The Pedagogy, Power, and Politics of Excellence in Latina/o Schools and Communities
Chapter 3. Excellence Is Contagious, Inherently Additive, and Politically Viable
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“You shall create beauty not to excite the senses but to give sustenance to the soul.”
As a result of employing a Pedagogy of Excellence via the Excellence Campaigns discussed in Chapter 2, a series of principles, implications, and lessons learned have been observed. These dimensions of excellence are framed through the lens of power because of their relevance and significance across the schools and communities profiled in this book. These dimensions of excellence are also framed as an exertion of power because of the way in which they fundamentally transformed practice on the ground level. In other words, these dimensions were observed to significantly impact what people do and how they engage with each other and their work. For the purpose of this book, this is part of the goal of the Excellence Campaigns addressed in Chapter 2. There are far too many policy and practical efforts that solely have made symbolic or structural changes yet have failed to infiltrate the culture of the institution in which they work. If these reforms do shape the work of the institution, it is likely to be negative, such as the impact of high-stakes testing on the work and quality of life of students, teachers, and communities. However, the observations made through the Power of Excellence suggest that meaningful cultural change is possible when the work is carried out intentionally ← 57 | 58 →and relentlessly. In this and the next chapter, I...
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