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Curriculum and Instruction News

Bullock receives top paper honors for examining race, place and STEM education in journal Educational Studies

October 31, 2017

UW-Madison’s Erika Bullock is receiving the Taylor & Francis Best Paper award for her recently published report, “Only STEM can Save Us? Examining Race, Place and STEM Education as Property.”

Each year, the American Educational Studies Association’s Taylor & Francis Best Paper Committee reviews all of the manuscripts published in the journal Educational Studies for the year. The committee then selects one as the paper of the year.

“One of my goals in this paper was to recognize a community from which so much has been taken — and continues to be taken — over generations,” says Bullock, an assistant professor of mathematics education with the School of Education’s No. 1-ranked Department of Curriculum and Instruction. “This award is an honor both for me and for them.”

In the paper’s abstract, Bullock explains how “the rhetoric about science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education in urban schools reflects a desire to imagine a new city that is poised to compete in a STEM-centered future. Therefore, STEM has been positioned as a critical part of urban education reform efforts.”

Bullock goes on to note how efforts to build a STEM education infrastructure in Memphis, Tenn., clearly reveal issues with educational inequity that are exacerbated by school choice and gentrification processes.

Bullock adds: “When one filters the STEM education conversation through critical race theory (CRT), it becomes apparent that efforts to build a selective STEM infrastructure in urban schools effectively reclaim urban space as White space.”

To learn much more about this important, nuanced topic, check out Bullock’s award-winning paper, which was published Sept. 25, on this journal of Educational Studies web page.

“I think that the case in Memphis that I present in the paper is a picture of what we have seen in cities across the country,” says Bullock. “STEM has become a banner under which to execute the accumulation-by-dispossession methodology of ‘school choice’ in urban contexts. Going forward, I will continue this investigation of STEM education as an equity strategy in Memphis and other cities.”

Bullock will receive her award at the American Educational Studies Association’s annual conference in Pittsburgh on Saturday, Nov. 4.

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