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Dialogue, discourse, and debate are essential to a vibrant and engaged educational community in an interconnected, global society. We welcome commentaries from scholars, practitioners, policy makers, community-based organization members, K-12 teachers, administrators, and other stakeholders who share in our commitment to education for the public good. Commentaries are original essays that address topics, issues, or events that are relevant to the field of education. We encourage diverse perspectives and questions that sustain deliberation, and engage multiple audiences and stakeholders to address educational and societal inequities. The commentaries are generative and lead to conversations across multiple communities to have broad impact in the field and beyond. Commentaries are reviewed internally by the Teachers College Record Editorial staff and published on our website soon after acceptance and copyediting. Submissions typically run between 1000 and 1500 words.

by Colleen Chesnut & Suzanne Eckes - 2022
Over the past year, controversies involving public school curricula have heightened, and many state legislatures have proposed or passed laws that limit instruction related to certain contentious topics and, in some cases, expand opportunities for parents to review and even opt their children out of lessons that they find objectionable. Lawsuits have already been initiated challenging some of these laws. Most recently, a group in Oklahoma challenged a state law that allegedly censored classroom discussions on gender and race (Black Emergency Response Team v. O’Connor, 2021). Similar lawsuits have been filed in other parts of the country (McCormack, 2021). While educators will be required to comply with laws and regulations in their own states, it is important that school leaders remain aware of this evolving legal landscape. This article will summarize a few illustrative federal court decisions related to curricular challenges, providing a glimpse into how future cases in this area may be considered.

by Theodore S. Ransaw - 2022
This commentary suggests that one way to discuss race and America in the classroom is by acknowledging both the positive strides we have made fighting oppression and the negative aspects that created oppression in the first place. America’s history of fighting tyranny has a direct relationship to fighting oppression.

by Christine Rossell - 2022
This paper addresses the question of whether school vouchers increase school segregation, using the case of Louisiana, which defended its statewide voucher program against a lawsuit by the Department of Justice. The state’s criteria for the awarding of private school scholarships is twofold—students must be low income and enrolled in a low performance school. The evidence presented at trial showed that school vouchers had a positive impact on public school integration in Louisiana in 2012 and 2013 using the standardized measure of interracial exposure, a commonly used measure of racial imbalance. Evidence from voucher programs in Louisiana and other states suggests that voucher programs are more likely to have a positive effect on school integration when a school performance criterion is included in the criteria for eligibility.

by Rose M. Kim - 2022
This essay considers the important role public community colleges serve in the lives of working-class, racialized, and immigrant students who deal with multiple life challenges, too often unacknowledged. The author considers her own journey in understanding her students’ struggles, starting from her days as a novice professor stunned by the students’ academic skills to a growing appreciation of the challenges they face and have overcome in pursuit of higher education. It is excerpted from an essay in the Children of the People: writings by and about CUNY students on race and social justice, co-edited by Kim, Grace M. Cho, and Robin McGinty, forthcoming in spring.

by Mayra Olivares-Urueta - 2022
The author makes the case for community college students who are single mothers to become a priority and no longer an afterthought as their success should be a national imperative.

by Katie Headrick Taylor, Manka Varghese & Margaret R. Beneke - 2022
In light of multiple crises in the U.S.—the pandemic, ongoing racial violence, and the climate emergency—rather than returning to educational “normalcy,” as mother-educator-scholars, we urgently call for transformative possibilities for learning in and outside of schools that center community care. We provide three starting points for this transformation: reimagining social emotional teaching and learning; examining the purpose and use of educational technologies; and valuing place-based learning. Overall, we argue that the continued adherence to the myth of meritocracy, encoded in white supremacist and ableist educational structures, is antithetical to the well-being of all people and our nonhuman kin. We conclude the commentary by stating our hope for a more loving and just future: caring for one another and our communities, creating space with each other to state what we need, and recognizing our interdependence.

by Tracy D. Hall - 2022
Removing stubborn financial and social barriers to college through programs like TN Promise enables us to reshape the outlook of those who may see higher education as just beyond their grasp. Move college from a rite of passage for the privileged to a powerful pathway to prosperity and financial security for everyone.

by Myron T. Strong - 2022
Inspired by the Biden infrastructure bill that originally included free community college initiatives, this essay explores the value of community colleges by examining both sides of the debate. Ultimately, concluding that regardless of what side you are on, if we want a truly fair society with true equal of opportunity, there must be free access to public education.

by Eric J. Weiner - 2022
Pro-democracy educators in the United States often seem confused by Trumpism’s popularity and counter-hegemonic power. Typically, they reduce his supporters to dolts, cynics, racists, or people operating under some version of false consciousness. It rarely occurs to them that tens of millions of people gravitate to Trumpism because neoliberal democracy has failed to provide the poor, working-class, recent refugees, immigrants, and women formidable levels of political capital. It has also failed to deliver economic, food, health, and educational security to vast segments of the population. This confusion has led to an uncritical acceptance that democratic education will be able to hold back the counter-hegemonic tide of totalitarianism overtaking democracy in the United States.

by Marci Littlefield - 2022
While societies like Great Britain, a country that also prospered from slavery and played a major role in building the Atlantic slave trade, are committed to reparations and are engaged in public reconciliation, the United States should follow suit. This article uses Great Britain as an example of how to begin the process of redressing injustice by acknowledging the impact of slavery on British society and persistent racial inequality.

by Ángeles Donoso Macaya - 2022
What is (in)visibilized when “women" are rescued from the archive? What does the gesture of rescuing (re)produce? Is it possible to articulate forms of feminist criticism that do not rely on identity politics and which develop methodologies that do not reinforce patriarchal discursive paradigms and tropes? In this reflection, I describe an ongoing research project that tries to answer these questions.

by Katherine R. Rowell, Mark Maier & R. Heather MacDonald - 2022
In this commentary, we discuss ways disciplinary associations may advance diversity, equity, and inclusion through increasing two-way collaborations with community college faculty. We note that increasing engagement and leadership opportunities for community college faculty in disciplinary associations holds potential for advancing diversity in majors, increasing equity in student engagement, and promoting inclusion in the profession.

by Rebecca Garte & Cara Kronen - 2022
In this commentary we discuss ways to support community college students in successfully becoming teachers. We argue that there is a great need for teachers who share similar backgrounds with the majority of public school students. These future teachers are poised to become advocates for students given that many entered the field of education for this purpose. However, practicum experiences often serve to alienate and marginalize community college education students. We contend that both 2 year and 4- year schools of education must commit to providing culturally responsive practicum experiences. We must strive to cultivate mentors for community college students among classroom teachers who can relate to them. We believe this would go a long way to increasing retention and certification rates of pre-service teachers of color.

by Christopher Shults & Randall VanWagoner - 2022
The global pandemic forced colleges to face the reality that traditional business models are neither sufficient for ensuring continued operation nor, more importantly, designed to improve student learning and success. The community college business model implores colleges to utilize the urgency of the moment to intentionally redesign their operational models to enhance the student value proposition and establish educational experiences that prepare students for academic, life, and career success.

by Claire Wladis & Vilma Mesa - 2022
This commentary describes how supporting educational research conducted by community college faculty can improve both the quantity and relevance of educational research for community colleges, helping them to better fulfill their educational missions. It discusses some specific examples of successful research that originated from experiences on the ground at the community college, and how this benefited both the larger educational research discipline and the local community college. It also describes concrete approaches that could lead to an increase in this kind of educational research by community college faculty.

by Rashid F. Davis - 2022
When you accelerate learning you accelerate equity. Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) is a new grade 9-14 model that opened in 2011 where within six years after entering 9th-grade students can complete a free associate in applied science (AAS) degree in science technology engineering or math (STEM) pathways from a college partner and then be first in line for jobs with an industry partner. In 2021, seven states Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, New York, Rhode Island, and Texas have produced P-TECH AAS graduates.

by Emily Decatur - 2022
At this pivotal moment, higher education practitioners must examine the gap between intent to transfer and successful transfer to a four-year institution. Through the development of unified state-wide transfer systems a path forward is possible, one which mitigates cumbersome policy roadblocks, increases transparency, fully supports students, and offers affordable options.

by Monica Bhattacharjee - 2022
This commentary examines some of the less talked-about aspects of remote learning through my first-hand lenses as an online educator for an undergraduate course in Education. I look into the sociomaterial equations at play in connection to issues of agency, engagement, and perceptions of surveillance, concluding that these are gainfully supported by remote methods of learning.

by Mike Butcaris - 2022
In colleges that prioritize equitable access to quality education, accelerated approaches may not be the answer for adult learners trying to balance school with work and family responsibilities. While exploring the popular trend toward co-requisite solutions, community colleges must continue to support learning options that allow sufficient time for adult students to develop the reading, writing, and critical thinking skills that form the foundation for lifelong learning.

by Christopher J. Cormier - 2022
Historically, Black male teachers have been treated as foreigners in a majority-White, female profession. Research shows that Black male teachers are often viewed as intellectually inferior school support staff whose role is to serve as disciplinarians and coaches but not to teach pedological content. It is vital that Black male teachers be given more respect. In this commentary I provide a personal narrative of my experiences as a Black male teacher in relation to Wolf Wofensberger’s social role valorization theory, which purports that society values groups based on their perceived societal value. Using Wolfensberger’s theory will allow for better exploration the devaluation of Black male teachers based on the roles they are expected (e.g., support staff, cultural broker) and not expected (e.g., developer of school curriculum) to play in public schools. The ultimate goal in this commentary is to shed light on the unfortunate circumstance that in U.S. the archetype of the teacher is still a White woman and that Black men who work as teachers are asked to convenience these teachers at the expense of themselves and students’ needs.

by Leah P. Hollis - 2022
HBCUs are often lauded as diverse and inclusive environments. However, trends in tenure appointments and lawsuits show that women are often discounted This brief essay discusses some trends in tenure appointments and lawsuits which indicate that Black women are experiencing gender based inequities at HBCUS.

by Michelle G. Knight-Manuel - 2022
I am delighted and honored to share that we are launching a special commentary series on community colleges starting January 28, 2022.

by Sara Parker - 2022
Knowing that our current systems produce inequitable outcomes, community colleges are working to transform. As they do so, they must find ways to pursue and implement these system-level changes without neglecting individual-level changes in practice or a commitment to student learning.

by Katharine M. Broton - 2022
When it comes to recognizing and addressing the fundamental role that basic needs play in students’ college experiences and ultimate success, higher education has a lot to learn from our nation’s community colleges.

by Robin G. Isserles & David L. Levinson - 2022
This is the introduction to the special commentary series on community colleges.

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Teachers’ commentaries provide an important perspective on current educational issues. If you are a K-12 educator, we welcome you to submit a 1,000-1,500 word commentary in which you draw on your experience to address problems and opportunities confronting students and educators.

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