Black families as embodied policy : politics of dignity transforming colonized policy procedures
Family involvement in U.S. public schools continues to value functional strategies (e.g., homework help, financial contribution, time spent in the classroom) as supports for the school, denying differentiated involvement (e.g., cultural-based practices, caring for a student; Calabrese et al., 2004; Cooper, 2009). In turn, public educators such as practitioners, researchers, and policymakers can perpetuate systemic violence (Bourdieu & Wacquant, 2004) unto racial, ethnic, and language minoritized families by devaluing families' actual contributions to their children's schooling (Boncana & Lopez, 2010). In conceptualizing the educational violence experienced by the families as a Westernized colonial power, a postcolonial approach (Anzaldua, 2007) was used to ask the overarching research question for this dissertation: How do Black families and I become and act as policy agents in the process of policy development? The purpose aimed to explore how three Black mothers and I disrupted and exerted horizontal power and, in turn, developed new educational policy, through a Politics of Dignity. The dissertation was situated in a Midwestern, mid-sized town with one public school district. Data production included 3 local maps and 6 graphs utilized to analyze the geopolitics of the city. Also produced as data were 15 go-along interviews, 42 pages of field notes, 300 pages of handwritten and electronic journals, with access to three years of archival data that included minutes from board meetings, two recorded board meetings, and strategic planning documents. The westernized methodological process was deconstructed using Anzaldua's (2007) <<<choque>>>, creating, in turn, a postcolonial, performative case. Specifically, the analysis took on a postcolonial process called reflective action: a relational tension between interview-text-analysis. In exploring how Black mothers and I created postcolonial narratives and humanized our experience as families and policy agents, this postcolonial process helps educators understand the need for the simultaneous deconstruction and construction of one's being to engage in humanizing education. For example, Chapter 4 shows my transition from Educator, Re-searcher into an Activist-Inquirer, enabling me to challenge my own racist attitudes to work with the mothers in a more humane manner. Chapters 5 and 6 demonstrate the mothers' postcolonial survival strategies that confronted local dehumanizing geopolitics, demanding more of their personal situation, while ordering for equitable change from the school district and the city itself. The reconstructions shared herein depict the transformation that the Black parents and I underwent before working collaboratively with the school district. To conclude, I propose a postcolonial process that requires a complete reconceptualization in the following: educational power as horizontal, theory and research as practice, and policy development as inclusive of families as policy entrepreneurs.
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