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Centering Race in the STEM Education of African American K–12 Learners

Edited By Glenda M. Prime

Centering Race in the STEM Education of African American K–12 Learners boldly advocates for a transformative approach to the teaching of STEM to African American K–12 learners. The achievement patterns of African American learners, so often described as an "achievement gap" between them and their White peers, is in fact the historical legacy of slavery and the racial hierarchy that was necessary to maintain it. The achievement gap is a contemporary manifestation of the racial hierarchy that continues in STEM to the present time. The racial hierarchy in STEM education is upheld by structural arrangements, policies, and practices, sometimes invisible, but ultimately denies access and depresses performance of African American K–12 learners in STEM. This book argues that disrupting these patterns of achievement and realizing more equitable outcomes for this demographic is essentially a political act that requires that race be overtly addressed and centered in the STEM education of these children—an approach called "race-visible pedagogy." While this approach incorporates some of the elements of culturally responsive pedagogy and other anti-racist or liberatory pedagogies, it advances the thinking about such approaches by shifting the emphasis from the outcomes of such pedagogies to the experience of them. This book covers a range of issues related to the STEM education of African American K–12 learners and includes theoretical pieces that offer insightful, new, and asset-based, as opposed to deficit-based, frameworks for understanding and disrupting the patterns of achievement of African American children, as well examples of the practice of race-visible pedagogies.

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