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Unsettling Education

Searching for Ethical Footing in a Time of Reform


Edited By Brian Charest and Kate Sjostrom

Unsettling Education: Searching for Ethical Footing in a Time of Reform offers a counter-narrative to the prevailing orthodoxies of schooling and school reform that conflate education and learning with that which can be measured on state-mandated examinations. Despite the push to "settle" the purposes of teaching and schooling in ways that see education as the teaching of a discrete set of skills that align with standardized exams, there are teachers and students who continue to resist standardization and whose stories suggest there are many ways to organize schools, design curriculum, and understand the purposes of education. Unsettling Education shares stories of how teachers have resisted state and local mandates to teach to the test in dehumanizing ways, how such teachers have sought to de-commodify educational spaces, how they have enacted their ethical commitments to students and communities, and how they have theorized such practices, sometimes even reconsidering their roles as teachers and the very purposes of schooling. Volume contributors offer concrete ways in which teachers might challenge the structures of schooling to reveal the full humanity and potential of students through different forms of resistance pedagogy, institutional critiques, and critical self-reflection. Featuring a wide range of voices and contexts, the collections’ chapters blend story and theory, resulting in a volume both accessible and thought-provoking to varied audiences—from undergraduate students of education and concerned citizens to veteran educators, teacher educators, administrators, and policymakers.

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6. Compulsory Heterosexuality: Unsettling and Undoing the Hidden Curriculum of Heteronormativity in Schools (Mikela Bjork)


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6. Compulsory Heterosexuality: Unsettling and Undoing the Hidden Curriculum of Heteronormativity in Schools


What I have come to learn is that everyone has a schooling story. And that schooling story varies significantly in its content. Schooling stories are unique to the individual telling them and often include details that one wouldn’t consider apropos of a schooling story. The purpose of this chapter is to highlight how queer women in AA come to understand themselves through their schooling stories of resistance, so that educators might glean from firsthand experiences how to educate and proactively support young women and girls of varying class, race and ethnic backgrounds. What’s more, the purpose of this chapter is to create a counter conversation to the heteronormative, patriarchal structures that define past and present educational standards (Anandhi & Velayudhan, 2010; Freire, 1973; Horton & Freire, 1990; Moraga & Anzaldua, 1981; Solórzano & Yosso, 2001). My hope is that by reading first-hand accounts of how school was enacted, taken up and resisted, the reader will be inspired to take an honest appraisal of his/her own beliefs about what teaching/learning is, what spaces outside of the classroom impart teaching/learning, and how those outside pedagogies can inform what and how we teach inside the classroom.

Heteronormativity is a way of being in the world that assumes the superiority of heterosexuality and, therefore, the inferiority of homosexuality, bisexuality, and questioning sexualities. It assumes that...

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