Journal of Educational Controversy


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Call for Papers for the Journal of Educational Controversy

We invite authors to contribute to our Volume 9 Number 1 issue of the Journal of Educational Controversy on the theme: "Challenging the Deficit Model and the Pathologizing of Children: Envisioning Alternative Models."  This issue will once again be co-edited with Susan Donnelly, who was guest editor for our issue on "The Education and Schools our Children Deserve."


THEME: Challenging the Deficit Model and the Pathologizing of Children: Envisioning Alternative Models


Martin Seligman, founder of the field of positive psychology, has said that, “Modern psychology has been co-opted by the disease model. We've become too preoccupied with repairing damage when our focus should be on building strength and resilience, especially in children.” Is this also true of modern education? Political and pedagogical responses, from the “War on Poverty” through “No Child Left Behind” to address the educational gaps in academic achievement of historically marginalized and neglected groups (the poor, minorities and children with disabilities), were often deeply rooted in a language of cultural deprivation and special needs. Has this deficit model begun to surreptitiously creep into our educational discourse for all children? Have we become too focused on needs and deficiencies and forgotten that children also have capacities and strengths? Does the current emphasis on accountability and standardized testing contribute to the pathologizing of children? We invite authors to respond critically to this argument, envision alternative models, examine historical causes and precedents, analyze political and social ramifications, and share real life stories on the influence these ways of thinking have on the classroom and on the learning as experienced by students.



Thursday, June 13, 2013

Where is Curtis Acosta Now?

Editor:  We have been following the events on the banning of the Mexican-American Studies Program in Tucson, Arizona both in this blog as well as in our journal.  One of the key players is Curtis Acosta, a teacher of the curriculum when it flourished in the school district and a participant in the federal court case that may determine its future.   Curtis will be a keynote speaker at the Northwest Teaching for Social Justice Conference on October 19, 2013 in Seattle.  He will be visiting Western Washington University at that time to give a talk and to appear on our new, upcoming television program (more about that later).  We will have a special section on the events in the Tucson Unified School District in our next issue of the Journal of Educational Controversy on the topic: "Who Defines the Public in Public Education?"  We will include an article by Curtis along with an interview with the director of Precious Knowledge, a film in which Curtis' teaching is featured.  The director, Ari Palos, has also given us permission to insert a section of the film in the journal.  Below are the latest happenings in Curtis' life that he shared on the Education Liberation Listserv.

From Curtis Acosto to his Friends and Supporters 

As many of you may have heard, I have decided to take a leave of absence from Tucson Unified School District. It was with a heavy heart that I made this decision but in order to maintain the integrity of my work with youth it could no longer be in a district that banned my curriculum, pedagogy, and boxed our books. For more details, I invite you to read my open letter on the Rethinking Schools blog.

For the foreseeable future, I will continue teaching Chican@ Literature to high school students for college credit, as well as completing my dissertation at the University of Arizona.

I have also started my own education consultation firm, the Acosta Latino Learning Partnership, where I hope my years in the classroom can be of service to teachers, schools, districts, and educational organizations throughout the country.

In the meantime, I cannot wait to see everyone in Chicago at Free Minds, Free People July 11-14. I am excited for Radical PD this year since we have an amazing collection of teachers and youth lined up, as well as our first Ethnic Studies National Assembly on Sunday the 14th.

The fire for educational justice burns as bright as ever in Tucson thanks to the amazing national support we received from you all, and the unbreakable resolve of this community. Mil gracias!

In Lak Ech,

Curtis Acosta
Watch a press conference with Curtis Acosta on You Tube.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

An Open Question to our Readers: What Controversies Should We Examine in Future Issues

As we prepare for our next issue of the Journal of Educational Controversy, I thought it might be important to get some feedback from our readers on the controversies that they would like to see examined in the journal.  This is an open request for your ideas.  You can comment on the blog, or send an e-mail to

We are also looking for new reviewers for our manuscripts.  If you are interested, e-mail a vita with your areas of expertise and interests to