Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Service for What? For Whom?

The House of Representatives last week passed the GIVE Act, which would, among other things, provide up to $6 billion in federal funds to increase AmeriCorps, expand volunteers to 250,000 (up from 75,000 currently), increase education funding, expand service-learning for K-12 education and colleges and universities, and expand service options for seniors and veterans. This bill is analogous to one currently in the Senate, the Serve America Act, which will most likely replace the House version. The Senate version was endorsed by both Obama and McCain back during the campaign on 9/11 in NYC. The likely money is that it will pass later this week.

I want to focus on one small aspect of this bill, what has been termed
“Campuses of Service” in the bill. The short story is that each state will submit the names of three institutions (one 4-year public, one 4-year private, and one 2-year institution). The Corporation for National and Community Service then chooses 25 “Campuses of Service” out of all of these submissions. There are six criteria for judging the submissions; I want to focus on the first three (the fourth has to do with work study, and numbers five and six focus on graduates going into public service employment and careers):

  • the number of service-learning courses offered
  • the number and percentage of students who were enrolled in the service-learning courses
  • the percentage of students on the campus engaging in activities providing community services, the quality of such activities, and the average amount of time spent, per student, engaged in such activities

What becomes immediately clear is that such criteria are neatly aligned to the Carnegie Foundation’s voluntary “community engagement” classification. This is the diffusion model of institutionalizing service-learning across higher education, most clearly seen in a highly popular rubric developed by Andy Furco. I have in my previous work contrasted this incrementalist vision with a transformational vision.

There is nothing wrong with either institutionalization model or the entire “Campuses of Service” premise if one believes that we in higher education actually know what we mean by “service” and “service-learning”; i.e., if in fact we actually know how to do it, how to teach it, and how to assess it. If, moreover, we know how to actually do the “4 Rs”: reflection, reciprocity, respect, and relevance.

The conventional wisdom is that we do. According to the most recent
HERI survey, faculty have overwhelming become attuned to community engagement, with 88 percent believing that colleges should be actively involved with local community issues and the majority finding it "very important" or "essential" to "instill in students a commitment to community service." Campus Compact is thriving, and President Obama’s consistent calls for a culture of service makes the bandwagon pretty darn big.

Yet I am not so sure. For if one begins to dig down into the details, it becomes pretty muddy pretty fast. The “campuses of service” and Carnegie classification models are deeply and distinctly campus-centric. As Amy Driscoll, the point person for this initiative at Carnegie,
acknowledges, community involvement and impact are the least amenable to institutions’ documented success. Or as Randy Stoeker, a key scholar in the community-based research movement, ruefully notes in a wonderful forthcoming book with Elizabeth Tryon, Unheard Voices, “By not knowing what service learning does to the communities it purports to serve, we risk creating unintended side effects that exacerbate, rather than alleviate, the problems those communities suffer from…We may be setting into motion dialectical processes that ultimately undermine the entire effort of service learning.”

The federal model is an attempt to develop a useful proxy variable for service through sheer force of numbers. The more courses, the more students, the more hours, then, seemingly, the better the service. But this is silly and dangerous. It promotes quantity over quality, through-put of students rather than sustained impact, and sky-high numbers rather than on-the-ground changes. Stoeker and Tryon’s work, for example, found that the short-term nature of service-learning was one of the major problems faced by community partners. This needs to be acknowledged.

Even the service-learning field itself is worried. A
“democratic engagement white paper” getting lots of recent attention is a summary of a 2008 conference at the Kettering Foundation of the major players in the community engagement movement. The conference’s central guiding question was: “Why has the civic engagement movement in higher education stalled and what are the strategies needed to further advance institutional transformation aimed at generating democratic, community-based knowledge and action?” The conference attendees provided numerous responses (such as the lack of clear definitions and high fragmentation) before propounding a new model of “democratic engagement” rather than simply “civic engagement.” While laudatory, the binary nature of its vision and guiding assumptions of the academy and the community suggests, at least to me, that it will not have much traction for truly changing actual practices and policies in higher education. (I am writing more on this white paper for another time.)

So what’s my point? My point is that while the key players in the service-learning movement worry that their deeper vision of transforming higher education has not come to fruition, the movement they have launched is only further gaining steam. As I wrote a couple years back, my sense is that the service-learning movement is about to get swamped by the very institution it attempted to storm. This is of course not a one-way street. Higher education has of course embraced important aspects of community engagement. But look again at that HERI survey: Two-thirds of the faculty surveyed felt that community service should be considered when admitting applicants. Um. That’s really nice. But some states require every single high school student to perform community service in order to graduate.
Maryland has been doing this since 1997. So does every Maryland applicant now have an advantage in the college admittance race?

More likely, what is being expressed by faculty is an idealistic and idealized sentiment of “service.” It is a sentiment that sounds great in rhetoric but has highly deleterious consequences
in practice. It privileges a whole host of already hierarchical relationships about who serves whom, to what end, and for whose benefit. In the end, it all too often becomes all about the faculty teaching, the privileged college students volunteering, and the colleges which get the attention from all this activity. Not because anyone is doing anything “wrong,” per se. It’s just that the system as set up highlights and rewards exactly the wrong criteria for determining quality and impact.

Which takes me back, finally, to these “campuses of service.” What we are basically seeing is the institutionalization of service-learning exactly in the wrong way as envisioned by the founders of the movement. This is goal displacement, from attempting to make a difference to attempting to count the numbers. It is the end product of the quantification of the field. It is a mistake. All that is counted are students, courses, and hours. There is no community. There is no impact. What is left unquestioned, and thus unanswered are just the basic questions: ”Service-learning for whom?” and “Service-learning for what?”

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Will There Be "Urban" Poverty in the Future? From the Inner-City to the Doughnut

If it continues (and it likely will), the continuing geographical shift of concentrated poverty from the central city to the suburbs will deeply affect visions of "urban education." Our current model is based on the idea that concentrated poverty around cities is focused in central city areas.

What happens when concentrated poverty shifts to the suburbs?

While there will surely be urban concentrated poverty for a long time, there is evidence that poor people of color are shifting out of central city areas and attempting to "escape" to the suburbs.

Of course the problem, well known by housing scholars, is that it doesn't take that many poor people of color to "tip" a neighborhood into white/middle-class flight.

When poverty is located in a city, there are at least some established sets of services, smaller distances to travel, and a tax base that consists of more than housing. What happens when a small suburb that depends on housing for tax revenues becomes poor and its housing values plummet (yes, I know, we are already finding out--but right now this isn't necessarily a shift towards concentrated poverty). Who is going to pay for schools, sewer, etc.?

From a recent article in Miller-McCune:

The displaced poor find value in the aging, outer-ring tract-home developments that once promised easy living far from the city's hustle and bustle. And housing officials, resolved to breaking up pockets of concentrated poverty (where at least 40 percent of the families are living below the poverty line), are thrilled. The federal Section 8 housing program, which allows recipients to negotiate government-subsidized rentals anywhere, is grounded in the belief that a safe, stable neighborhood can help unbuckle the straps of poverty.

But the positive benefits of moving to a neighborhood of less poverty diminish as the number of poor relocating there increases, new research suggests. In other words, families are far less likely to pull themselves out of poverty when their exposure to other poor families reaches a kind of tipping point. George C. Galster, a professor of urban affairs at Wayne State University, has quantified this poverty threshold as roughly 15 to 20 percent of a neighborhood. If the poverty rate exceeds that, Galster said, "All hell breaks loose" in the form of crime, drop-out rates, teen pregnancies, drug use and, in turn, declining property values.

Galster's working paper for the National Poverty Center, Consequences from the Redistribution of Urban Poverty During the 1990s: A Cautionary Tale, warns that polices to break up concentrated poverty may be backfiring. While the number of Americans living in the poorest neighborhoods has notably declined since 1990, by about 25 percent, poverty elsewhere has inched up. Galster worries that the rush to relocate the urban poor, through Section 8 and other poverty redistribution programs, has pushed many less-desirable suburban neighborhoods to this tipping point.

The article is focused on "keep the poor people out" kinds of solutions, instead of on wider questions about poverty. Although, if you are poor and live in a neighborhood that might tip, do you really want more poor people to move in? (Hello, institutional racism.)

Also see work by Myron Orfield, including this decade-old piece (PDF) predicting just what we are seeing and also actually discussing some solutions (he was a state legislator before he became a professor). (He's the brother of another Orfield you might have heard of.)

Saturday, March 14, 2009

This is cross-posted at Social Issues  deweycsi.blogspot.com:

This week freedom fighter/terrorist William Ayers (who is also an educational theorist and reformer) will be giving an endowed education lecture at Millersville University (Pennsylvania) where I teach.   Ayers coming has generated a high level of controversy in the community as legislators have demanded cancellation, citizens have written damning letters to the editor, and "patriots" have made, ironically enough, terroristic threats against the University and its President.  Press coverage has been significant and generally fair. (For a look, go to www.lancasteronline.com and search "Ayers.") 

The University President has made it clear that the lecture will go on, but the university is under an intellectual "lock down."  Tickets for the lecture were limited to students, faculty and staff, and community in that order, and supplies were exhausted before the faculty stepped up to claim theirs.  Faculty members have been directed not to talk about the lecture or the lecturer.  Security is -- appropriately -- heightened.  

What follows is my commentary on the decision to limit discussion and downplay Ayers' visit.  It will appear in the university newspaper, "The Snapper," this week.

What are we afraid of?  Bill Ayers is coming to MU and we’re missing a huge educational opportunity.  We’ve opted instead for prudence.  Nobody will ever know for sure if that was the right choice, but we can at least meditate a bit on the decision.

We could all -– conservatives and liberals, hippies and preppies, protestors and supporters – have been licking our chops.  We could have planned teach ins and special sessions, sold books and passed around electronic copies of articles, engaged the whole community, invited them to join us in our dialogue about who we are as American educators -- because Bill Ayers embodies two issues that are the bread and butter of American politics and American education.

The first issue involves civil disobedience.  Ayers protested -- violently and admittedly illegally -- against the war in Vietnam and the draft that threatened the lives of his generation of men.  Property was destroyed.  Was he right to do so?  Does his case meet Thoreau’s standards for challenging the tax collector?  How is Ayers’ case different from the Boston Tea Party for instance? 

The second question asks what education is for.   Ayers espouses education for intellectual freedom (rather than for economic adjustment), not just for those with the means to exercise such freedom but for those disempowered students who attend urban schools.  Is his position the obvious one for a democratic educator or is it an anarchist challenge to American capitalism?  Or perhaps both?   These are fabulous questions, worthy of our consideration and definitive of the liberal arts education we claim to provide. 

Some say – even some who agree with Ayers’ educational philosophy and see, in his Weatherman days, justifiable civil disobedience – that we shouldn’t have invited Ayers to give the Lockey Lecture.  “Not prudent” (as Dana Garvey used to say in his imitation of the first George Bush).  No, it probably wasn’t prudent.  But it’s done now and I’m glad it is.  I have read the often nasty letters to the editor of the past several weeks , but I have also listened to friends and others -- near and far – comment on how pleased they are that Millersville is  hosting Ayers and/or that the university is not caving to unreasonable demands.

Unfortunately, though, we’re not licking our chops.   We are hunkered down, waiting for this too to pass.

Let me be clear.  President McNairy has stood tall on the issue of academic freedom.  She has done so in a dignified way in the face of organized opposition. I applaud the Administration, not for backing up Bill Ayers, but for finding a center and staying there.  And the Administration has exercised prudence, acting to control the media buzz, the potential circus of protestors, and the unfortunately real possibility of “counter-terror.” But our prudence is preventing learning.   We are not engaging the community; we are excluding them.

Why didn’t CCERP (Center for Community Engagement) grab a hold of this and schedule speakers who balanced Ayers’ presence, including especially our own alums who have spoken eloquently in local papers on both sides of both issues?  Why didn’t the Office of Social Equity use their considerable talents at facilitating dialogue on difficult issues to invite every single person who wrote a letter to the editor or made a phone call to sit at a table with a liberal faculty member and conservative member (there are some, you know J), with conservative student and a liberal student (there are some, you know J) to talk all of this through?  Why isn’t the School of Education changing the location to Pucillo Gym as we did with former Lockey Lecturer Jonathan Kozol in order to encourage every future and present teacher to attend?

The answer is prudence – and that scares me.  This “teachable moment” is passing us by. 

Perhaps you aren’t familiar with the concept “teachable moment.”  It refers to the instant when the stars align and the light is concentrated just where you need it to be in a classroom.   Something happens and all of a sudden everybody’s paying attention.  And they’re paying attention because what they have taken for granted has been challenged.  And that, my friends, is the description of openness, of optimum conditions for learning.

I know.  Teachable moments are painful – even dangerous -- moments.  They are; there’s no way around it.  And often we’d just as soon avoid the teachable moments and go on pretending that this is a temporary problem and not a persistent opening to growth and wisdom.  But we can’t. Once the door is open, students are learning.

So what are they learning from us now that Bill Ayers’ coming opened the door?

They are learning that we as a community will stand up for academic freedom and freedom of speech – and that’s a wonderful thing.  But they also know that we have chosen prudence over growth – and that’s less wonderful.

I suppose it isn’t prudent of me to write this essay.  But no matter.  It is my way of seizing the opportunity that the Ayers’ appearance offers.  I don’t know if Ayers is worth the hubbub.  But we are.  We are worth the hassle of protests.  We are worth the struggle to communicate and to understand even where we can’t agree.  That is why we are here.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Tales for Little Rebels: An Anthology of Radical Children's Literature

Of course I must get this book.

Tales for Little Rebels is the first anthology of radical children’s literature published in the United States. . . . .

Tales for Little Rebels . . . explores the inherently political nature of kid lit through an expansive collection of examples.

In his foreword, folklorist and scholar Jack Zipes claims that the late arrival of such a book is no accident. . . . “We tend to repress the crucial issues that children need to know to adjust to a rapidly changing world. We tend to repress what is at the heart of the conflicts that determine our lives. We have tried to ‘nourish’ children by feeding them literature that we think is appropriate for them. Or, put another way, we have manipulated them through oral forms of communication and prescriptions in print to think or not to think about the world around them.”

Does anyone out there know of a good ideological analysis of children's literature and/or television? I'm interested in the overall messages given to kids by these key avenues of socialization. Dora the Explorer anyone?

My 2 year old actually walked over to me this morning and started singing me the opening bars of the All Things Considered theme tune. Da da da da da da dat da.

Poverty and Potential: Out-of-School Factors and School Success

New paper by David Berliner. Nicely done summary of the effects of non-school issues on school performance.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

A 14-Year-Old Takes Down Ruby Payne

Have people seen this youtube video? Not to be missed.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Kevin Welner's "Neovouchers" - a review

The debate over school choice now clearly needs to be expanded. Kevin Welner, an Associate Professor of Education at the University of Colorado and director of their The Education and the Public Interest Center (EPIC) is uniquely positioned to examine the material, holding both a Ph. D. in Educational Policy and a law degree. He thoroughly does so in a new book entitled NeoVouchers: The Emergence of Tuition Tax Credits for Private Schooling published last September by Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc. The book thoroughly covers a broad range of related topics, including examining research, the implications of policy including legal and financial implications. Most of all, it offers perhaps the first comprehensive examination of a new approach which he calls “neovouchers.” Unlike traditional vouchers, these do not represent a direct payment of government funds to individuals. Rather these are state policies that grant tax credits to individuals or businesses for donations they make to organizations that provide students with financial aid for private schools. Neovouchers represent an important phenomenon that is changing the shape of education. This book is an important tool in understanding that phenomenon.

It is important that while Welner thinks neovouchers are an important topic worthy of close examination, he is no necessarily totally opposed to every possible manifestation of neovouchers, even as he maintains a healthy amount of skepticism about what we have learned from current implementations. Thus we read in the introduction his rationale for writing about neovouchers especially as a means of broadening the opportunities to expand access to high-quality educational opportunities, especially to children in low-income households who are most at risk:

This book offers a comprehensive exploration of the record and potential of tuition tax credit policies, with regard to this goal and others. As compared to true voucher policies, tax credit policies are more pervasive and more likely to survive legal challenge. Yet these tuition tax credit policies - these neovouchers - have managed to fly under the voucher radar. A careful examination is overdue. p. 3

We can combine this with the final paragraph in the main text, from pp. 112-113, where after having mentioned how far neovouchers have come and that they have advantages and disadvantages, intended and unintended effects:
I have personally come to appreciate these policies (and their underlying philosophies) as advancing a form of liberty. But I am also critical of the shift away from the recognized practices of democratic control over education, and I m concerned that these policies appear to further stratify the educational experience. Perhaps most troubling or me is the possible abandonment of a key part of the civic mission of schooling, given the likely cycle of our current understandings of citizenship and democracy shaping our educational practices, and those practices then shaping our future understandings of these concepts. Wise policymakers will look down the road, experimenting with promising new approaches but always keeping in mind a long-term vision of American schooling and democracy.

The issue Welner addresses is not hypothetical: as he notes, three states - Arizona, Florida and Pennsylvania - had at the time he wrote well established tuition tax credits laws and three more - Georgia, Iowa, and Rhode Island - hd recently introduced them. In six appendices he offers the text of the laws of five states and of the bill proposing the credits in Georgia, because the law was being adopted as the book went to press.

The book is packed with information. Welner laws it out in six chapters, starting with the Introduction. His subsequent 6 chapters cover a wide range of topics. In a chapter entitled, in quotes, “Something SO Close To Vouchers,” he presents a comprehensive overview of the various attempts at promoting competition with public schools, whether those are formally labeled as vouchers, or placed under a different title such as Florida’s Mackay Opportunity Scholarships. An examination of the research on the various efforts leads him to caution that market-based solutions might not solve “what ails American schooling. The combination of stratification plus few or no achievement or competition benefits leaves little (other than ideological preference) on which to hang one’s policy hat.” (p. 25). Yet he cautions that despite identifiable problems such as stratification and little evidence of achievement benefits, the downsides identified are minimal, thus leaving advocates of such approaches some room within which to maneuver.

To give a complete scope of the material packed into this small book, let me merely list the titles of the remaining 5 chapters:

3 Preferring Preferences: Taxes as Policy Instruments
4 Current Knowledge on the Nature and Effects of Neovoucher Policies
5 Taxing the Establishment Clause: Exploring the Constitutional Issues
6 Policy and Political Implications
7 Future Prospects: Tinkering with Utopia

Because a review of this length does not allow thorough exploration of all the material, the remainder of this revue will concentrate on chapters 5 and 6. I focus on 5 because traditionally one opposition to voucher programs has been the argument that it could represent government money going to religious schools. Yet even before the Supreme Court somewhat eliminated the First Amendment separation issue in Zelman v. Simmons-Harris (2002), the landscape was not as clear as many may have thought. And the current status of jurisprudence is that while Zelman eliminated the obstacle of the First Amendment as a federal matter, it did not address any limitations within State constitutions, especially those with so-called Blaine amendments originally offered as anti-catholic measures in the somewhat more distant past. One might argue that should these state constitutional amendments be litigated before the Supreme Court, that it might a variety of methods choose to invalidate such provisions, for example on an equal protection basis. Welner thoroughly explores aspects of the various issues that come into play. Here his legal background is of particular value in enabling him to clarify the landscape. He thoroughly explores the evolution of the Court’s reasoning in developing tests and standards, exploring for example how the 3-part test established in Lemon v. Kurtzman (1971) has been modified over time in subsequent cases to matters of endorsement, coercion and a rubric of neutrality. Against this he lays out the landscape of 36 states (and Puerto Rico) having Blaine provisions in their constitution, while 29 (including 18 with Blaine language) have a second provision that prohibits taxpayers from having to support any ministry. “Only Michigan’s state constitution includes language that directly and specifically vouchers and tax benefits (p. 67).

I have taken the time to demonstrate how thorough Welner is because the opposition to vouchers, and likely to neovouchers as well, has often been fought precisely on the grounds of a violation of separation of church and state, and it is important as the phenomenon continues, as seem likely, given the expansion of the use of tax credits from 3 to 6 states in recent years, to be sure those involved in such policy matters fully understand the nature of all issues that will come into play.

Let me note as an aside that one can read this chapter by itself as a thorough introduction to Supreme Court jurisprudence on the interplay of government and religion, especially as it plays out in schools. This is an issue that I have studied extensively, and about which I instruct my Advanced Placement students. The chapter is of value just for that.

Welner is also able to bring into play implications of other decision of the Supreme Court. For example, he notes the decision in Romer v Evans (1996) that invalidated a Colorado Constitutional amendment that sought to prevent jurisdictions “from instituting civil rights measures against sexual orientation discrimination. . . The Court analyzed the law as specifically targeting one group for lesser legal protection and therefore as in violation of the equal protection clause (pp. 73-74). Thus would could readily see how the Court MIGHT rule a Blaine provision as similarly violative of the 14th Amendment equal protection provisions. Welner demonstrates his thoroughness by offering a counterbalancing caution:
Ironically, school choice itself could be challenged with a similar argument - that the policies were initiated because of a desire to harm a politically unpopular group. Choice became a prominent policy in the wake of Brown v. Board of Education. Instead of mandating that black and white students attend separate schools, boards adopted so-called freedom of choice policies purportedly allowing all students the option of enrolling in whichever school they wished. p. 74
Of course, any Black student who attempted to enroll where s/he was not wanted would face implicit, and not particularly subtle, threats to discourage such action.

Let me briefly examine the chapter on policy and political implications. First, Welner provides a very complex formula, which I will neither reproduce nor attempt to explain, on page 85, which is supposed to demonstrate how neovoucher policies save public funds. He then examines the reality behind the calculations. He notes that in Arizona, the pro-voucher Goldwater Institute calculated that the state suffered a net loss of #13-18 million in one school year, and that only about 12% of the neovouchers had gone to transferring students. This highlights one problem common in voucher proposals that is still part of many neovoucher approaches: the problems of ensuring that the funds go only to those transferring from supposedly inferior public schools to nonpublic schools. Attempts to control the problems are not always successful. For example, some states prohibit a family from gaining a tax credit contributing to a “scholarship” (or equivalent) for their own children, but that ban is easily circumvented by families pairing up to contribute on behalf of each other’s offspring. That is not to say that such policy issues cannot be addressed, but in the relatively new world of neovouchers they have not as yet been completely addressed.

Similar, Welner notes the requirement in some states that private funds going to neovouchers partially help fund public schools, perhaps requiring 1/3 of funds contributed by a corporation be retained for funding programs within the public system. He also notes that some policy makers prefer neovouchers over more traditional vouchers for a variety of reasons. First, neovouchers do not represent a direct expenditure of government funds, which gets around the Blaine restrictions. Second, by giving a tax credit neovouchers CAN save states money not expended on behalf of the students no longer in the public school, although as already noted of the neovoucher goes to a student who was already in a nonpublic setting, the money saving function is reversed because of the decline in revenue received by the government. And simply put, “tax credits may simply look better than spending increases . . . many taxpayers perceive a tax credit as a tax cut, even though the practical budgetary effect is the same as a direct expenditure” (p. 91) which makes neovouchers easier to “sell” as policy.

By now you should have a sense of the richness of this slender volume. While I am primarily a public school teacher, I have a strong interest in educational policy matters, such that I was pursuing a doctorate in the subject until I found that I could have an impact writing online and lobbying without the magic three letters after my name. I have reviewed books and and served as a peer reviewer for journal articles for a number of years. I have to say I do not believe I have encountered a book on educational policy that provided so much useful material, and in a non-polemic fashion. Welner discusses so much, including thing like how the issue is framed a la George Lakoff. He connect the use of neovouchers with the supply side approach of many of a conservative political persuasion. He provides copious documentation of the material he discusses, which enables the motivated reader to pursue any and all lines of inquiry further.

I intend to recommend this book to several Members of the House Committee on Education and Labor and their education staffers, because it covers the issues so thoroughly. I strongly encourage people wanting to be able to discuss important issues of educational policy to read this book at their earliest convenience.

Monday, March 02, 2009

‘Tidal wave’ of homeless students hits schools

In Vista, Calif., about 35 miles north of San Diego, the population of homeless kids in the local school district reached 2,542 this year — about 9 percent of the student body and nearly 10 times the number just two years ago. . . .

In a voluntary survey late last year by the association and another nonprofit, First Focus, 330 school districts reported that the number of homeless students appears to be . . . now close to 1 million — exceeding numbers in the period right after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita . . . .

Fearing the loss of their kids, she said, "parents call in and say their kid won't be in school because they are going to Disneyland for a week, when the fact is that (they) don’t have a way to get them to school. Or parents will tell kids to lie about where they live."

Interestingly, one of the ways I help my students understand the difference between the way poor parents and middle-class parents relate to schools is to ask my students how many of them would be worried that a teacher might report them to social services and take their kids away. Lareau's study showed this was a common fear of working-class parents. Almost none of my students ever raise their hands.