Liberatory Design for Equity in Early Childhood Education: A Black Feminist Approach to Improving Student Literacy Outcomes through Educator Training in the Science of Reading
There is an alarming rate of students in the United States who struggle to read and do not reach grade-level proficiency before leaving elementary school. Like many school districts across the country, the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) system has turned to the Science of Reading (SoR) to improve student literacy outcomes, and there are inequities in the implementation process, particularly for early childhood educators who have been asked to shift their literacy practices but who lack adequate SoR training. This study used the critical ecology of the early childhood profession as a theoretical framework paired with Black Feminist Thought to understand the current realities of Black women early childhood educators who work for DCPS and have been asked to shift their literacy instruction. Using the Liberatory Design for Equity Process, this qualitative study documents the educators’ narratives related to the SoR design and implementation process. Findings indicate that the current design process does not include early childhood educators in significant decisions, even though these decisions often directly impact them and their well-being. Educators want to be included in the design process as co-creators to ensure that their professional learning needs and individual school community needs are centered throughout the process. Implications and recommendations encourage elected DC officials and the DCPS Early Childhood Education Division to address inequities related to the current SoR legislation and the design process by engaging with early childhood educators.
ContributorsCommittee chair: Irvine Belson, Sarah. Committee members: Neal, Melissa; Karabell, Annie; Caffee-Glenn, Dana.
NotesDegree Awarded: D.Ed. School of Education. American University; Local identifier: local: Durkins_american_0008E_12053.pdf; Pagination: 162 pages
- English and literacy curriculum and pedagogy (excl. LOTE, ESL and TESOL)
- Early childhood education
- Teacher education and professional development of educators
- Inclusive education
- Teacher and student wellbeing
- Feminist theory
- Intersectional studies
- Sociology of gender
- Sociology of inequalities
- Urban sociology and community studies