their membership in one or more ethnic, gender, economic groups" (Tozer et al., 2002, p. 406). 

Social Stratification
"Stratification systems may be characterized in various ways. Surely one of the most important has to do with the processes by which individuals become located, or locate themselves, in positions in the hierarchy comprising the system" (Blau & Duncan, 2000 [1967], p. 35). 

Teacher liabilityThis refers to a teacher's responsibility when a student is harmed.  In "Teachers and the Law," Louis Fischer, David Schimmel, and Cynthia Kelly describe four conditions where a teacher might be held liable:
1) Teachers injure the student or do not protect the student from injury
2) Teachers do not use due care
3) Teachers' carelessness results in student injury.
4) Students sustained provable injuries. (See Joel Spring, American education, p. 305.) 

Teacher unions
The Federation of Teachers (AFT) actually began as a local union in Chicago in 1902. The National Education Association was formed However, was an association and not a union for most of its history. Only in the 1960s did it start to get involved in collective bargaining and became more a union. For more information see American Education by Joe Spring.  

The educational process of placing students into homogeneous groups with different educational goals and curriculum, teachers, and peer groups.  Part of the social efficiency movement in US schooling, the practice of tracking is still heavily debated but is generally considered inequitable and antithetical to education in and for a democracy.  For more information, see Keeping Track: How Schools Structure Inequality by Jeannie Oakes. 

Last Updated: 6/26/15