Inside IES Research

Notes from NCER & NCSER

A Bilingual Perspective on Literacy Development

This year, Inside IES Research is featuring a diverse group of IES-funded education researchers and fellows that are making significant contributions to education research, policy, and practice. In recognition of Hispanic Heritage Month, we interviewed Dr. María S. Carlo, associate professor at University of South Florida, about her career journey and the need for more research on bilingualism. Dr. Carlo is the PI of an IES grant that compares bilingual and monolingual methods of explicit vocabulary instruction for Spanish-speaking English learners, as well as another IES grant exploring instructional strategies intended to help English learners learn the meanings of new words.

How have your background and experiences shaped your scholarship and career?

My memories of childhood are tagged by language. Language is a marker for where I lived, who my friends were, and my feelings toward school. My interest in bilingualism stems from life-long experiences managing my personal and academic identity through the use of Spanish and English.

In a graduate school course on applied and basic cognitive development, my instructors Dr. Keith Rayner and Dr. Alexander Pollatsek told us that we would be learning the scientific explanations for everything our grandmothers could already tell us about human cognition. My anxiety about the course rose because I was convinced that my grandmother, who had not been to college, had nothing to say about human cognition. About a year later, I explained to my mom a study I was doing testing the belief that academic skills can transfer across languages in ways that support the development of the second language. Perhaps sensing that I was sounding a little too impressed with myself, my mother looked at me and said, “Well, your grandmother could have told you that!”  And then she told me a story.

Upon hearing that I was having difficulty learning to read in English, my grandmother got on an airplane for the first time in her life and travelled from Puerto Rico to New Jersey to teach me how to read. She brought with her a cartilla fonética (phonetic primer) that she had used with her five children. Her rationale: “You need to teach her to read in Spanish first before teaching her to read in English.”  As my mom tells it, I was reading English perfectly after my grandmother’s intervention. This, and other experiences with language, have shaped my interest in the role of the mother tongue in second language development. 

In your area of research, what do you see as the greatest research needs or recommendations to address diversity, equity, and inclusion and to improve the relevance of education research for diverse communities of students and families?

I think that one of the problems we face in studying bilingualism is that we really have not figured out exactly how to measure bilingualism. I often find myself having to rely on measures that were normed on monolingual speakers of Spanish and English, and that I believe, often fail to fully capture how bilingual experience impacts performance in each language. One important theoretical assumption about bilingual language processing is that bilinguals never “turn off” a language. We assume that both languages are always simultaneously active and thus susceptible to each other’s influence through bottom-up processes. I believe this has profound implications on language measurement as it can impact everything from item response times to judgements about the plausibility of item distractors.

I think we need measures that are based on a model of the expert bilingual and that are sensitive to the changes individuals experience in language as they move from the novice bilingual state to the expert bilingual state. But to get there, I think we need more research that helps us understand what expert bilingual performance looks like. Some of the most influential concepts guiding our understanding of the development of reading among monolingual children have emerged from research on fluent adult monolingual readers. In education, we are understandably preoccupied with the progress of the beginner. But I think there is much that we can understand about the beginner from looking at the expert. So, if I had a magic wand, I would ensure programmatic support to study expert bilingualism.  

What advice would you give to emerging scholars from underrepresented, minoritized groups that are pursuing a career in education research?

My perception is that young scholars from underrepresented groups do their work feeling a high sense of urgency to transform education to better serve their communities. I tell them that it is true that their work is urgently needed, but that they need to take the long view. My doctoral advisor, Dr. James M. Royer of the Psychology Department at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, encouraged us to think of our work not as single studies but as a series of studies. It is hard to take the long view when you are constantly having to sell your work for being innovative and cutting edge. The process of securing research funding is an example of a context in which innovation is paramount. One of the conversations I have had with young scholars (and with myself) is about making the distinction between innovation (which leads to change) and novelty. I think that we serve our transformative goals better when we identify small changes in our research approach that allow us to move knowledge forward. I believe that these increments in knowledge across an entire community of scholars seeking to advance equity and inclusion inevitably leads to innovation.

How does your research contribute to a better understanding of the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion in education?

I try to take a bilingual perspective when I study the English development of English learners. One can study the English development of English learners by measuring progress on English measures exclusively, but researchers who take a bilingual or multilingual perspective have shown that you gain a great deal of explanatory power when you choose not to ignore the other half of students’ language repertoire. My hope is that the work I do advances the idea that a diversity, equity, and inclusion lens is integral to producing high quality rigorous research. 

How can the broader education research community better support the careers and scholarship of researchers from underrepresented groups?

Dr. Royer made me a part of his lab long before I was admitted into the department. He needed a research assistant who was proficient in Spanish and English to help him develop a series of listening and reading comprehension tests using a test development technique he had developed called the Sentence Verification Technique. I had recently completed my BA in psychology without ever working as an undergraduate research assistant. I had no real sense of what psychology research entailed or that it could offer me a career. The day I joined his lab he gave me a desk and a computer and added my name to list of lab members on the door. My socialization into a research career started that day. I was allowed to be fully immersed into the experience. I was invited to lab meetings, to guest talks, to proseminars. I eventually applied and was admitted to the doctoral program in educational psychology.

I share this story to make the point that many others have made before me, that the work of increasing access to academia by members of minoritized groups needs to start long before graduate school admission. We need to open our academic space to young people who may not be able to articulate why they wish to be in that space. I don’t think I would have pursued a doctoral program otherwise. 


Dr. María S. Carlo is an Associate Professor at the University of South Florida in the Department of Child and Family Studies. Dr. Carlo specializes in bilingualism and literacy development in children and adults. Her research focuses on the cognitive processes underlying reading in a second language and in understanding the cross-language transfer of reading skills and how it affects the development of such skills. She is also interested in generating educational interventions that support first- and second-language development, particularly around vocabulary.

This blog was produced by Helyn Kim (Helyn.Kim@ed.gov), program officer for the English Learner Portfolio at NCER.

 

Language Equity Matters: Recognizing the Incredible Potential of Bilingual Learners

This year, Inside IES Research is featuring a diverse group of IES-funded education researchers and fellows that are making significant contributions to education research, policy, and practice. In recognition of Hispanic Heritage Month, we interviewed Dr. Aída Walqui, director of the IES-funded National Research & Development Center to Improve Education for Secondary English Learners at WestEd about her career journey and language equity for minoritized populations.

How have your background and experiences shaped your scholarship and career?

My background has been a tremendous influence. I was born in Lima, Peru, and grew up the first child of a modest, hard-working, politically involved, and well-educated family. From very early on, issues of language, education, and discrimination—and the way in which diverse groups were perceived—have been central in my life.

My father was born in the Peruvian jungle, and he grew up in Lima speaking Spanish. Through family conversations at the dinner table and other experiences, I became aware that Peruvian society was deeply segregated by ethnic and linguistic boundaries. For example, as a little girl, I did not understand why it was good for me to study German in a German school, where my emergent German was viewed as wonderful, and not something that negatively impacted my first language, Spanish. . . while the children in the Highlands, where we vacationed, were admonished for speaking Quechua, their native language. Their native language was considered almost an illness that needed to be eradicated, and their emergent Spanish was derided as imperfect.

Although my parents were not linguists, they explained that the language was just an excuse—the real issues were political, social, and economic control. I realized that the children who spoke Quechua were just as talented. But for them, learning Spanish was mandatory. Society saw it as the only thing to be proud of. My father also helped me understand that language was not just used for purposes of communication, but also to classify or package people—which impedes learning who people are as individuals. And that the experience of education itself had a lot to do with this.

Overall, I have had an immensely rich intellectual life. I owe my family, my late husband, and colleagues around the world for making it possible for me to live and work in many contexts, including working in Andean intercultural, bilingual education, teaching Spanish as a second language for the Peruvian Ministry of Education, teaching in Alisal High School in Salinas, CA for six intense and rewarding years, as well as living and working in the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand. I’ve noticed the same patterns in all these places. The languages are different, but the patterns are the same: the dismissal of populations that had been minoritized due to language issues, the enormous contribution language minority populations play in these nations, and that additional languages are assets that help you learn.

I’ve become even more determined upon realizing the incredible potential that people have. As a Latina in the United States, I have focused on developing the incredible resource of Spanish that Latinos have, while also developing English at the same level of proficiency.

Success depends on educators and those who support them envisioning the richness of these people, and by extension the richness they can provide to society. It is only looking at the seeds of time that I can say that change is possible. While sociolinguistic discrimination still exists in Peru, tremendous positive changes have also occurred. In the United States, we have similarly made strides, but still have a long way to go. In education, it is important to follow Gramsci’s old advice: pessimism of the intellect, optimism of the will.

In your area of research, what do you see as the greatest research needs or recommendations to address diversity, equity, and inclusion and to improve the relevance of education research for diverse communities of students and families?

We must coherently put together examples of what is possible. For example, our Center colleagues are working on policy levers such as how to integrate English learner development with subject matter courses to strengthen the education of English learners.

In the classroom, in the past, we have been singularly worried about how well English learners are using language, how to construct grammatical sentences, how to make those sentences correct, and so forth. In reality, the focus needs to be on multiple learning modalities as well as the subject matter, critical understanding, and the ability to express ideas—language—related to the content. That is, multiple forms of learning all matter in the moment, not just one.

We all need to know how to use language well, but we also need to simultaneously learn the content and critical thinking that language brings to life, not just grammatical labels or how you conjugate verbs.

What advice would you give to emerging scholars from underrepresented, minoritized groups that are pursuing a career in education research?

I would say that above all, it is essential for emerging scholars from minoritized groups to know what about education research or development is specifically important to them, and how they intend to contribute to their field, to society, and to the improvement of the groups they represent.

Knowing where your passion resides brings more than just constant direction to scholarly efforts. During difficult moments, it will sustain those efforts. Embrace educational causes you care for, even if they don’t always seem important or popular. Think through them, research them, and communicate them, time and time again, in increasingly more potent ways.

Finally, it is essential to cultivate critical dialogue with colleagues to re-examine ideas, advance proposals, and gain sight into how synergetic efforts can advance the societal educational impact of immensely talented but minoritized groups.


Dr. Aída Walqui directs the National Research and Development Center for Improving the Education of English Learners in Secondary Schools at WestEd where she started and developed one of its signature programs, the Quality Teaching for English Learners (QTEL) initiative. QTEL focuses on the development of the expertise of teachers and educational leaders to support elementary and secondary English Learners’ conceptual, analytic, and language practices in disciplinary subject matter areas. Her main area of interest and research is teacher expertise in multilingual academic contexts and how to promote its growth across the continuum of teacher professional development. In 2016 on the 50th anniversary of the International TESOL Association Dr. Walqui was selected as one of the 50 most influential researchers in the last 50 years in the field of English Language teaching.

This blog post was produced by Helyn Kim (Helyn.Kim@ed.gov), program officer for the English Learner Portfolio at NCER.

Connecting to Place and People: How My Experiences with Native American Communities Motivate My Work

This year, Inside IES Research is publishing a series of blogs showcasing a diverse group of IES-funded education researchers and fellows that are making significant contributions to education research, policy, and practice. In this guest blog, Dr. Tabitha Stickel, a second-year postdoctoral research fellow at the Georgia State University (GSU) Postdoctoral Training on Adult Literacy (G-PAL) program shares her experiences working with adult education programs in Native American tribal lands and how it has shaped her work and purpose.

Entering Adult Education: Connection to the Land and Peoples of the Southwest

Prior to graduate school, I found work as an adult education teacher at a rural, southwestern community college in the traditional lands of the Diné (Navajo), the Hopi, and the Ndee (Western Apache). This college, which served the indigenous communities, was set in the short-grass prairies, spotted with juniper trees in a land that seemed silent and empty to the untrained eye. But the land was full of life and opportunity, and the students I met gave me new appreciation for the opportunities adult education could provide.

As an adjunct faculty in an adult basic and developmental education program, I traveled several hours each week to teach classes on the Diné and Hopi tribal lands. I was immediately struck by the students’ dedication to their education and personal goals—to be the first in their families to earn a college degree, help their children or grandchildren with homework, find or keep employment, and/or fulfill the promise of completing high school made to themselves or others. 

Challenges in Adult Education for Rural Students

Despite this dedication, adult students face a variety of barriers to attending classes. Adult students often must contend with the challenges of caretaking, work, and transportation—a perennial problem for rural students, as there is no public transportation. Some students were able to carpool, and some of the tribes arranged vans to transport the “closer” students to the campus.

Even when faced with such challenges, students showed up each week. I had students without electricity at home who used their cell phones to access class materials, one of many such examples of the digital divide in rural areas. I had a student who made burritos each week and sold them to raise money for a desk for her schoolwork. These students drove my passion for my work. When students overcome incredible odds for their education, how can an educator do anything other than rise to meet them? Earning an education credential, such as a high school equivalency, could have far-reaching positive outcomes for the students and their families. 

What My Students Taught Me

In addition to learning about the challenges and rewards adult learners face, I also learned the importance of listening to students and checking assumptions. For instance, I had a GED student who was chronically late. One day, I called her because I was frustrated that she was over an hour late, only to learn that she was on her way. In fact, she was walking more than 20 miles to come to class. She had been unable to hitch-hike to class as she normally would. I was completely humbled in that moment and realized that my assumptions were keeping me from understanding her. She ended up earning her GED a month later.

When my students shared their stories, I learned how their lived experiences—including the very land on which they lived—shaped them. When I began to truly listen to these stories and understand their importance, I became a better teacher. And I knew that these stories deserved to be heard and answered with more than I could offer as a single teacher.

Moving Between Two Worlds: Research and Practice

My experiences in the southwest prompted me to attend graduate school and research how to understand, empower, and teach adult learners. In general, however, there is insufficient research on adult education within and for certain populations. I wanted help to address this gap, so I centered my work on identifying culturally relevant themes of belonging for Native adult education students to explore the various pathways along which student belonging might develop.

In 2020, I returned to the adult education program I had worked in to gather stories from the students for my dissertation. I found student stories became intertwined with the pandemic and revealed the extent of the devastation the COVID-19 pandemic was having on the Native American communities and students’ sense of belonging. COVID-19 was making it more difficult for students to balance attending class and providing for their families. It was also making the digital divide even more apparent—as adult education programs transitioned to remote instruction, students had to navigate the realities of participating and belonging in the digital sphere. I further explore these themes in the Coalition on Adult Basic Education’s (COABE) forthcoming special issue on COVIDs effects on adult students.

As with other challenges, these Native communities and students continued to survive and thrive despite the tragedies of COVID-19. The students and staff in the adult education programs in these tribal communities deserve all the recognition in the world for their dedication, their creativity in addressing ever-present and ever-arising challenges, and their persistence.

My own commitment to this endeavor led me to become a postdoctoral fellow in the Georgia State University (GSU) Postdoctoral Training on Adult Literacy (G-PAL) program. I hope to soon return to the land and communities that have so integrally changed my life.  

Although I may return with more knowledge of the adult education field and how to facilitate classroom learning, I will occupy not just a “teacher” role but a student one as well, as I have much to learn from the lands, the people, and the experiences they inevitably shape.


Produced by Meredith Larson (Meredith.Larson@ed.gov), a program officer for IES Postdoctoral Training grants and Postsecondary and Adult Education research at NCER.

A Conversation About Educational Inequality With Outstanding Predoctoral Fellow Marissa Thompson

Each year, the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) recognizes an outstanding fellow from its Predoctoral Interdisciplinary Research Training Programs in the Education Sciences for academic accomplishments and contributions to education research. The 2021 awardee, Marissa Thompson, completed her PhD at Stanford University and worked as a postdoctoral fellow with the Education Policy Initiative at University of Michigan’s Ford School of Public Policy. This summer, she joins Columbia University as an assistant professor of sociology. Her work focuses on the relationship between education and socioeconomic and racial inequality over the course of life.

Recently, we caught up with Dr. Thompson and asked her to discuss her research on educational inequality and her experiences as a scholar.

How did you become interested in a career in education research?

For a long time, I thought that I wanted to become an engineering professor. I majored in chemical and biomolecular engineering in college and planned to pursue a doctoral degree in engineering after I graduated. Though I was excited about my undergraduate research projects, I was also passionate about diversity and inclusion in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. This led me to spend my free time in college working on programs within the School of Engineering that promoted more equitable access to these majors. At the same time, I began taking some courses outside of the engineering program, which led me to a series of introductory sociology electives and inspired me to think about a career in the social sciences.

My interests in educational inequality stemmed in part from my own experiences and challenges as a Black woman in the sciences, but also from the experiences of my classmates who had to overcome barriers to access these fields. I wanted to have a more direct impact on the policies and programs that help to mitigate racial and socioeconomic inequality in education, which led me to apply for graduate programs in sociology of education.

What inspired you to focus your research on understanding the role of education in shaping inequality?

I began my graduate studies with the goal of focusing more narrowly on access and persistence in STEM fields, but this quickly developed into a broader interest in educational inequality. I was fortunate to work on several projects with advisors and mentors that motivated my interests in educational inequality over the life course—from studying racial and socioeconomic achievement gaps in public school districts across the country to studying how processes of major choice can lead to increased gender segregation across fields. My work seeks to understand how a variety of sources—including structural inequality, policy changes, and individual preferences—are related to disparities in access to quality educational experiences. My goal as a researcher is to understand how patterns of inequality emerge as well as to research the efficacy of policies that might mitigate social inequality. In doing so, I hope to have an impact on reducing educational disparities for future generations.

What do you see as the greatest research needs or recommendations to improve the relevance of education research for diverse communities of students and families?

I think one of the most important ways that we can improve the relevance of education research for diverse communities of students and families is to involve a more diverse group of voices in the research process. This includes creating more opportunities for researchers from different backgrounds who may ask questions that are uniquely informed by their own experiences or the experiences of their communities. In addition, I also believe that, as researchers, we have a responsibility to speak to the communities that are affected by the policies and patterns that we influence.  

What advice would you give to emerging scholars that are pursuing a career in education research?

My first piece of advice would be to find mentors and peers in graduate school who can support you. I have benefitted tremendously from the encouragement of my support system, and I have learned so much from my mentors and peers along the way. I would also encourage students from outside of the traditional social sciences to consider research in education. As an undergraduate engineering major, I was initially afraid to take a leap and change disciplines for graduate school, but in retrospect, I’m so glad that I did. At the time, I worried that my skillset and training in a different discipline would be a disadvantage, but I believe that my interdisciplinary background and unique perspective have helped me to grow my research agenda in ways that would not have been possible otherwise. 


This blog was produced by Bennett Lunn (Bennett.Lunn@ed.gov), Truman-Albright Fellow. It is part of an Inside IES Research blog series showcasing a diverse group of IES-funded education researchers and fellows that are making significant contributions to education research, policy, and practice.

LGBTQ+ Education Research: Why Iā€™m Proud to be a Part of It

This year, Inside IES Research is publishing a series of blogs showcasing a diverse group of IES-funded education researchers and fellows that are making significant contributions to education research, policy, and practice. In celebration of PRIDE month, three IES training fellows reflect on the state of education research for LGBTQ+ students and what motivates them to pursue this area.

Damon R. Carbajal (he/él) is a community scholar, educator, activist, and alumni of the University of New Mexico, Research Institute for Scholars of Equity (RISE) program, residing in Albuquerque, New Mexico, whose work focuses on recentering intersectional identities in and out of educational spaces. Souksavanh T. Keovorabouth (they/them), Diné, completed the University of Arizona Pathways to Doctoral Studies in Education-Related Fields and is currently a PhD candidate at both Oregon State University and Macquarie University (Sydney, Australia) as a Cotutelle Student, whose research focuses on the Indigenous urban experience, Two-Spirit wellbeing and Two-Spirit in urban areas, Relocation Act 1950, Native and Queer urbanization, BIPOC masculinities, and missing and murdered Indigenous women. Sarah Rosenbach (she/her) is a PhD candidate in psychology and social intervention at New York University, where she was a fellow in the NYU Predoctoral Interdisciplinary Research Training Program in Education Sciences during her first 4 years of graduate study, and is currently based in Honolulu, HI and researching evidence-based ways in which schools and other youth-serving settings can support the healthy development of LGBTQ adolescents.

 

What excites you about education research relevant to LGBTQ+ communities?

Damon R. Carbajal (DRC): As a gay, queer, Chicanx person, I have not had the easiest time in school and often felt I was voiceless. I see research as a powerful tool to help create safer spaces for all in education spaces. This is what keeps me going and what creates my deep connection to my research because I know that it helps to create spaces and opportunities that I did not have. Allowing folks to voice their lived experiences is critical for the growth of academia, research, and individuals. Overall, my excitement comes from the community we form when decentered voices are recentered in holistic ways that project the beauty and resilience of the queer community. This recentering is at the heart of all my work, and the impact is critical.

 

Souksavanh T. Keovorabouth (STK): What excites me is that I am able to bring in my own experience and experiences of other Queer Indigenous people into the light. Many Queer, Trans, and Two-Spirit Indigenous people have been erased, even by our own communities. Two-Spirit is an umbrella term used to signify the vast diverse set of genders, sexes, and sexualities within Indigenous communities pre-colonialization. We use this term to bring that history into the present. I focus on urban Indigenous LGBTQ2S+ communities because many of us have been or are displaced and removed based on our diverse gender, sex, and sexuality selves and we need to (re)establish communities of care. Through our tracing of histories and lineages, we can see that Two-Spirit people are vital to our true restoration of Indigenous sovereignty.

 

Sarah Rosenbach (SR): I am excited for the field to begin to translate this evidence to practice in teams of interdisciplinary researchers who are in partnership with educators and community organizations. Schools are perhaps the single most studied context for LGBTQ+ youth. Together with my collaborators, I have contributed to a growing body of research focused on the state of LGBTQ+ youth experiences in schools. I have been fortunate to work with an amazing team of LGBTQ+ folks in education, psychology, public health, and sociology. The ability to show up to this work as my true self and to work towards improving school experiences for LGBTQ+ youth in community is very meaningful to me. With a groundswell of empirical support building across disciplines, we have reached a critical turning point for action. I am excited for the field to begin to translate this evidence to practice in teams of interdisciplinary researchers who are in partnership with educators and community organizations. I believe that it is time for us to turn to creating and testing school-based prevention, intervention, and health promotion programs that specifically examine – and alter - the ways that schools socialize cisnormativity and heteronormativity in the lives of all youth.

How has being a member of or ally to the LGBTQ+ community influenced your path as researcher?

DRC: As a gay, queer, Chicanx researcher, educator, and activist, I believe that being a member of the LGBTQ+ community has influenced my research in a variety of ways including the research I focus on as well as the idea of even jumping into research. When I first started college, I wanted to be a high school teacher and had not thought about anything else. During undergrad, I had research fellowships and mentorship experiences that helped me realize that I could create more safe spaces and reach more students and educators through a research path. This realization was life altering and allowed me to grow into a researcher whose queer and BIPOC roots grant me insights that are new and authentic because of my social awareness and new perspectives. As a researcher, I can draw upon my life experiences, which include trauma, assault, and other facets of life—facets of my life that are sadly the reality of many who are in the LGBTQ+ and other marginalized communities.

Because of my identity, I feel I am more likely to pursue topics that have often been overlooked or viewed as taboo. For example, my thesis examined LGBTQIA+ Mexican/x youth experiences of mental health in and out of schooling settings. Highly intersectional research such as this is not heavily represented in the field, except by researchers who are often members of the non-dominant communities. Overall, being an LGBTQ+ researcher can be taxing as I am often the only queer and/or Chicanx person in research spaces, but always highly rewarding because I am able to make a mark in the research world for and by my community.

STK: Being Queer and Nadleeh (Two-Spirit in Navajo language) influences my research because these aspects of me grant me the ability to draw upon stories and experiences to navigate the world outside of western construction of gender, sex, and sexuality. My research journey began in 2016. I was not feeling safe as a Queer, Brown, multiracial person, and I knew that others were feeling the same way, especially as policy debates and political actions, such as those reported by the Fenway Institute, took shape. We were being marginalized and erased, and this impacts mental health. Research indicates that LGBTQ+ youth are 4 times more likely to attempt suicide than their straight peers and that Indigenous LGBTQ+ youth are 2.5 more likely than their non-Indigenous LGBTQ+ peers. The Trevor Project survey also found that Indigenous youth who were accepted by their family and communities were nearly 60 percent less likely to attempt suicide. These numbers have really fueled the work that I do because I am able to use my voice and scholarship to give back to my communities and address their needs and support them. My identities have and continue to influence my path as a researcher because this is for all my community to move from having to survive to beginning to thrive. When I am done with my PhDs, I aim to continue writing, teaching, and working with my community through my research on Queer, Trans, and Two-Spirit identity, as we are vital to Indigenous futures.

SR: We are seeing a nationwide onslaught of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation aimed at dismantling hard-earned yet tenuous civil rights and coordinated with efforts to dismantle culturally responsive pedagogy and antiracist education. It is critical for all of us, those in the LGBTQ+ community and allies, to speak out in support of all LGBTQ+ youth with our local reporters, school boards, city councils, and state legislatures. But this is just one part of the solution. We must continually ask our LGBTQ+ community, “How may I better serve you?” and let the answers drive our scholarship and our activism. We must partner with movements in antiracist and decolonizing education. Together, we can leverage our scholarship and activism to reimagine our education systems towards justice for all.


Produced by Meredith Larson (Meredith.Larson@ed.gov), a program officer for IES Postdoctoral Training grants.