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After the "At-Risk" Label

Reorienting Educational Policy and Practice

Keffrelyn D. Brown

216 pages
Teachers College Press
This book examines how the use of the “at-risk” category and label creates problems for students and teachers. Drawing from research across various education sites, the author illustrates how educators recognize the label’s potential to redress issues of equity, but warns that it can also stigmatize the students so labeled. Brown explores how the labeling and subsequent practices by teachers and schools actually affect students, such as classifying many individuals as deficient. The text provides a historical overview, discusses the role of federal education policy and teaching, and includes tools to help readers acquire more complex, critical understandings of risk in educational practice. After the "At-Risk" Label not only challenges the education community to reorient itself to a more equitable discourse, it provides a framework for changing the structural conditions of schooling to better serve all students. Book Features: Offers a critical appraisal of how schools, policy, and teachers may be complicit in exacerbating conditions that lead to risk. Shows how race and class biases might be manifested in the “at-risk” identification process. Outlines a framework for making sense of, and acting in response to, risk that attends to both the individual and the institution. Provides a set of key questions, terms, and a list of extended activities in each chapter.
Author Bio
Keffrelyn D. Brown is an associate professor of cultural studies in education in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at The University of Texas at Austin.