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Counter-stories of my social science academic and career development form a critical "praxticioner" and "conscious-preneur"

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Counter-stories of my social science academic and career development form a critical "praxticioner" and "conscious-preneur"
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Through the lens of critical race theory and the "sociological imagination"
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Mackey, Janiece Z. ( author )
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English
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Social sciences ( lcsh )
Social sciences and state -- United States ( lcsh )
Social sciences ( fast )
Social sciences and state ( fast )
United States ( fast )
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bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
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Thesis:
Thesis (M.H.S.S) University of Colorado Denver
Bibliography:
Includes bibliographic references,
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System requirements: Adobe Reader.
General Note:
Department of Humanities and Social Sciences
Statement of Responsibility:
by Janiece Z. Mackey.

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|University of Colorado Denver
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Auraria Library
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ocn925376251
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Full Text
COUNTER-STORIES OF MY SOCIAL SCIENCE ACADEMIC AND CAREER
DEVELOPMENT FROM A CRITICAL PRAXTICIONER AND CONSCIOUS-
PRENEUR: THROUGH THE LENS OF CRITICAL RACE THEORY
AND THE SOCIOLOGICAL IMAGINATION
by
JANTECE Z. MACKEY
B.A., University of Denver, 2006
A thesis submitted to the
Faculty of the Graduate School of the
University of Colorado in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of
Master of Humanities and Social Sciences
2015


2015
JANIECE Z. MACKEY
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
11


This thesis for the Master of Social Science degree by
Janiece Z. Mackey
has been approved for the
Humanities and Social Science program
by
Omar Swartz, Co-Chair
Cheryl Matias, Co-Chair
Shelley Zion
m
Date: July 23. 2015


Mackey, Janiece Z. (M.S.S., Humanities and Social Science)
Counter-stories of my Social Science Academic and Career Development from a Critical
Praxticioner and Conscious-preneur: Through the Lens of Critical Race Theory and
the Sociological Imagination
Thesis directed by Associate Professor Omar Swartz and Assistant Professor Cheryl
Matias.
ABSTRACT
As an African American, female critical praxticioner and conscious-preneur, I
have experienced racial micro-aggressions and racial battle fatigue while navigating my
social science P-20 schooling experiences and professional experiences. Sharing my
counter-stories illuminates the sociopolitical issues that youth may face as they navigate
their social science academic and career development. My experiences are particularly
relevant within Colorados sociopolitical environment as I am a native of Colorado.
Within Colorado, one of the challenges is the neoliberal policies and environment that is
cultivated within the Colorado Paradox environment. The Colorado Paradox speaks to the
fact that though it is known as a state with highly educated citizens, Colorado students in
our K-12 systems are not on track to earn college degrees. Only 1 in 5 9th graders will
earn a post-secondary degree and many students will require remediation upon their
arrival to college. The Colorado Paradox reflects the long history of Colorado importing
people who already have college degrees because of their interest in low taxes and
starting a career in the state. Many of the people coming to the state are young
professionals who may not have children and are not inclined to pay taxes to educate our
young citizenry. This is the type of neoliberal thinking that is perpetuated within our
academic and career development efforts in the state. Given the fact that career pathways
have been driven by a policy and job market trends, career pathways in Manufacturing,
IV


Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), Health Sciences and
Business have been created. In order to enhance post-secondary achievement and
opportunities of high school students interested in pursuing degrees and careers in the
social sciences, a social sciences educational pathway needs to be implemented within
schools and school districts. The creation of a social sciences educational pathway could
potentially: shift private troubles into public issues, deepen students knowledge of the
intersectionality within our identities, cultivate self-efficacy, and lead to educative
experiences to create conscientization among youth.
The form and content of this abstract are approved. I recommend its publication.
Approved: Omar Swartz and Cheryl Marias
v


DEDICATION
This research is dedicated to my husband, children, and family who have been
extremely supportive of me in this research process. If it were not for them I would not be
the wife, mother, family member, and community leader I am today. They keep me
humble, grounded, and focused on why I strive for excellence as a critical conscious-
preneur and praxticioner.
This thesis is also dedicated to the future critical conscious-preneurs and
praxticioners of Colorado that will mitigate the Colorado Paradox and neoliberal
policy.
vi


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
I would also like to acknowledge the faculty that sat on my thesis committee: Drs.
Cheryl Matias, Omar Swartz, and Shelley Zion. If it were not for these faculty members
at the University of Colorado Denver, I would not be the critical praxticioner and
conscious-preneur I am today. These individuals saw intellectual wisdom that I did not
see in myself. The time and intellectual wisdom invested in me is a reflection of their
intellectual prowess and passion toward transformative education.
Vll


TABLE OF CONTENTS
CHAPTER
I. INTRODUCTION.......................................................1
My Story: The Purpose and Heart of the Study......................1
Defining Key Terms...............................................15
II. THEORY AM) TERMS..................................................23
Critical Social Science..........................................23
Toward Critical Race Theory (CRT)................................29
Critical Pedagogy................................................33
Hidden Curriculum..........................................38
Radical View of the Hidden Curriculum............................43
Pedagogy of Empowerment..........................................44
Conclusion.......................................................46
III. METHODOLOGY AND METHODS...........................................48
Introduction.....................................................48
Methodology......................................................48
Critical Race Methodology..................................49
Methods..........................................................51
C ounter- storytelling.....................................52
Sociological Imagination.........................................53
Limitations......................................................57
IV. FIRST SHIFT IN THE SOCIOLOGICAL IMAGINATION: BEHAVIOR OF
INSTITUTIONS TOWARD BEHAVIOR OF PEOPLE...........................60
viii


Introduction.........................................................60
Colorados Sociopolitical Environment and the Colorado Paradox....61
Political Theories Investigated......................................70
The New Face of Neoliberalism: The Creative Class....................75
V. SECOND SHIFT IN THE SOCIOLOGICAL IMAGINATION: THE HUMAN
AFFAIR OF STUDENTS NAVIGATING SOCIAL SCIENCE DEGREES AND
CAREERS IN COLORADOS P-20 SCHOOLING ENVIRONMENTS....................80
Introduction.........................................................80
How Can You Commit to What You Cannot See?...........................80
Career Cultivation and Political Post-secondary Achievement Efforts..83
Secondary Career Pathways within the Denver Metro Region in Colorado.87
Career Pathways in Aurora, Cherry Creek and Denver Public Schools Districts.88
VI. THIRD SHIFT IN THE SOCIOLOGICAL IMAGINATION: THE SELF-
EFFICACY OF STUDENTS REFLECTED THROUGH ETHNIC IDENTITY
DEVELOPMENT AND EDUCATIVE EXPERIENCES................................93
Introduction.........................................................93
How Can I Have Confidence Without Social Capital?..................93
Background of Social Cognitive Career Theory (SCCT)..................98
Self-efficacy and the Educative Experience..........................100
Self-efficacy and Identity Development..............................103
Conclusion..........................................................107
VII. FOURTH SHIFT IN THE SOCIOLOGICAL IMAGINATION: ANALYSIS OF
A CONTEMPORARY EVENT ENTITLED THE SOCIAL SCIENCES
INSTITUTE...........................................................110
Introduction........................................................110
How Can I Create a Contemporary Event to Cultivate Future Social
Scientists?.........................................................Ill
IX


Social Sciences Institute Student Reflections
115
Conclusion........................................................119
VIII. IMPLICATIONS FOR CRITICAL PRAXTICIONERS.............................121
The Either Or: Intermingling of Colorado Assets and Liabilities.121
Exposure of National Labor Market and Degrees Conferred...........123
Colorado Labor Market Context.....................................128
Theory in Practice: Reflection for Praxticioners................130
Conclusion........................................................132
REFERENCES................................................................135
APPENDIX..................................................................140
A. Social Sciences Institute Application.........................140-142
B. Social Sciences Institute Flyer...............................143-144
C. Chart of Workshop Presenter Biographies.......................145-148
D. Social Sciences Institute Workshop Evaluation Form............149-150
E. Civic Engagement in Community and Career Course Themes........151-152
x


LIST OF TABLES
TABLE
1. Mills (1959) Four Shifts in the Sociological Imagination Applied to the
Sociopolitical Analysis of Navigating Social Sciences Degrees and
Careers............................................................56
2. Colorado Graduation Rates by Ethnicity/Race (by percentage).........62
3. Student Count from Concurrent Enrollment Data from 2010 through
2012...............................................................85
4. CU Succeeds Fall 2014 Course Offerings..................................86
5. Social Sciences Institute Student Reflections......................117-118
6. Projected Job Growth in Social Sciences from 2012 to 2022...........124
7. National Center for Education Statistics Fields of Study and Degrees
Conferred.............................................................127
xi


CHAPTERI
INTRODUCTION
My Story: The Purpose and Heart of the Study
As a native of Colorado, I am personally invested in an issue that has been a part
of my and Colorados identity: the Colorado Paradox. The Colorado Paradox is the
phenomena that reflects the notion that Colorado is viewed as an educated state, yet only
1 in 5 high school freshman are likely to earn a college degree (Cronin & Loevy, 2012).
This is an issue of particular importance to me because the students who have been noted
as unlikely to earn a college degree are students of lower socio-economic status and of
color. Thus, many social science students and professionals within Colorado are white. I
am an African American woman who was raised in a two parent household and escaped
being a Colorado Paradox statistic. I have also advocated and worked with students to
support their escape from the Colorado Paradox as well. I am married to an African
American man and we plan to raise our African American children in Colorado as well. I
am keenly aware of the intersectionality and privilege embedded in our identities. That is
to say though my race does not provide me with privilege, my education, middle class
status, and marital status gives me advantages. Due to this privilege, we are able to
provide our children opportunities and resources to diminish their chances of dropping
out of high school and increase their chances of earning college degrees. However, this
privilege will not allow them to escape stories like these; stories like mine and other
people of lower socioeconomic status and/or of color:
For many of my elementary school years, I attended private schools. I was either
the only African American student or one of two African Americans in my classrooms.
My parents worked extremely hard to cocoon me with this private education in hopes that
1


I would be able to escape the many stereotypes and prescribed identities imposed upon
my people. Surely with this private education, I would escape the future of being a
ghetto, welfare mom and/or dropout. In my elementary years, I did not know what I was
escaping from. But, what I did know was that I was a smart, hard worker, with an
ability to answer my teachers questions before she couldfinish her sentences. So there I
was in the beginning of 2nd grade; the only African American in the classroom among my
white peers. The teacher asked us to solve a math equation on the board. I had my hand
up before she finished the question knowing I would know how to solve the equation. She
allowed me to solve the equation in front of my peers. As I walked to the board, I sassily
stated, I can 7 believe you guys don 7 know how to do this already. I worked on this stuff
all summer. My teacher applauded me as my peers watched in awe and disbelief. They
were surprised at how fast I solved the equation and later asked how I knew these
equations. My answer to them was simply, I work hard and I like to learn a lot. I went
on to skip the 2nd grade before the end of the first semester. Throughout my elementary
education, I earned certificates and report cards that supported my growing neoliberal
mindset. Certificates and report cards that stated:
Janiece has made a very nice transition into Third grade. Her motivation and
desire to excel are excellent traits for a fine student-Miss M.
Personal Success Award: To succeed requires setting goals, hard work, and
determination. We are proud to recognize and congratulate: Janiece Grant [for]
being responsible towards her school work-Miss H.
Certificate of Merit: This certifies Janiece Grant has been awarded this
certificate for Obedience-Miss W.
Principals Awardfor Excellence to Janiece Grant for participating in the Cherry
Creek District Spelling Bee representing the Highline Community School.
Because of you, our school is a better place to learn. You have proven to me by
your actions that one person can make a difference. I applaud you for what you
2


have accomplished and look forward to hearing even more great things about you
in the future-Principal S.
Presidential Academic Fitness Awards Program presented to Janiece Grant in
recognition of academic effort to learn, to improve, and to overcome challenging
obstacles-Richard Riley United States Secretary of Education and Bill Clinton
President of the United States.
I carried these accomplishments and ego stroking statements with me to public schools
starting in Fifth grade. I noticed that my fellow African American peers were not
overcoming obstacles in the classroom nor were they recognizedfor their efforts to
learn. At my young age, I thought, why didn 7 my peers want to learn like me? Why
didn 7 they make our school and class a better place to learn? Despite these questions
I had, I was proud of my accomplishments and thought my intellectual capacity would
distinguish me from my racializedpeers. I would soon learn my emotions and
internalized questions about my racialized peers were not about them; the questions were
about the larger systemic processes that racialize both whites and people of color. As I
progressed in my education, until I was confronted with this same Horatio Alger,
neoliberal, work hard1 rhetoric by my white peers at a private university.
Like my private elementary education, here I was again, the only African
American in my college classes. But, this time rather than being asked to solve an
equation that has one Truth, and one answer, the class was asked to discuss complex
issues of race, crime, politics, and education with multiple Truths. Though I was eager to
answer the questions being posed by my white professors about issues like urban
violence, voting behavior, and education attainment, I was in fear this time. This time
1 This work hard rhetoric refers to the bootstraps mentality I often encountered in my schooling and
career processes. This mentality refers to the Horatio Alger notion that economic success will come if one
works hard. But, also if one does not work hard, one will not earn economic success.
3


some of my white peers were stating THEY worked hard and thus did not succumb to
the ills and behaviors of BLACK people. There was an assumption of ignorance,
criminality, apathy, and lack of ability imposed upon not just my African American
community members, butme-the intelligent black per son who worked hard to get
into this private institution as well. Sometimes my white peers would come to me after
class stating, I hope I didn 7 offend you by talking about Black people. I know you are
nice and you aren 7 like those type of Black people. Others wouldjust try to escape
making eye contact with me after class as if they were trying to forget that an African
American was in the room. Sometimes my professors would support me in the classroom
by validating my statements that not all African Americans are criminals, in jail or
dropouts. But, sometimes professors would not validate my statements. They would allow
my white peers to continue to share their one dimensional perspectives or often time
limited to no encounters with my people and images they viewed in the media. Other
times, professors would call upon me to speak on behalf ofpeople of color intelligibly
because they were so impressed with how articulate I was in class. In fact, they often
commented on the passion and vibrant dialogue that I brought to my analyses in the
classroom. Regardless of my internalized racial battle fatigue, a process that leads one to
internalize the pain of racist ideology, I could never slip into the shadows of the
classroom and simply absorb the dialogue. Instead, I was constantly confronted with
leading and navigating the conversation through my (Du Bois, 1903) dual
consciousness. 2 On the one hand, I knew my ideas were being attacked because of my
2 Dual consciousness is the notion that African Americans navigate life through two lenses. Du Bois (1903)
argues, It is a peculiar sensation, this double-consciousness, this sense of always looking at ones self
through the eyes of others, of measuring ones soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt
and pity (p.2).
4


skin color and because of the deficit toward my people. On the other, hand I knew I was
that same intelligent, African American girl that skipped the 2nd grade and had
confidence infused with knowledge. While some of my white peers cited information
without citations about their presumptions about my community, I brought paper
clippings of newspaper andjournal articles to refute their claims. I was told by some of
my white professors that I should go on to graduate school because they were impressed
with my abilities.
Though I appreciated this intellectual support from my professors, Ifelt isolated,
lonely, and alienated by many of my white peers. While I was receiving some support
from white professors and a few African American mentors on campus, I struggled to just
stay enrolled each trimester. I always registered late into the trimesters due to a lack of
financial aid. I juggled the harsh realities ofpotentially dropping out each trimester and
having to work harder than my white peers to prove and validate my Truths and
merit of staying at the university. I did not earn certificates of merit for the critical
consciousness I brought into the classroom while simultaneously knocking on the doors
of financial aid to convince them to invest in my academic abilities. My last year of
college, I became pregnant with my first child and had to again convince my peers and
the financial aid office that I was not going to be another African American statistic who
would drop out of college and become a single mom. Fueled with anger, resentment and
bitterness, I graduated early and came to realize the racism and stereotypes my parents
were trying to help me escape from. Though I graduated early, I did not find out I
would graduate until the day before graduation due to a lack of financial aid. So, I spent
the last trimester of the school year before graduation, begging the financial aid office
5


for scholarships, grants even loans. Daily, I was told I didn 7 have enough merit for
certain types of financial aid even though I earned no less than A s and B s in my
Criminology and Political Science majors, was consistently on the Whos Whos lists,
and Deans Lists. Though I was aware of these accolades, it was not enough to escape
from the reality of possibly being a Colorado Paradox statistic. It was not enough until I
decided to use my knowledge and merit to advocate and rally my peers to publicize the
inequity I was experiencing. I had my story published in one of the university
newspapers, persuaded my peers to write on my behalf to university leadership, and
constantly askedfor financial aidfrom the same people that told me no everyday. Finally,
my voice alongside my peers was acknowledged because I met someone who was
suddenly able to figure out a way around my lack offinancial aid the day before
graduation.
With the shattering of my neoliberal mindset, and a heightened awareness of the
intersectionality of race and class, I knew that my advocacy was not just about me and
my supposed will to learn and responsibility toward my education. My story was not
just my story. This was the story of my African American roommates who had to dropout
out of college, my husband who escaped the Colorado Paradox at the same university,
and of the young scholars of color who wouldfollow in our footsteps. So, again there I
was after college, one of the few African Americans in professional positions to advocate
on behalf of our youth through grassroots organizing, educational counseling and
education advocacy because of my story. Finally, I was in a position to travel and
present at conferences to share and write about my story; a position to start an
organization entitled Young Aspiring Americans for Social and Political Activism
6


(YAASPA) to help youth of color because of my story. In terms of the Colorado
Paradox, intersecting with race and class, I heard there were not enough qualified
professionals of color. So, I could not help but wonder, were my peers of color who
graduated from public institutions not qualified enough to earn the jobs I had? Were
my peers of color who dropped out due to a lack of financial aid and compounding
psycho-cultural assaults undeserving of the merits I attained throughout my career?
Stemming from the bigotry, racial battle fatigue I experienced, and not seeing
people of color in positions of intellectualism throughout my college and professional
career, left me feeling bitter, ill feelings towards whites, and pain for those young
scholars of color who wouldfollow in my footsteps, especially my own children. It
pained me more to see people of color who will have their dual consciousness (Du
Bois, 1903) challenged through their educational and professional journeys in
predominantly white college campuses, and workplaces. Worse yet are these
predominantly white spaces that claim to believe in social justice and equity while
lacking critical consciousness and people of color themselves. Sadly this lack of critical
consciousness and people of color in their organizations are based upon presumptions
that African Americans lack responsibility toward work. The unveiling of this dual
consciousness, (Du Bois, 1903) fermented my desire to challenge the neoliberal,
bootstraps, rhetoric that I once embraced in my younger years. And, one that paralyzed
and injured me tirelessly in my older years. I knew that I needed to be innovative and
create educational opportunities that could be accessed easily by students just like me.
Hopefully by doing so, such a path would change the stories people of color experience
7


in their educational and/or professional careers. With respects to my story, I would
like to focus these educational opportunities within the field of social science.
After college, I planned to decrease the opportunity gap (Ladson-Billings,
2006) by practicing criminal law and/or by supporting foster youth by being a Guardian
ad Litum (GAL). GALs provide legal support to youth who are in the foster care system.
However, immediately upon leaving the university, I entered the education profession as
a bilingual counselor working with middle school youth who were primarily from West
Denver. I became enamored with the education profession and continued my career in
education. I have helped students who dropped out of high school return to school,
lobbied for more public education funding, started an organization to increase youths
civic engagement and have taught in the classroom as well. As I continued to progress in
my career, I became aware that these professions were predominantly white.
In this white space, the integrity, intellect and abilities of professionals of color
continued to be questioned in my midst. I was continuously questioned about my ability
as an African American professional. For example, in order to increase diversity, I
proposed and organized processes that brought more African American professionals to
my work. Instead of embracing this institutional way to increase diversity, many of my
white colleagues found ways to place additional barriers for these professionals of color.
One tried to implement a stricter screening process based upon the racist stereotype that
African Americans are not articulate. I soon realized it was not white people I was up
against, it was whiteness and racist ideologies so deeply embedded in my white
colleagues. In reflecting upon all of these experiences, two aspects of my P-20 schooling
and beyond stood out to me. One, I realized that the students I have worked with and the
8


students who aspire to dismantle educational inequity, like me, do not have academic and
career development to take on such a task. In fact, I believe because there were no social
science classes to develop a critical consciousness to show how race, class, and education
intersect. There is not a foundational understanding of how to enact justice. Two, I
realized that I was always the African American expert in my professional circles. I
was the intelligent, politically savvy representative for African American youth,
community and beyond. With this in mind, I decided to pursue my Master of Social
Science degree to explore the idea of creating a social sciences educational pathway for
high school students. Such a pathway would provide them with the conscientization
(Freire, 1970, 1973) necessary to mitigate issues such as the Colorado Paradox. And in
doing so increase representation of scholars and professionals of color within social
sciences degrees and careers.
Thus, the purpose of this study is to explore the complexities of navigating social
science degrees and careers for high school aged youth within Colorados sociopolitical
climate. Analyses of the sociopolitical environment of Colorado will be provided. This
will unveil the neoliberal policies that dictate social science academic and career
development. In fact, I will argue that these neoliberal policies indeed perpetuates the
Colorado Paradox rather than alleviating the Paradox by developing our students of lower
income and of color. From within Colorado, though labor market data should not be the
driving force of academic and career development, it should be acknowledged as part of
the analysis for a potential social sciences educational pathway for high school students.
Rather than focus my research from an either or disposition, my research tries to
effectively demonstrate the need for intersectionality in discussions of academic and
9


career development for our youth, particularly for our students of lower socioeconomic
status and of color.
Because of the multifaceted complexities within my research, I am going to take a
critical theoretical approach for the analyses of this thesis. To diminish the gap between
theory and practice (hooks, 1994), and cultivate my abilities of being an effective critical
praxticioner, a term I coined in conducting this research, I must heal from my story.
Thus, this thesis serves as not only future implications for students and praxis, but as a
source of healing. I coalesce my voice alongside hooks (1994) who states,
I found a place where I could imagine a place where I could imagine possible
futures, a place where life could be lived differently. This lived experience of
critical thinking, of reflection and analysis.. .worked at explaining the hurt and
making it go away... .1 learned from this experience that theory could be a healing
place, (p. 61)
Because this research is an illustration of my story and the many stories that remain
unheard, I must learn how to continuously heal from racial battle fatigue in order to
cultivate this ability within students and provide access to the social sciences. And in
providing social science development, we generate a diverse and critically conscious
labor force of Coloradoans that challenges the Colorado Paradox. Thus, we would not be
so dependent upon taking social science professionals from out of state. In order to
effectively exude my healing praxis (hooks, 1994), I will be utilizing a pragmatic
approach alongside critical theory as a foundation for my analyses. Specifically speaking,
I will utilize Yosso and Solorzanos (2002) counter-storytelling and Mills (1959)
sociological imagination as methodologies to explore the following: critical pedagogy
and critical race theory. First, critical pedagogy conceptualizes conscientization. Freire
(1970, 1973) argues:
10


Conscientization.. .is the process of learning to perceive social, political, and
economic oppressions in society and to take actions against them. To put it
differently, conscientization is the process of developing a critical
consciousness... .the individual can develop a critical consciousness through
dialogue and communication, change in the program content of education, and
use of specific pedagogical techniques.. .to engage critical consciousness, I invite
students to engage in self-discovery through mindfulness and self-awareness, (p.
161)
By inhabiting conscientization, a person can better process their educational and
professional experiences. Conscientization (Freire, 1970, 1973) can help people process
what Dewey (1938/2007) calls educative or mis-educative experiences. Dewey
(1938/2007) claims, As an individual passes from one situation to another, his world, his
environment, expands or contracts (p. 44). Thus, it is critical to provide educative
experiences that expand the knowledge concerning the intersections of race, class, and
education to support ones journey in navigating social sciences degrees and careers in
Colorado. Therefore, by coupling Freires (1970, 1973) conscientization and Deweys
(1938/2007) educative experiences, one can better understand the sociopolitical
complexities of navigating P-20 schooling. Specifically, this research will discuss how
does including social science curriculum impact the conscientization of ones educative
experiences, access and beyond within the social sciences arena.
Second, critical race theory, ...offers insights, perspectives, methods, and
pedagogies that guide our efforts to identify, analyze, and transform the structural and
cultural aspects of education that maintain subordinate and dominant racial positions in
and out of the classroom (Solorzano, Ceja & Yosso, 2001, p. 63). This provides the
foundational understanding necessary for me to advocate for educational justice with
respects to race. It allows me to be explicit about the intersectionality of race and class
associated with the realities of navigating degrees and careers within the social sciences.
11


Particularly, it allows me to explore whiteness and how white supremacy impacts the
intersections of race and class.
In order to discuss these theories in depth, I will utilize Yosso and Solorzanos
(2002) counter-storytelling and Mills (1959) sociological imagination (Mills, 1959) to
unveil the sociopolitical complexities of P-20 schooling and beyond within the social
sciences. First, Yosso and Solorzano (2002) suggest counter-storytelling:
.. .is also a tool for exposing, analyzing, and challenging the majoritarian stories
of racial privilege. Counter-stories can shatter complacency, challenge the
dominant discourse on race, and further the struggle for racial reform.. .these
experiences can help strengthen traditions of social, political, and cultural survival
and resistance. (p. 32)
Counter-storytelling as an African American social scientist not only provokes healing
praxis (hooks, 1994), but also places my racialized story at the forefront of this research.
Counter-storytelling allows me to translate my racial battle fatigue into transformational
praxis. Matias (2013) speaks about this process by sharing her counter-narrative when
she states, Rather, I locate my suffering to demonstrate how I transformationally resist
by engaging with my pain to carry out the socially just ideals of racial equity (p. 3).
Therefore, counter-storytelling allows me to process my stories and reveal how they
relate to a larger sociopolitical context. Second, the sociological imagination will take us
through reflective turns that social scientists take in order to reflect upon our praxis. Mills
(1959) proposes:
There is first the shift of emphasis from the history of institutions and ideas to the
concrete behavior of peoples... There is secondly... a tendency not to study one
sector of human affairs alone but to relate it to other sectors.. .There is third a
preference for studying social situations and problems which repeat themselves
rather than those which only occur only once. And finally there is a greater
emphasis on contemporary rather than on historical social events, (pp. 61-62)
12


Mills (1959) suggest the first shift is emphasizing the history of institutions and behavior.
Thus, first, my research will look at the history and ideas of the existing career
pathways for students P-20 access within the social sciences. Second, Mills (1959)
suggests the importance of looking at the intersectionality of sectors and human affairs.
Thus, in order to effectively discuss the complexities for youth interested in the social
sciences in Colorados sociopolitical environment, Colorado liabilities and assets
will be discussed alongside suggestions of what may work to increase scholars who
embody the critical conscious necessary to navigate this field. To acknowledge human
affairs as it relates to different sectors, political theory is discussed in parallel with social
cognitive career theorys notion of self-efficacy. Third, Mills (1959) focuses on social
issues that repeat themselves. Thus, the issue I have chosen that continues to persist
within our state is the Colorado Paradox. In order to effectively discuss the persistence of
the Colorado Paradox, analyses will be provided to examine various reasons as to why
this liability continues to persist. To make the research culturally relevant to Colorado,
the vulnerable students who have been debated over in lieu of the Colorado Paradox are
at the forefront of the approach to this research; primarily students of lower
socioeconomic status and of color. Lastly, Mills (1959) suggest social scientist highlight
contemporary issues. In order to make the research contemporary rather than historical, I
will share some reflections from students from the Social Sciences Institute I created as a
starting point toward cultivating critical consciousness and access within the social
sciences. The Social Sciences Institute reflections are not data that will be shared to
generalize about any student population. Instead, it will be shared as a suggested step
forward toward critical praxis for P-20 access for youth interested in social sciences
13


degrees and careers. Theory in practice is truly the core of what is known to be praxis.
Within this research, critical theory will be utilized in order to expose, propose, and
politicize (Marcuse, 2010) about the P-20 schooling our students navigate daily amidst
neoliberal policies. In order to effectively move forward in creating P-20 access and
beyond in the social sciences we as Colorado citizens and community leaders must not
approach students as cogs to fit within career fields that Colorado has deemed relevant
for them. We must not discuss P-20 access within the social sciences from an either or
disposition. The either or disposition would likely state that P-20 access ought to be
cultivated by a positivist approach or a theoretical approach. To simply look at the labor
market as a starting point for discussing P-20 access within the social sciences would be a
positivist approachwhat you see is what you get. To simply take a critical theoretical
approach without acknowledging the labor market would be a stretch toward ineffective
praxis. Doing this would also be out of order from the framework of the sociological
imagination. I am an advocate for an approach in between the lines of the either or in
order to validate the existing labor market, but to also acknowledge and validate the need
for a critical theoretical approach toward P-20 access and beyond for our future social
scientists. Given my story and the many stories that are unheard within Colorados
sociopolitical environment, I was led to approach my research with the following
question and claim:
Question: Given the sociopolitical context of Colorado, what are some of the
complexities surrounding P-20 schooling within the social sciences?
Claim: There is a gap in critical praxis for students, primarily students of color,
who aspire to pursue degrees and careers in the social sciences within Colorados
sociopolitical climate.
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Defining Key Terms
The following definitions are listed in alphabetical order and stem from my
theoretical framing based in critical race theory and critical pedagogy:
Career Self-efficacy. Lent, Brown, and Hackett (2000) suggest that self-efficacy
is influenced by factors such as race, gender, class, family background, and learning
experiences. A students environment also has an impact on career self-efficacy as well.
Lent et al (1994) argues, The aspect of social cognitive theory that has received the most
attention in the career literature involves self-efficacy appraisals. Self-efficacy refers to
peoples judgments of their capabilities to organize and execute courses of action
required to attain designated types of performances (p. 83). Career self-efficacy plays a
significant role in career choice development under the social cognitive career theory
model. Lastly, Fouad and Arbona (1994, 1995, 1996) have found that ethnic identity
development forms the basis of stable career choices. This emphasizes the need to
address race, class, and gender within the framework of cultivating a social sciences
educational pathway as students from marginalized identities experience educational and
sociopolitical systems differently than their more privileged counterparts. This literature
supports my analyses of the complexities of academic and career development for
students interested in the social sciences within the confines of what is offered in the
Denver Metro area in the state of Colorado.
Colorado Paradox. One of the liabilities is the Colorado Paradox which indicates
Colorado imports people who already have earned their college degrees. This is why
Colorado ranks as the second most highly educated state... (Cronin & Loevy, 2012, p.
321). However, Colorado high school students are not earning Colorado degrees at a high
15


rate and they are in need of remediation when they enter post-secondary institutions.
Cronin and Loevy (2012) explain this paradox by stating, More than 25 percent of
Colorado teenagers entering ninth grade will drop out of high school.. .Of those who
complete high school and go on to college, nearly 30 percent will need to take remedial
classes at the beginning of their college career (p. 325). This is a sociopolitical issue
students are confronted with when navigating social sciences degrees and careers.
Critical conscious-preneurship. This is a term I developed during my
academic and career development in Colorados sociopolitical climate. The beginning of
the term critical stems from critical theory. The conscious portion of the word is
grounded in the sociological imagination Mills (1959) speaks of and the conscientization
that Freire (1970, 1973) discusses in his writing. The preneurship portion of the word
acknowledges creation of knowledge toward the end of mitigating sociopolitical
phenomena for purpose of racial equity and social justice. Given that Colorado is known
for its entrepreneurial spirit, we as critical praxticioners must cultivate critical
conscious-preneurship within our youth. This will help youth and communities that
have been marginalized attain representation that reflects their desires for social justice
and racial equity.
Critical Praxticioner. This is another term that I developed during the
cultivation of my academic and professional career. This term stems from the academic
term praxis. Theory in action is the basis of praxis. I concur with Swartz (2006) who
states:
Scholars, as individuals, citizens, socialists, feminists, humanists, or whatever
progressive labels people attach to their identities, provide the moral imperative
and ethical sensitivity to take the resources available to them and apply them. This
is the essence of praxis.. .This praxis approach to scholarship has the potential to
16


transform academic professionalization from a repressive to a productive
power, (p. 14)
As critical praxticioners we purpose our scholarship and endeavors for social justice
rather than simply professionalization or acts of credentialism. Theoretical framing
and scholarship for the sake of the political labor and credentials Collins (1979)
speaks of is not what is going to mitigate the Colorado Paradox nor provide our future
social scientists the academic and career development they need to build their self-
efficacy. A critical praxticioner embodies the sociological imagination of Mills (1959)
and the conscientization of Freire (1970, 1973). A critical praxticioner is able to use
counter-narratives as transformational praxis. This is how critical praxticioners can
engage when they have experienced the consequences of racial micro-aggressions and
racial battle fatigue. Particularly in a Colorado sociopolitical climate, in which breeds
neoliberal thinking, critical praxticioners must embrace the following discussed by
Giroux (1988): a return of intellectuals from ivory-towered departments to the public
sphere; and a movement away from individualistic, esoteric research towards collective
inquiries into social ills (p. 145). As critical praxticioners we must utilize our
intellectualism for the purposes of racial equity and social justice.
Intersectionality. Intersectionality in identities will be discussed in this thesis
because no particular group of people are a monolith. I identify as a woman of color
because being African American is salient to my identity. However, I also identify as a
wife, mother, educator, critical conscious-preneur and praxticioner and would be
labeled economically a youth who grew up in a lower middle class, two parent
household. In order for me to be in the position I am today, I understand that there are
parts of my identity that allow me to experience privilege that others may not experience.
17


This is why addressing intersectionality is critical in discussing the academic and career
development of our youth. We as critical praxticioners must be keenly attentive to this
intersectionality because when we discuss youth who may identify with people of color
or lower socio-economic status, we cannot prescribe a one size fits all model of
academic and career development within the social sciences.
Neoliberalism. For the purposes of this thesis and a deeper understanding of the
Colorado Paradox, it is critical to understand neoliberalism and the manner in which
neoliberal policy making and academic and career development continues to cultivate
and perpetuate the Colorado Paradox. George (2007) discusses a definition of
neoliberalism that is extremely relevant to the Colorado sociopolitical landscape:
Neoliberalism endorses public policies that treat racial matters on the basis of
political symbolism and tokenism and not substantive reform.. .it focuses on
economic development strategies that broadly define social class issues instead of
issues associated with racial inequality... and it supports neighborhood schools,
charter schools and vouchers while dismissing racial desegregation as an
emphasis in public schools, (pp. 144 145)
Discussion of policy and the sociopolitical landscape will demonstrate the neoliberal
thinking that has been present while creating academic and career development
opportunities for students of Colorado.
Social Cognitive Career Theory. Social Cognitive Career Theory (SCCT) is
critical to this research because it discusses the development of career choices. More
importantly, it is derived from a constructivist approach. Lent, Brown and Hackett
indicate, Social cognitive theory also attempts to take a cognitive constructivist
approach to career development... such theories view people as proactive shapers of the
environment, not merely responders to external forces.. .(p. 87) It surmises that career
choices are developed from expected career outcomes, career interests, and career self-
18


efficacy. The literature in this area suggests that it is extremely vital that students be
given opportunities to build their career interests. Among the most reviewed and notable
aspects of this theory is career self-efficacy. I would suggest that students interested in
the social sciences for a degree and/or career are not being developed through the current
career pathways offered within the sociopolitical context of Colorado. This is a theory
that is used within the arenas of counseling psychology, academic, and workforce
development. This theory has been the foundation for analyses around what works to
engage students in particular academic and career sectors. This model also delves into
analysis of factors that contribute to a students confidence in achieving or acting upon
certain career tasks. This theory was developed by Lent, Hackett, and Brown (2000) who
suggest:
General social cognitive theory, SCCT focuses on several cognitive-person
variables (e.g. self-efficacy, outcome expectations, and goals), and on how these
variables interact with other aspects of the persona and his or her environment
(e.g., gender, ethnicity, social supports, and barriers) to help shape the course of
career development, (p. 36)
This theory has been effectively used for many case studies that focus on race, class and
gender. Tang, Pan, and Newmeyer (2008) argue, the SCCT model does appear to
explain the interrelationships among learning experiences, career self-efficacy, outcome
expectations, career interests, and career choice, and therefore is useful in understanding
high school students' career development processes (p. 291). For the purposes of my
research, this theory helps to explore the gaps missing for students interested in social
sciences degrees and careers. It also supports the analyses concerning the complexities of
navigating social science degrees and/or careers while enduring racial micro-aggressions
and racial battle fatigue.
19


Social Sciences. The social sciences contain a broad array of academic disciplines
from anthropology to political science. However, the cluster of academic disciplines are
not clearly defined. The National Bureau of Labor Statistics (NBLS) has some of the
social sciences academic disciplines listed with the life sciences such as political science.
I would concur with Mills (1959) who states that the isolated disciplines are not as
important as the collective body of work that can potentially cultivate Freires (1970,
1973) conscientization. Mills (1959) definition of social sciences will be used for the
development of this pathway. He discusses the sociological imagination, which he
argues is the major common denominator of our cultural life.. .It is a quality of mind
that seems most dramatically to promise an understanding of the intimate realities of
ourselves in connection with larger social realities (pp. 14-15). For him, the goal of the
social sciences is to help cultivate a critical world view for young citizens and produce
scholarship that helps translate their personal troubles into public issues, and those public
issues into a broader sociopolitical context.
Social Sciences educational pathway. The social sciences are foundational for
the studying of human behavior and social phenomena. The social sciences educational
pathway that I am advocating for would operate in parallel to other academic and career
pathways that exist like in the areas of: Business, Fine Arts, Health Sciences, and
Science, Technology, and Engineering (STEM). The aforementioned academic and
career pathways allow students to earn college credit for taking courses relevant to these
areas to provide them with a head start in their careers. Students who enroll in these
academic and career pathways are able to potentially earn an associates degree when
they graduate from high school. Though this is not always the case, students are able to at
20


minimum graduate with some college credit with a focus in a degree and/or career area of
interest. Given the conferring degrees that are discussed in Chapter Four, the data reflects
students interest in academic and career development within the social sciences. I was
one of those students who earned a double major in Criminology and Political Science. I
was interested in the relationship between policy and the justice system. A social sciences
educational pathway would have allowed me to explore this intersectionality early in my
high school career. However, the social sciences educational pathway that I am
advocating for would not simply offer courses within the social sciences like
criminology, political science, psychology, womens studies etc. The social sciences
educational pathway would offer academic and career development that cultivates
Freires (1970, 1973) conscientization.
Social Justice. For the purposes of this thesis, social justice will be defined
through the lens of what Giroux (1988) calls a transformational intellectual and what
Swartz (2006) calls an engaged scholar. For Giroux (1988), critical reflection and action
become part of a fundamental social project to help students develop a deep abiding faith
in the struggle to overcome economic, political and social injustices and to further
humanize themselves as part of this struggle (p. 127). To support youth in critical
reflection is an intricate part of our duty as critical praxticioners and conscious-
preneurs. Students should leave a social sciences educational pathway with a sensibility
to achieve this transformational intellectualism. For Swartz (2006), our goal as engaged
scholars is not only to generate knowledge but also to have an impact on the democratic
society in which we live in and to redress the injustices that hurt many of its members
(p. 1). As transformational and engaged scholars, we must play a role in the fight for
21


social justice and racial equity. This is what I would seek as a foundational part of a
social sciences educational pathway.
22


CHAPTER TWO
THEORY AND TERMS
Critical Social Science
Before I even had the vocabulary and understanding of epistemology and theory, I
knew that I was always interested in inquiry that unveiled the why and how of social
phenomena. Simply digesting facts and data without the why and how they came to be
did not feed my social justice appetite for transformational change. As I began to read
about the various conceptualizations of theory, I immediately knew that I would position
myself as a critical theorist. Neuman (2011) speaks to how critical social science (CSS)
explores the why and how of social phenomena. He explains how CSS, goes beyond
the surface illusions to uncover the real structures in the material world in order to help
people change conditions and build a better world for themselves (p. 108). This
knowledge of critical theory spoke to the empowerment I needed to approach social
phenomena with solutions that penetrate the roots of issues rather than simply the surface
illusions. The questioning of what is happening within structures and systems allows for
the cultivation and refining of my abilities to be an effective critical praxticioner. For
me, critical praxticioners embody the conscientization of Freire (1970, 1973) and
sociological imagination of Mills (1959) necessary to work towards transformational
praxis as critical praxticioners. This appetite to create change was particularly of
interest to me concerning issues such as the Colorado Paradox and other racialized social
phenomena discussed in my social science classes and professional experiences. Though
I have often been one of few African Americans in my social science pursuits
academically and professionally, I was never content with the isolation that comes along
23


with pursuing social science degrees and careers in Colorado. I wanted to better
understand what is necessary to bring other students and professionals of color along with
me in my social science pursuits. In studying Criminology and Political Science in my
undergraduate career, I hoped to better understand structures and systems in place that
correlate with the racialized consequences of social phenomena like voting behavior,
mass incarceration, P-20 access etc. To simply acknowledge what is from a positivist
stance is not sufficient to engage in the necessary struggle for racial equity within the
social sciences. Though it is necessary to acknowledge what exist, it is also imperative to
take my research and all pursuits for racial equity within the social sciences to inquiry
that lies within the critical theoretical realm.
The critical theoretical approach allows for an unveiling of the why and how
that needs to happen within a social sciences educational pathway. Simply having this
pathway offered due to my research is not enough if the courses are taught from a
positivist realist approach. As social scientists striving for racial equity, we must look at
the educational and political systems and structures critically to discuss how they
maintain and support invisible hierarchies as students and young professionals of color
pursue social science degrees and careers. If the social sciences are taught from a
positivist approach, dehumanization and further marginalization may occur within this
pathway. Neuman (2011) speaks of this positivist view by stating, It is a what-you-see-
is-what-you-get or show-me type of stance. Things are as they appear, created out of a
natural order of the world. Thus race [and] gender just are (p. 96). In reflecting upon the
positivist epistemology lens, it led me to consider some potential consequences this lens
24


may have on ones P-20 schooling experiences. Possible complications of a positivistic
approach to education are as follows:
1. The educator could simply state what is visible to the eye in data rather than delve
into the why and how the sociopolitical phenomena has been socially
constructed;
2. Students may not be taught to think critically as to how social phenomena came to
be;
3. Students may leave the classroom with increased feelings of marginalization
because of the view that there is something essential or natural about their
community that led to the sociopolitical phenomena; and
4. Students may not be cultivated to engage in critical dialogue as to what can be
done to mitigate or change social phenomena.
As an African American social scientist, I am reminded of my experiences and feelings
of marginalization within my P-20 experiences. Learning about slavery and simply a few
African American leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, and Harriet
Tubman did not allow me the freedom and healing I needed from my marginalized
experiences. Throughout my academic and professional career, I have been exposed to
countless racial micro-aggressions, unconscious and subtle forms of racism (Solorzano,
Ceja & Yosso, 2001, p. 60). Particularly, in my Political Science and Criminology
classrooms in my undergraduate career, at the University of Denver, a predominantly
white institution, these racial micro-aggressions intensified because of the social
phenomena being discussed within these social science majors. It was not until my
undergraduate career that I experienced the consequences of positivist what you see is
what you get rhetoric. In high school, I had friends from all walks of life and of all races
who treated me with respect and did not treat me nor my African Americans peers as
stereotypes. It was not until I was in my college classrooms that I was exposed to many
white students who did not come from diverse communities nor schools. Because of their
lack of exposure to diversity of people and experiences, they spoke from a positivist lens
25


(meaning they thought whatever they saw was simply the truth). They were not as
interested in the why and how of social phenomena as I was given my critical
theoretical lens. Thus, many conversations in my social science college classrooms led
me to the emotional stress of racial battle fatigue which is when one internalizes the
pain of subtle forms of racism. This stemmed from being one of the few African
American social scientists to expose students to critical theoretical truths that lead to
inquiries within the why and how of social phenomena. Even at my young age, as an
African American social scientist who has incurred the compounding lashings of racial
micro-aggressions and racial battle fatigue, I have asked myself repeatedly, .. .how do
we accept our responsibility in the face of betrayal and maintain the respect that was a
basis for our love and caring in the first place? (Bell, 1992, p. 77). This is a question that
I believe each critical conscious-preneur of color asks him/herself when they decide to
commit to transformational praxis. Particularly, when we undergo experiences such as
these:
I have been actively engaged in the political sphere since I was 17 years old. I
had my first canvassing job at the age of 18 to attempt to Get out the Vote (GOTV) for
Don Mares who was running for Mayor of Denver at the time against John
Hickenlooper. I then had the opportunity to provide political analysis of the 2004 election
with one of my former professors, Dr. Seth Masket, who is now the chair of Political
Science at the University of Denver. Thereafter, I went on to attain a political internship
for Ken Salazar who was running for United States Senate. Because of my commitment
and energy provided toward the grassroots campaign, when he was elected as United
States Senator for Colorado, I was offered a position in his state office. Throughout all of
26


these experiences, I noticed that I was either the only African American or one of few
present in these political spaces. This was also the case in my college classrooms as well.
The analyses and discussions concerning why I felt isolated as an African American in
political spaces was problematic in my classes. My isolation within these political spaces
was not just discussed concerning our political participation, but also sociopolitical
phenomena that many African Americans endure throughout our lives. In my college
classrooms, many of my white peers stated the plight of African Americans was due to
our lack ofpolitical participation. In fact, as students, we would discuss data that showed
African Americans were not voting as much and were also experiencing social
phenomena from high incarceration rates to dropping out of school. Many of my white
peers suggested we, as African Americans, would not experience certain social ills like
racial profiling, low quality schools, and even higher rates of incarceration if we would
simply participate in the political processes. They suggested that we are responsible for
our lack ofpolitical participation. Many also suggested that our lack ofpolitical
participation reflected a lack of care for our community and social status.
In reflecting back on these experiences, I always wondered why I had to be the
only African American so passionate about policy. But, more importantly, I wondered
about the why and how certain political outcomes came to be. Knowing I was the only
African American most of the time in these political spaces, I had to consider the rhetoric
of my white peers. I pondered, was there some intrinsic aspect of African Americans that
cultivated apathy within our communities? Are we so predictable in our voting behaviors
that we can be considered a monolithic group? Did my African American peers not care
about our communities or about engaging in the political process or did we just not have
27


conduits to engage us politically on our terms? Given my rejection of the positivist truths
that would suggest our lack ofpolitical participation reflects our apathy, I decided to
create an organization entitled Young Aspiring Americans for Social and Political
Activism (YAASPA) that would be a conduit for young African Americans and youth of
color to become engaged in politics. So, there I was with my students at YAASPAs
Education Forum about education funding excited, concerned and nervous about how my
brown high school students would be treatedfor their interest in our broken education
system. They practiced their presentations, researched and gleaned information from the
community to enhance their understanding of education funding. We invited legislators
that represented them in their respective districts and they presented survey data they
attained from interviews with their peers. After presenting the information to the
legislators, one of the white legislators thanked them yet decided to question them about
the voting behaviors of their parents. Rather than engage them and honor them for their
concern for our communities, she questioned their knowledge of laws pertaining to
education funding. She acted as though their efforts to civically engage were naive and
spoke down to them as if they should not have attempted to engage at all. When questions
were asked of her, she would repeatedly place the responsibility upon them as though she
were not elected by them and their families. She told them to talk to their parents and ask
them why more African Americans do not participate in policy. As their African
American leader and mentor who encouraged them to follow their desires regarding
political inquiry, I felt guilty and saddened about the callousness that may build within
their souls because of the manner in which their elected leader engaged them. I
28


wondered did I plant a seed of apathy within them or would this type of behavior ignite
them to follow our political leaders closely and hold them accountable?
Toward Critical Race Theory (CRT)
From teaching and mentoring within the work of my organization, I found that
many youth of color do care about social phenomena and they want to participate in
various political processes with support and guidance. What I have also learned from my
students and witnessed is that their intellect and care for our communities has been
questioned simply due to their lack of political rhetoric and systematic knowledge
incessantly. Thus, when many youth try to engage our political leaders, too often the
leaders demean the youths thought processes and questions because of technicalities
they do not understand within the system. Yet, as a former community organizer, and one
who has participated in lobbying activities, the leaders often do not understand the
political processes themselves. As a professional of color, I have experienced and
witnessed the questioning of the integrity and intellect of political advocates of color. I
have been in many political spaces in which people believe that simply espousing a host
of positivist political analyses entitles them to the merit of certain levels of political
participation. Many working within the intricate spaces of policy from organizing for
advocacy campaigns to increasing awareness about political candidates want to save
people of color from their demise rather than work alongside them. Given, what I call the
invisible hierarchy of meritocracy within the political realm, many people who are
capable of espousing positivist data devalue the lived experiences of people of color who
have encountered the consequences of positivist rhetoric and dispositions. Thus, we see
not only in the political realm, but across many social science sectors diversity initiatives
29


that are purposed to increase the diversity of not only the staff within the organization,
but the clientele of the organization. Unfortunately, the hierarchy of meritocracy is
unveiled when the people of color engaged within and outside of the organization begin
to experience the imposed ceiling of meritocracy. Often times people of color learn about
the limitations placed upon them when they attempt to escape the invisible hierarchy of
meritocracy when they are denied promotions, leadership opportunities, and flexibility to
elevate people of color within these political spaces due to the supposed lack of
education, political participation on their resumes, ability to articulate political rhetoric
that feeds privileged mindsets etc. Given the positivist data from the Colorado Paradox
that reflects many young professionals being brought from other states to Colorado
within the social science sectors, many young professionals of color undergo imposed
racial micro-aggressions and racial battle fatigue to prove their merit to engage in
political spaces and to climb the invisible hierarchy of meritocracy. As an African
American social scientist, I have experienced all of the aforementioned racial micro-
aggressions and was led back to grad school in hopes of being able to penetrate the
invisible ceiling of meritocracy. Given the compounding racial micro-aggressions and
racial battle fatigue we encounter within our P-20 experiences and beyond as students
and professionals of color, I began to understand why many youth and young
professionals of color opt out of careers in which directly engage social phenomena.
I understand that my story is the story of countless numbers of youth and
professionals of color who have tried to penetrate the why and how of social
phenomena, yet encounter the brigade of racial micro-aggressions and racial battle
fatigue. I am a committed African American social scientist who desires to cultivate the
30


next generation of critical praxticioners and conscious-preneurs of color. But, I
cannot continue to allow young professionals of color to encounter the racial micro-
aggressions and racial battle fatigue without any sort of educative experiences to support
their journey from callousness to healing praxis. Smith (2004) argues:
It is far more essential and therapeutic for Blacks to develop adaptive coping
strategies to resist or reduce the intensity of racial battle fatigue than it is for them
to swallow their anger or remain silent as they endure everyday racism.. .years of
research suggest that racial socialization represents a significant asset for
promoting healthy functioning for African Americans in a racist society, (p. 182)
Thus, it is imperative that a social sciences educational pathway be created as a part of
our P-20 experiences that engages race alongside a critical theoretical approach to
acknowledge the why and how of not only social phenomena, but of our P-20
experiences and beyond. Hence, the opportunity gap approach that critical race theorist
Ladson-Billings (2006) speaks of is most appropriate in addressing the Colorado Paradox
rather than the achievement gap approach. The achievement gap as it relates to the
Colorado Paradox would suggest that our most vulnerable students are not achieving
like other students rather than looking at the lack of academic and career development
opportunities they are provided that validate the intersectionality within their identities.
The achievement gap approach would also suggest that as young professionals of color
pursue social science degrees and careers, their intellect and achievement should be
questioned. Simply looking at the Colorado Paradox as it relates to the achievement gap
does not acknowledge how the opportunity gap is maintained by the imposed invisible
hierarchy of race. Without acknowledging the racialized experiences that occur within
our P-20 experiences from a critical theoretical perspective, students of color will
continue to be disengaged from the social sciences. Also, young professionals of color
31


will continue to burn out within social science professions from racial battle fatigue and
racial micro-aggressions if they are not allowed to access the healing praxis (hooks,
1994) that stems from a critical theoretical perspective.
This is why my research will utilize critical race theory which is derived from
critical legal studies. As suggested by Solorzano, Ceja and Yosso (2001), the systems and
structures in place that maintain and create the invisible hierarchy of meritocracy and
racialized consequences must be acknowledged and questioned in order to cultivate
solutions and healing from these experiences. Given the interdisciplinary nature of my
research question and claim, critical race theory allows me to explore in a manner that
acknowledges the racialized inequities that exist as it relates to P-20 access and beyond
with the social science sector. Solorzano, Ceja and Yosso (2001) argue there are five
components of critical race theory which are as follows:
The basic CRT model consists of five elements focusing on: (a) the centrality of
race and racism and their intersectionality with other forms of subordination, (b)
the challenge
to dominant ideology, (c) the commitment to social justice, (d) the centrality of
experiential knowledge, and (e) the transdisciplinary perspective .3 The critical
race theory framework for education is different from other CRT frameworks
because it simultaneously attempts to foreground race and racism in the research
as well as challenge the traditional paradigms, methods, texts, and separate
discourse on race, gender, and class by showing how these social constructs
intersect to impact on communities of color. Further, it focuses on the racialized,
gendered, and classed experiences of communities of color and offers a liberatory
and transformative method for examining racial/ethnic, gender, and class
discrimination, (p. 63)
Given the elements within the CRT model, I am able to acknowledge dominant ideology
at play within the political realm that leads to racialized and classed experiences
concerning access to social science degrees and careers. The elements within the CRT
model also allows me to be transparent about the intersectionality of race and class.
32


Simply stated, rather that providing analysis that places one over the other, I am able to
provide analysis that speaks to the why and how concerning the interplay of race and
class. Also, as an African American social scientist committed to transformational praxis,
I am able to pull in my counter-narrative and experiential knowledge as a basis for my
research and analyses. Alongside my analyses, I am also able to demonstrate my
commitment to social justice and racial equity for students navigating their social science
academic and career pursuits as well. Critical race theory also allows me to be
transparent and upfront about the intent of my research to cultivate and create what
Dewey (1938/1997) calls educative experiences for students of color. I plan to show how
critical race theory in practice can be applied and taught in a manner that not only
decreases marginalization, but also creates the conscientization and critical solidarity
needed to empower students to be on the front end of change and social justice in action
(Freire, 1993).
Critical Pedagogy
In order to better understand the claim and questions of this thesis, it is critical to
know my stance toward education and some of the arguments against my disposition.
Diversification of education is necessary for critical pedagogy and for students to be
personally invested in their education (Gray, 2000). By diversification, I mean allowing
students to have some sort of power in the knowledge they attain and engage with is
important in developing Freires (1970/193) conscientization. Many education scholars
like John Dewey, Paulo Freire, and Henry Giroux believe the purpose of scholarship and
education is to cultivate the innate ability and tenacity in students to transform the world
as we know it. Drawing from John Dewey, Paulo Freire, and Henry Giroux, I would
33


define critical pedagogy as educative experiences that allow for educators and students to
critically and actively engage sociopolitical phenomena. With critical pedagogy present,
there is an acknowledgement that the students and the educators are both well equipped
to critically engage in better understanding how to participate in transformational praxis.
Giroux (1988) argues:
Such a pedagogy makes problematic how teachers and students sustain, resist, or
accommodate those languages, ideologies, social processes, and myths that
position them within existing relations of power and dependency. Moreover, it
points to the need to develop a theory of culture and politics that analyzes power
as an active processone that is produced as part of a continually shifting
balance of resources and practices in the struggle for privileging specific ways of
naming, organizing, and experiencing social reality (p. 101).
Within this definition of critical pedagogy, power is acknowledged as fluid meaning it is
socially constructed. Thus since power is socially constructed, educators and students can
both participate in the power necessary for empowerment toward social justice. Thus, it is
critical that pedagogy as Freire (1990) notes must be forged with, not for, the oppressed
in the incessant struggle to regain their humanity.. .the pedagogy of the oppressed is an
instrument for their critical discovery that both they and their oppressors are
manifestations of dehumanization (p. 33). This is to say that the oppressive pedagogy
continuously maintains and cultivates a culture of oppression within education. Some
students will have the opportunity to benefit depending on their identities while others
will not reap the benefits of the pedagogy because of their identities. Swartz (2004)
speaks to the formal equality versus substantive equality as an example to demonstrate
the why and how needed to humanize the narratives of those with marginalized
identities. He emphasizes how a notion of formal equality, a paradigmatic legal
principle in the United States, ignores the way substantive differences in individuals
34


backgrounds limit their ability to compete equally for social good (p. 187). This
culturally and historically relevant context is what is needed for students to understand
not only their position in the Colorado Paradox, but that of students with marginalized
identities as well.
The ability for students like myself and others from marginalized communities to
be able to voice our narrative and have it legitimized and validated through scholarship
leads to a feeling of empowerment of which catalyzes an optimist approach to issues such
as the Colorado Paradox. Students in marginalized positions need critical pedagogy
contextualized with a critical race theoretical approach because they could end up
utilizing a pedagogy of privilege from a lack of unveiling of the why and how. The
unveiling of the why and how concerning the contextualization of critical pedagogy
and critical race theory acknowledges the intersectionality of race and class. Allen (2004)
argues:
Can a discourse that pays so little attention to race be anti-racist? Historically
speaking, critical pedagogy has constructed an illuminating political discussion
around concepts like hegemony, domination, empowerment, and
solidarity... .These are all concepts that are vital to organizing struggles against
white supremacy. However, critical pedagogy itself has not taken the next step
and applied these terms to a significant race-radical project, (p. 122)
This contextualization of critical race theory and critical pedagogy is necessary for the
sociopolitical development of future social scientists with marginalization and privilege
within their identities. The contextualization of critical race theory and critical pedagogy
allows for the deepening of the Freires (1970) conscientization concerning the
intersectionality and social construction of race and class privilege. Students who have
been the beneficiaries of privilege need the exposure of the why and how in a social
sciences educational pathway. Those in a position of privilege can also teach and benefit
35


from learning in courses like these because sometimes it is not until you feel the pain of
the other that their plight is humanized for you. Matias (2013) speaks to this in her
research about teaching white teacher candidates how to teach students of color. I
realized that my pain counts as a whole human experience, one that my White teacher
candidates must hear to re-examine their defaulted need to superiorize their pain, a
process learned by the unquestioned recycling of dominant narratives (p. 5). The critical
why and how perspectives need to be validated not only by those with marginalized
identities, but those who are the beneficiaries of pedagogy of privilege as well. Because
oppression is innately tied to both the oppressed and the oppressor, there must be
understanding, examination, and critique on both sides. Freire (1970/2014) speaks of the
need to examine those who experience oppression regardless of their position of privilege
by stating, The revolution is made neither by the leaders for the people, nor by the
people for the leaders, but by both acting together in unshakable solidarity (p. 129). The
validation and solidarity of acknowledgement concerning the why and how of the pain
associated with counter-narratives allows for the healing necessary for us as social
scientist to persist as critical praxticioners.
I am personally invested in the outcomes and the implications of this theorys use.
That is to say, I am not simply interested in critical pedagogy for its theoretical
arguments and rhetoric, but rather the potential implications of critical race theory in
practice. However, though critical pedagogy champions our youth to be empowered, it is
also important for youths intersectional racial, gender, and class identities to be
acknowledged and validated as well. This is where I would agree with Allen (2004) when
he states, I draw from the roots of critical pedagogy, but I also re-racialize those root
36


elements that have unfortunately given support to the often blase or color-blind racial
attitudes of many critical pedagogists (p. 123). Students need to be able to access the
conscientization Freire (1970, 1973) speaks of through the lens of race, class and gender.
Freire (1970/2014) speaks of conscientization as the deepening of the attitude of
awareness characteristic of all emergence (p. 109). This quote speaks to the need for
students to understand the why and how concerning the social construction of race,
class, and gender and the sociopolitical phenomena associated with these identities.
Rather than students simply hearing the narratives a few people they identify with in the
curriculum they need to hear the stories of those around them as well. Along with these
narratives is the need for critical pedagogy. A foundation of critical pedagogy is
humanization. Hence, the narratives become the voice for which class and liberalism
need humanization and validation. In my Master of Social Science graduate career, I took
a course entitled Law and Diversity in U.S. History by Swartz (2013). This course
allowed for the counter-narratives of history to be elevated and engaged as an alternative
to the dominant, normative discourse of history. This course provided the perspectives of
people of color from history that challenged the pre-existing sociopolitical structures.
Because the course humanized the narratives of people of color, it humanized my
experiences. This should be a basic course embedded in our educational systems as it will
develop interdisciplinary thinkers, and allow for the narratives of those counter to the
dominant narrative to create the critical solidarity needed to implement critical pedagogy
into effective practice.
Hidden Curriculum
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Before discussing the merit of having a social sciences educational pathway, it is
important to understand the arguments of those opposed to exposing students to courses
that provide a critical theoretical framework. This will be laid out through exploring what
Giroux (1983) calls the hidden curriculum. The hidden curriculum is the experiences
and sociopolitical systems and structures that are experienced by students and educators.
The hidden curriculum is relevant in analyzing educational experiences by developing a
new attentiveness to the linkages between schools and the social, economic, and political
landscape that make up the wider society (p. 45). Giroux uses three approaches as it
relates to the hidden curriculumtraditional, liberal and radical. The traditional approach
embraces uniformity as a means toward consensus and imposed societal norms in a
curriculum. As a critical theorist, I would advocate that this does not allow for students to
challenge the overarching paradigms presented within the curriculum as it relates to the
society in which they live in and experience. The opposing argument is that students
ought to be taught what is valued and appropriate within society. This logic continues
to argue that in providing the norms and values for the students, ideological differences
diminish. The transmission and reproduction of dominant values and beliefs via the
hidden curriculum is both acknowledged and accepted as a positive function of the
schooling process (Giroux, p. 48). This type of normative approach is discussed in
classes like Law and Diversity in U.S. History as it relates to education as well. In this
course, we explored cases and policies that were created from a neoliberal lens which de-
racialized the potential consequences for students of color. In the Mendez v. Westminster
case neoliberal rhetoric was used when the California Supreme Court noted,
commingling of the entire student body instills and develops a common cultural attitude
38


among the school children which is imperative for the perpetuation of American
institutions and ideals (p. 2). The neoliberal disposition decreases the significance and
relevance of race. The Mendez v. Westminster case is an example of the racialized
consequences that occur from neoliberal policy making. Leonardo (1968) speaks of this
by stating, With the fall in funding and withdrawal of state support for public education
during economic downturns... students of color at urban schools, and the public
universities into which they feed, become casualties of neoliberal policies that emphasize
competition and individualism (p. 52). The intersectionality of race and class along with
the unveiling of the why and how racialized consequences occur is embedded within
Mendez v. Westminster case. However, a traditional approach to analyzing this case
would not unveil the why and how. Instead, analysis would simply focus on the
supposed benefits of neoliberal policy making. This perspective believes that in order for
marginalized communities to assimilate, we must diminish discussions of not only
diversity, but the validation of diverse perspectives. This becomes extremely problematic
when what is shown to be valued is what Freire (1970) calls a pedagogy of the
oppresseda pedagogy that primarily reflects the interests and experiences of a certain
group of people. To continue to use a traditional approach to the hidden curriculum in an
ethnically diverse classroom leads students to learn unconsciously who and what is
valued without a critical lens of dialogue and engagement within the classroom. Social
Darwinism would argue that this is a natural consequence because of the belief that
everyone begins on the same, level playing field:
Sumner [an early sociologist] took such a stance without equivocation because he
believed all individuals begin the socioeconomic race on equal footing. Even if
the competition is unequal or certain individuals are given an edge, it was his
contention that the element of chance, along with motivation and natural ability
39


were the deciding factors in determining an individual or groups fate. (Rutledge,
pp. 244-245)
This type of de-racialized rhetoric allows for the beginning experiences of racial micro-
aggressions for students of color. It is problematic when scholars purport a rhetoric that
does not acknowledge the nuances and distance between oppression and empowerment.
Simply put, if the education system is set up to benefit those with privilege neoliberal
policy making encapsulates and cultivates Social Darwinism. Specifically, speaking we
must acknowledge the invisible hierarchy of meritocracy that is perpetuated by this
traditional approach to the hidden curriculum.
The liberal perspective to the hidden curriculum is concerned about the lack of
acknowledgment of its existence. As Giroux (1983) explains, The liberal perspective
rejects most top-to-bottom models of pedagogy, with their conservative view of
knowledge as something to be learned rather than critically engaged, as well as their
equally uncritical notion of socialization, in which students are viewed simply as passive
role-bearers and recipients of knowledge (p. 50). Though the liberal perspective takes
the analysis of the hidden curriculum a step further in the right direction, it still is not
enough. This perspective simply acknowledges the existence of the hidden curriculum
and how it affects the experiences of the dialectic between the educator and the student.
However, this perspective does not take it further by trying to engage critically with this
persistent normative approach and dissemination of the imposed knowledge. The liberal
line of thinking is to rather cope with how to work around this dynamic instead of
directly engaging it. As an African American critical praxticioner, this is problematic
because it only supports telling the what of marginalized stories. An example of this is
to simply acknowledge and state that African Americans are at the bottom of the
40


achievement gap rather than delve into the why and how that came to be. Another
example occurred when I was teacher assistant for a course Critical Issues in American
Education taught by Matias (2014). As we were discussing the school to prison pipeline,
a student simply acknowledged that there are a lot of African Americans in the prison
system and thus a need for metal detectors in predominantly African American schools.
His statement acknowledged the what of the sociopolitical phenomena by stating a lot
of African Americans are in prison. However, his analysis and even solution to the issue
did not acknowledge the why and how this issue came to be. Thus, his analysis did not
come from Freires (1970/2014) conscientization or acknowledge the emergence of the
phenomena. Thus, the liberal approach to the hidden curriculum is not enough for
authentic humanization to occur for students of color.
The liberal approach to the hidden curriculum is in alignment with the
conservative view that knowledge is to be placed into empty student vessels i.e.
Freires (1970, 1973) banking model of education. This liberal standpoint inhibits
students and educators from engaging sociopolitical phenomena further to unveil the
why and how. This is also problematic because if an educator simply acknowledges
achievement gap data for example, but also believes that the students are empty vessels
incapable of contributing to their own learning, a savior approach is inevitable. A savior
approach embodies the narrative of White saviority (a form of benevolence) (Matias,
2013, p. 1). This is problematic because this does not empower students to act based upon
what they learn. The students would be treated as though the sociopolitical issues they
face must be addressed on their behalf rather than empowered to act for social justice
themselves. This savior approach can lead to further oppression of students if educators
41


take on a savior mentality rather than a stance of empowerment. Freire (1970/2014)
speaks of this by stating:
Political action on the side of the oppressed must be pedagogical action in the
authentic sense of the word, and therefore action with the oppressed. Those who
work for liberation must not take advantage of the emotional dependence of the
oppressed... .Using their dependence to create still greater dependence is an
oppressor tactic, (p. 66)
This savior type of mentality represses students from being able to realize their full
potential toward transformational praxis. It cripples them from their belief in themselves
to achieve and realize their role in the pursuit for social justice. To see students as empty
vessels is what Freire (1970) discusses as the banking model of education. That is to say
that rather than the teacher teaching a student how to become more invested in his/her
learning, the teacher will teach the student simply how to learn. Those who benefit
from these approaches to curriculum are those in a position of privilege. This makes a
social sciences educational pathway all the more important because those in a position of
privilege will never have to acknowledge their privilege with the traditional and liberal
approach to education. In order to discontinue de-racialized rhetoric toward those who
are marginalized, it is important for all of us who have some form of privilege within our
intersectional identities to acknowledge it. Those who have marginalized identities also
need a social sciences educational pathway to have their narratives humanized and
acknowledged as not only valid, but culturally relevant.
Radical View of the Hidden Curriculum
The traditional and liberal approaches do not lead to the achievement or breadth of
knowledge that I would envision as a social justice scholar. The radical view of the
hidden curriculum is what I would argue and advocate for within our educational settings.
42


The radical view allows for and applauds the conflicting ideals and norms that come of
the engagement of the hidden curriculum. Specifically, In the radical approach, the
traditional emphasis on consensus is replaced by a radical focus on conflict, and the
liberal concern with the way teachers and students create meanings is replaced by a focus
on social structures and the construction of meaning (Giroux, p. 56). It is this viewpoint
that necessarily extends the dialogue, edification, and tangible applicability of critical
pedagogy in the classroom. This vantage point allows for a transformational dynamic in
the teacher-student relationship in that the teacher and student embody and enhance the
curriculum through the exploration and exposure of the hidden curriculum. The radical
approach to the hidden curriculum supports the possibility of transformational
intellectualism that Giroux (1998) speaks of as pertinent to cultivating our youth. I
envision that students would learn how their actions can engage and transform our
political and social structures. Understanding and learning how to communicate about
sociopolitical issues is critical for students to be interdisciplinary thinkers, successful in
life, and actively participate within our communities. An example of how a radical
curriculum can expose and delve into the nuances of diversity is Swartz (2005) who
argues that the condemnation of the law should not be taken as advocating illegal
activity, rather, the condemnation of the law acknowledges that obeying the law and
respecting the law are two different activities (p. 50). This allows students to have a
discussion in a social sciences educational pathway as to why people and diverse groups
have varying reactions to law. I would interject this is how students can learn to
empathize with others as well regardless of their identities. The importance of
communication as a means to learn empathy and develop oneself and community is
43


emphasized by Swartz (2006) when he states, Through the communicative process, we
argue, individuals continually develop themselves and their communities (p. 32). This is
critical to the development of Freires (1970/1973) conscientization of our youth. This
development will allow for all of our youth to learn to communicate effectively toward
the purpose of mitigating issues such as the Colorado Paradox. This communication will
empower our youth with marginalized identities as well to share their counter-stories.
This is where the equity in praxis lies. It lies within the cultivation of our youths
counter-narratives that have been repressed and stripped from the curriculum.
Pedagogy of Empowerment
A social sciences educational pathway would provide courses that do not simply
teach about diversity, but also support and advocate for the need to have diverse voices as
a part of our social and political infrastructures. That is to say, these classes would
provide the critical pedagogy necessary to humanize marginalized voices to empower
them to act and be inspired to create transformational change. The contextualization of
critical race theory alongside critical pedagogy speaks to not only the need for these
courses, but also leads to my discussion of who stands to benefit from these courses. As
an African American critical praxticioner and conscious-preneur I want to see theory
not as just subject matter to discuss, but implemented into socially justice practices.
Should this praxis occur, everyone stands to benefit from a social sciences educational
pathway. We all have role to play in the creation of a socially just society. Thus, we, as a
society, all should participate in such an educational pathway regardless of our identities
or position in the web of power that Foucault speaks of because critical solidarity is
necessary for the cultivation of a socially just society.
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For our most vulnerable students, a social sciences educational pathway can lead
to humanization and clarity as it relates to theory in practice necessary to validate our
struggles. As an African American social scientist, I could have experienced healing
praxis earlier in my social science academic and career pursuits, if I had been exposed to
the racialized truths of other scholars of color who had endured the racial micro-
aggressions and racial battle fatigue before me. Bell (1992) asserts, ... a burden for the
black scholar, is racial awareness (p. 123). Thus unveiling the why and how of
racialized social phenomena such as the Colorado Paradox and the barriers in navigating
social science degrees and careers needs to happen within a social science educational
pathway. If students experience micro-aggressions and their narratives our repressed, it
can build up the callousness that Matias (2013) speaks of in her scholarly writings. I am
an example of one who has experienced the spectrum of callousness (Matias, 2013) to
healing praxis (hooks, 1994). Matias (2013) argues, By losing my ability to feel pain, I
inadvertently repressed the painful counterstories needed to offset the dominant
narrative (p. 5). When I felt my truths were repressed and invalidated within my
college classrooms, I began to withhold my narrative from those who needed to hear
them most; my children and students of color. Students need to have a venue in which
validates and humanizes their existence and identities. This will allow for an achieved
ethnic identity which is discussed in Chapter Four. The development of confidence in
ones multiple identities is what is needed for a social sciences educational pathway to be
developed in an effective manner. With that said, courses in a social sciences educational
pathway can be taught by those who come from marginalized communities or allies of
45


these communities who also believe in the contextualization of critical race theory
intertwined with critical pedagogy.
An underlining purpose of a social sciences educational pathway is about forging
and cultivating alliances that may not have otherwise happened outside of the classroom.
Through the dissemination of critical pedagogy contextualized with a critical race
theoretical approach, humanization has the potential to occur. Nieto and Bode (2008)
argue, providing information about racism had a positive impact on the racial attitudes
of both White students and students of color... contentious and difficult issues need to be
confronted honestly and directly (p. 131). Thus, students are able to have their racialized
truths validated regardless of the intersectionality within their identities. This is critical
for intergroup dialogue among students of the same gender, race and/or class, but also for
intragroup dialogue as well. Just as Lorde (1983) argues that there is no hierarchy of
oppressions, there is no hierarchy of humanization either.
Conclusion
As an African American critical praxticioner and conscious-preneur, I have
come to realize that the realization of Freires (1970/1973) conscientization is a process.
It is a process in which requires emotional and intentional investment of time and praxis.
Thus, it is a process in which we should afford our youth through a social sciences
educational pathway to help students achieve this Freires (1970/1973) conscientization
earlier on in their academic and career pursuits. Freire (1970/2014) argues, Critical and
liberating dialogue, which presupposes action, must be carried on with the oppressed at
whatever the stage of their struggle for liberation (p. 65). This depicts the notion that
youth should be exposed to the contextualization of critical race theory and critical
46


pedagogy within their academic experiences before they enter post-secondary
institutions. As mentioned in Chapter One, I experienced the cultivation of a neoliberal
mindset within my schooling experiences before college and thus was emotionally and
mentally shocked when I entered a predominantly white institution. Had I been exposed
to a social sciences educational pathway that was contextualized with critical race theory
and critical pedagogy, I would have been further along in my academic and career
pursuits toward transformational praxis. My hooks (1994) healing praxis would have
been unveiled earlier on in my social science academic and career endeavors, if I had
been provided educative opportunities to cultivate Freires conscientization. Thus, in
reflecting upon my experiences as an African American critical praxticioner and
conscious-preneur, I am convinced that a pedagogy of empowerment embodies these
theories of healing and transformation-critical race theory and critical pedagogy.
47


CHAPTER III
METHODOLOGY AND METHODS
Introduction
This chapter will discuss the methodology and the methods that frame my
research. It will serve as the design of how I approach the topic of sociopolitical
complexities youth and professionals of color encounter while navigating the social
sciences. Methodologically, I employ a critical theoretical approach to interpret how
youth and professionals of color navigate their P-20 experiences within the social
sciences. I also utilize this approach to provide critical analysis of my story to provide
insight into some of the racialized sociopolitical complexities I have experienced within
the social sciences sector. By putting my story at the forefront of my research, I am able
to reflect and redirect my pain from racial micro-aggressions and racial battle fatigue
toward healing praxis (hooks, 1994). Given my need to heal from my story, I decided
to design my research with Yossos and Solorzanos (2002) critical race methodology
that allows me to unveil my racialized experiences within a larger sociopolitical
framework. This placed me as a unit of analysis and thus leads me to utilize Yossos and
Solorzanos (2002) counter-storytelling as a method throughout each chapter of this
research. Due to my passion and specific interest in the social sciences, I will apply the
lens of Mills (1959) sociological imagination for the sociopolitical analysis.
Methodology
The critical theoretical approach of my research informs the methodology and
methods I will use to further deconstruct my interest in the sociopolitical complexities
youth and professionals face when navigating social science degrees and careers. Before
48


delving into the methodology, the definition of methodology must be revealed. Matias
(2005) discusses methodology as, the theoretical mapping of a researchers inquiry (p.
53). The mapping of my research includes an approach which allows me to critically
interpret the sociopolitical complexities we face as students and professionals of color
within the social science sector. Before further exploring research from a traditional
approach (regression analysis, interviews, and subjects from the community), I needed to
allow myself time to simply reflect upon another unit of analysis firstme. By placing
myself at the forefront of my research, I am able to unpack the many complexities of my
own experiences in navigating social science degrees and careers. As stated in Chapter
Two, my story is not just my story, so exploring the nuances of my experiences through
counter-storytelling allows me to place my narrative in a wider sociopolitical framework.
Simply stated, this allows me to discuss my story as it relates to not just me, but also the
youth and professionals I engage with on a daily basis.
Critical Race Methodology
Critical race theory provides me with a theoretical framework that helps me re-
conceptualize my racialized experiences. Thus, it is necessary for me to utilize a
methodology that is inclusive of, and representative of, racialized experiences. In light of
this, I will use critical race methodology as my ideological foundation for my research
inquiry. Critical race methodology entails a focus and recognition of race, racism, and the
Freirian (1970, 1973) conscientization necessary to deconstruct our racialized
experiences. Solorzano and Yosso (2002) explain critical race methodology as the
following:
... a theoretically grounded approach to research that (a) foregrounds race and
racism in all aspects of the research process. However, it also challenges the
49


separate discourse on race, gender, and class by showing how these three
elements intersect to affect the experiences of students of color, (b) challenges the
traditional research paradigms, texts, and theories used to explain the experiences
of students of color; (c) offers a liberatory or transformative solution to racial,
gender, and class subordination; and (d) focuses on the racialized, gendered, and
classed based experiences of students of color. Furthermore, it views these
experiences as sources of strength and (e) uses the interdisciplinary knowledge
base of ethnic studies, womens studies, sociology, history, humanities, and the
law to better understand the experiences of students of color, (p. 24)
This extensive basis of critical race methodology allows me to investigate not just my
story, but that of students of color who choose to navigate social sciences degrees and
careers. First, critical race methodology acknowledges race within the intersectionality of
our racialized, gendered, and classed experiences. As an African American, female
critical praxticioner, I acknowledge the intersectionality within my identity and how it
impacts the conscientization of the way I navigate my academic and professional
experiences within the social sciences. Second, critical race methodology embraces texts
that challenge normative discourse. Thus, I utilize many texts and theories that not only
validates my story, but also places my story within a larger sociopolitical framework.
Applying texts that support a critical disposition to education provides insight to the
experiences of youth and professionals of color within the social science sector. Third,
critical race methodology employs a liberatory and transformative approach to the pain
associated with the intersectionality within ones identity. Hence, I am able to
acknowledge the pain I experienced while navigating social science degrees and careers
for the purposes of healing praxis. The reflections and/or counter-stories I share
unveil how the intersectionality within my identity informs my conscientization. Fourth,
critical race methodology envisions texts and stories as a source of strength. Thus, the
reflections of the pain associated with my social science academic and professional
50


experiences are meant to be a source of healing praxis for the scholars of color that will
follow in my footsteps. I will share ways in which I have cultivated solutions to alleviate
the pain that comes along with my story of navigating my social science academic and
professional career. Lastly, critical race methodology engenders a transdisciplinary
approach that draws from multiple knowledge bases from education to policy. In order to
reflect upon the pain and solutions that come along with my story, I draw from an
interdisciplinary approach that stems from education, sociology, and political science.
Methods
By using critical race methodology as my ideological map, I am able to confront
the experiences I endured as a student and professional of color while navigating degrees
and careers in the social sciences. This methodology informs the types of methods I will
use in order to focus and refine my research. Methods are ways in which the ideology
behind the research is revealed. Marias (2005) states, . methods represent mapping out
the ideological frameworks, or the strategies that researchers use when collecting
information in the field (p. 54). The strategies and/or methods I will use for this research
are Yossos and Solorzanos (2002) counter-storytelling and Mills (1959) sociological
imagination. I have chosen counter-storytelling in order to reflect some of the
sociopolitical complexities occurring within the field of the social sciences through
sharing my story. I have chosen the sociological imagination in order to provide a
transdisciplinary social science lens to further develop the analyses of the sociopolitical
complexities youth and professionals face while navigating the social sciences.
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Counter-storytelling
Given the need to reflect upon my multifaceted experiences as a student and
professional of color, I have centered myself as the unit of analysis. As the unit of
analysis, I have framed my research in each chapter with counter-storytelling. Thus, the
type of counter-storytelling I employ for my research is based upon my personal
autobiographical narrative. Solorzano and Yosso (2002) discuss counter-storytelling as,
Personal stories or narratives [that] recount an individuals experiences with various
forms of racism... .juxtaposed with their critical race analysis.. .within the context of a
larger sociopolitical critique (p. 32). Counter-storytelling is one of the methods that will
be used to analyze not only my story, but the sociopolitical complexities that youth and
professionals of color may face in navigating social science degrees and careers. Counter-
storytelling allows for the healing praxis necessary for myself and other critical
praxticioners and conscious-preneurs to continue in our social justice efforts.
Solorzano and Yosso (2002) argue:
. when the ideology of racism is examined and racist injuries are named,
victims of racism can find their voice. Furthermore, those injured by racism and
other forms of oppression discover they are not alone in their marginality. They
become empowered participants, hearing their own stories and the stories of
others, listening to how the arguments against them are framed, and learning to
make the arguments to defend themselves, (p. 27)
Sharing and revisiting my story allows me to deepen the empowerment and socially just
efforts I partake in for the next generation of critical praxticioners and critical
conscious-preneurs. I must reflect upon my story in order to revisit the manner in
which I can re-dress the injustices that come along with my story. By reflecting upon
my my story, and the racialized experiences that come along with it, I am better able to
serve and create innovative praxes. This also models for young scholars of color a way in
52


which they can access healing praxis. I must share the vulnerability, authenticity,
honesty, and pain associated with my story to model how young scholars of color can
effectively navigate degrees and careers within the social sciences while attempting to
penetrate what I call the invisible racialized hierarchy of meritocracy. By allowing myself
to be the unit of analysis, I model how young scholars of color can go from callousness
(Matias, 2013) to healing praxis (hooks, 1994).
Sociological Imagination
Because my methodological application of critical race methodology is
transdisciplinary, it allows me to draw from a range of disciplines within social science.
Thus, it is befitting to recognize a scholar such as C. Wright Mills who has been
referenced regarding not only sociology, but also the manner in which social sciences
disciplines interplay with one another. He discusses four turns, discussed in Chapter
One that reflects the manner in which social scientist should approach sociopolitical
phenomena. These four turns inform what he calls the sociological imagination. The
sociological imagination is the second method and/or strategy I will use in order to map
out some of the private troubles that need to surface as public issues as students and
professionals of color navigate social science degrees and careers (Mills, 1959). This is
the lens I will utilize to define the social sciences and to write this research. Mills (1959)
writes:
There is first the shift of emphasis from the history of institutions and ideas to the
concrete behavior of peoples. There is secondly. .a tendency not to study
one sector of human affairs alone but to relate it to other sectors. .There is third
a preference for studying social situations and problems which repeat themselves
rather than those which only occur only once. And finally there is a greater
emphasis on contemporary rather than on historical social events, (pp. 61-62)
53


These four shifts will allow me to further interrogate my research interests concerning the
sociopolitical complexities youth face when navigating social science degrees and
careers. First, the sociological imagination suggest a shift from focusing on history of
institutions to concrete behaviors of people. Thus, in order to unveil the sociopolitical
complexities associated with navigating social science degrees and careers, the concrete
behaviors of people exemplified through racial micro-aggressions and neoliberal policies
will be examined. Second, the sociological imagination suggests studying human affairs
as related to multiple sectors rather than related to one sector. Thus, the racial micro-
aggressions and racial battle fatigue in my story alongside neoliberal policies will be
discussed through multiple platforms of analyses. My story and the manner in which I
navigate my social science academic and professional career will be discussed through
the lens of critical race methodology, critical education discourse, and policy analyses.
This will provide insight on the human affair of how students navigate their academic
and career development amidst racial micro-aggressions and neoliberal policies. Third,
the sociological imagination suggest social scientists study social issues that repeat
themselves rather than those that occur once. Thus, I have chosen to examine the racial
battle fatigue that stems from incessant lashings of racial micro-aggressions within my
social science academic and career journey. I have also decided to examine neoliberal
policies that exacerbate the sociopolitical climate in which scholars of color are immersed
in as they navigate their social science degrees and careers. There will be a critical
interpretation provided in my research to discuss how neoliberal policies may exacerbate
issues that persist, such as the Colorado Paradox. Lastly, the sociological imagination
suggest social scientists focus on contemporary events rather than historical events.
54


Hence, there will be analyses concerning a contemporary event that I created, entitled the
Social Sciences Institute, in order to take a step toward mitigating the sociopolitical
complexities students face while navigating social science degrees and careers. The
Social Sciences Institute was not created through traditional research methods. Thus, this
event will not be discussed as generalizable to the general population. That is, I in no way
propose to generalize the effectiveness of the Social Sciences Institute. Rather, I present
it and all the student feedback as a contemporary example of what can be done and what
effect it had. However, it will be discussed as an event that may be a basis for the creation
and cultivation of a potential social sciences educational pathway. This is a condensed
example of how a social sciences educational pathway could be of benefit to youth who
choose to pursue social science degrees and careers. This type of sociological
imagination will cultivate the ability for students to understand their private troubles
through analyses that draws from multiple social science disciplines. Mills (1959)
proposes the idea that in order for social scientists to work consciously, we must find
ourselves intellectually and amidst the sociohistorical (p. 179). I would also add, the
sociopolitical structure of our times because of policies that allow issues like the
Colorado Paradox to persist. The Social Sciences Institute allowed students to discuss,
debate, and interrogate sociopolitical issues like the Colorado Paradox. The table below
reflects the shifts that occur in Mills (1959) sociological imagination and how I will
apply it as a lens for my research:
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Table 1: Mills (1959) Four Shifts in the Sociological Imagination Applied to the
Sociopolitical Analysis of Navigating Social Sciences Degrees and Careers
A
1. Study history
of institutions

A
A
A
2. Study one
sector of human
affairs alone
3. Study social
issues that only
occur once
4. Study
historical social
events


Study concrete
behaviors of
people
Study human
affairs as
related to
various sectors
Study social
issues that
repeat
themselves
Study with a
greater
emphasis on
contemporary
social events
Unveil sociopolitical
complexities within
navigating the social
sciences, concrete
behaviors of people
creating neoliberal policy
will be examined
Students navigating social
science degrees and
careers alongside
neoliberal policies that
shape the sociopolitical
environment will be
analyzed
Self-efficacy will be
discussed because it
reflects the persistence of
students gravitating and/or
avoiding academic and
careertasks based upon
self judgement
Social Sciences Institute will
be examined as a potential
step forward in mitigating
sociopolitical complexities
while student's navigate
social science degrees and
careers
As an African American, female social scientist, I would argue that Table One reflects
the ability of the sociological imagination to cultivate a new, innovate way in which
critical praxticioners and conscious-preneurs can engage sociopolitical phenomena.
The sociological imagination is a strategy in which allows us as social scientists to exude
innovative praxes. The sociological imagination platform stems from a transdisciplinary
approach and provides a critical interpretive means to draw parallels in sociopolitical
phenomena that continues to occur within our communities.
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Limitations
The underpinnings of my research is racial equity and social justice for youth and
professionals of color who wish to penetrate the invisible racialized hierarchy of
meritocracy within the social sciences sector. Given the multifaceted issues that come
along with navigating social science degrees and careers, critical race methodology
allows for an interdisciplinary approach to discussing sociopolitical phenomena within
this field. In order to unveil and refine the discussion around the complexities young
scholars and professionals of color face when navigating the social sciences sector,
counter-storytelling and the sociological imagination provide insight into how we may
navigate the social sciences sector. Specifically, when we are faced with neoliberal
policies and racist ideology within academic and professional settings. This insight will
help provide the healing praxis needed to persist and commit to social justice and racial
equity within the social science sector. Tatum (1997) speaks to the need for healing by
stating, But not only do children need to be able to recognize distorted representations,
they also need to know what can be done about them. Learning to recognize cultural and
institutional racism and other forms of inequity without learning strategies to respond to
them is a prescription for despair (p. 49). Thus, this critical race methodological
approach to my research will allow for the unveiling of my story as a means for critical
analyses, implications, and potential solutions to consider to support young scholars of
color who choose to navigate social science degrees and careers.
However, there are limitations that must be considered within my critical
theoretical interpretations of my story and the sociopolitical complexities associated with
navigating social science degrees and careers. The limitations of this study stems from
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the attempt to navigate between Deweys (1938) either or binary of theoretical vs.
traditional research. Because of not taking a firm stance in the middle and taking more of
a critical theoretical approach, I had to be mindful of the manner in which I approach the
framing of this research. The theoretical framing of this research is equally as important
as the implications for critical praxticioners and conscious-preneurs. Too often
policy is forged on political party lines with neoliberal consequences. Policy forged for
youths academic and career development has also lacked the potential for
transformational praxis because of stripping curriculum and career pathways of the
sociological imagination and conscientization necessary for healing praxis. My duty in
within this research is to simply interrogate the sociopolitical complexities youth face
when navigating social science degrees and careers and to help unveil some of the
consequences of neoliberal policies. To be clear, this research is limited to a theoretical
approach, which nonetheless is important to building future practical applications.
A second limitation concerning this research is analyzing an educational pathway
that is not formalized. Because of the innovative nature of this research and discussing an
informal social sciences educational pathway, further research will need to be conducted
in order to intellectually organize a social sciences educational pathway school by school
and district by district.
Another limitation of this research is that is does not provide financial analysis
concerning funding of currently existing career pathways similar to the one I endeavor to
create. Though funding of career pathways is not discussed within this research, it may
provide more insight as to why a social sciences educational pathway does not exist
within our state. There are pieces of education legislation that will be discussed later
58


chapters. But, the actual funding of the career pathways within schools and school
districts are not discussed. Specifically, in the three school districts that will be discussed-
Aurora Public Schools, Cherry Creek Public Schools, and Denver Public Schools. This
needs to be further interrogated not only for the sustainability of the pre-existing
pathways, but the future sustainability of a social sciences educational pathway.
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CHAPTER IV
FIRST SHIFT IN THE SOCIOLOGICAL IMAGINATION: BEHAVIOR OF
INSTITUTIONS TOWARD BEHAVIOR OF PEOPLE
There is first the shift of emphasis from the history of institutions and ideas to the
concrete behavior of peoples. There is secondly. .. .a tendency not to study
one sector of human affairs alone but to relate it to other sectors. There is
third a preference for studying social situations and problems which repeat
themselves rather than those which only occur only once. Andfinally there is a
greater emphasis on contemporary rather than on historical social events. (Mills,
1959, pp. 61-62)
Introduction
This chapter will begin the analyses through the lens of Mills (1959) sociological
imagination to unveil the sociopolitical complexities students and professionals of color
face when navigating social science degrees and careers. The first shift through the lens
of the sociological imagination is from focusing on institutions toward behavior of
people. Thus, in order to reveal the sociopolitical complexities associated with navigating
social science degrees and careers in Colorado, the political behavior of people will be
discussed alongside my story. The political attitudes and behaviors of people will support
the analyses concerning the sociopolitical environment of Colorado in which our students
and professionals of color navigate as they work toward transformational praxis. To
provide an example of what a student and/or professional may experience within
Colorados sociopolitical environment, I will share my story as an individual who has
experienced the P-20 schooling process in Colorado. Though my story will not be
generalized as the experiences of the general public, it may shed some light on the
challenges youth and professionals of color face while navigating academic and career
development within the social sciences.
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Colorados Sociopolitical Environment and the Colorado Paradox
Before further discussing a social sciences education pathway, it is pertinent to
understand the sociopolitical environment within Colorado. This will provide a better
understanding as to why certain political decisions were made to mitigate the Colorado
Paradox and to create certain types of career and post-secondary efforts. The Colorado
Paradox speaks to the fact that though it is seen as a state with highly educated citizens,
Colorado students in our K-12 systems are not on track to earn college degrees. Only 1 in
5 high school freshmen will earn a post-secondary degree. Cronin and Loevy (2012)
argue, More than 25 percent of Colorado teenagers entering ninth grade will drop out of
school.. .Of those who complete high school and go on to college, nearly 30 percent will
need to take remedial classes..(p. 325). Particularly speaking, Colorado has been
known nationally for the Colorado Paradox. That is to say, it has a long history of
importing its educated citizenry while our native youth continuously struggle in
Colorados environment to be supported by equitable education policies. Below is a table
that reflects the rate at which different demographics of students are graduating within
four years (on time graduation):
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Table 2: Colorado High School Graduation Rates by Ethnicity/Race (by percentage)
Class of 2013 Class of 2014
Source: Colorado Department of Education
Table 2 reflects a large graduation rate gap among American Indian, Black/African
Americans, Hispanic/Latino students and White students. Rather than looking at the rates
with a deficit toward the respective ethnic/racial communities of students and their
families, I would challenge us as critical praxticioners to delve into the why and how
the graduation gap and Colorado Paradox persist.
What is peculiar are the mindsets that create a politically challenging environment
in which allows the Colorado Paradox to persist. Colorado is a unique state in that it is
not seen as entirely blue or red. It is not seen as simply a progressive or conservative
state, but rather a blending of both sets of politics. That is to say, it is not rigidly on either
side of the political spectrum as it relates to party politics. However, Colorado has been
characterized as a libertarian state in which many people believe in neoliberal rhetoric
and policy. Cronin and Loevy (2012) conducted some polling to demonstrate this type of
neoliberal mentality within Colorado. People were asked to indicate their agreement by
62


stating which one they agree with mosteither an individualistic perspective or a more
communitarian political perspective. The results were: (a) Each individual should take
care of him or herself (55% agreed), and (b) Government should work to make
peoples lives-and community life-better (34% agreed) (p. 58). This is the mentality
that has crafted policies that further perpetuate the Colorado Paradox. This is also the
mentality of the citizenry who continuously vote against education measures that could
lead toward more equitable education funding for our school districts that serve a high
concentration of lower socio-economic students. As Cronin and Loevy note, And the
responses, we believe, are another indication of the individualistic, liberty-loving, take-
care-of-yourself ethic that is widespread in Colorado (p. 58). This type of thinking leads
to racial battle fatigue for students and professionals of color who believe that social
justice and transformational praxis can be achieved in spite of these political attitudes.
This type of thinking led to me experiencing feelings of callousness, bitterness, and
frustration in my commitment as a critical conscious-preneur and praxticioner.
As a child, I grew up thinking I would be able to take on the worlds problems and
solve them simply by earning my degree and serving my community. When Ifirst started
in the field of education, after college, I thought I was going to save the world. I thought I
could save every student andfamily from their own demise. I entered the field with the
memories of neoliberal opinions my former white college classmates would state during
discussion. I also remembered their deficit thinking toward me and the youth of color I
would serve. For example, many of my white college classmates presumed African
Americans and/or Latinos not caring about education was simply a part of our
culture. With this in mind, I wanted to empower youth to prove that we, as people of
63


color, do care about our education andjust simply need support from someone who
believes in our intellectual abilities. I knew that I would be the critical praxticioner
and conscious-preneur to make a breakthrough for every student I served. I knew this
sounded absurd to many people outside of the education space and even those within the
educational realm. But, why else would I commit to being a critical praxticioner and
conscious-preneur, if I didn 7 think this level of social justice could be achieved? So,
there I was helping students who had dropped out of high school return to school. I
helped hundreds of youth return to school, but also encountered students who had
become callous from their schooling experiences. I would call and meet with youth and
their families to help them return to high school and graduate with their diploma and
even college credits. As a part of the recruitment process, I would simply ask if they
wanted to go back to school and sometimes they would say yes, but sometimes they would
say no. I met with a young African American man one day who had literally a year left to
finish school. He only had a year left to finish because he would age out of the system if
he did not finish in a year. After many phone attempts and pleading with him in person,
he decided to return to school. I was excited andfelt accomplished not simply because of
my success, but because I had helped a young man who looked like me get back on the
trajectory of success. He would attend school a few days a week, have a perfect week of
attendance, and then began to show up less and less. I wondered what could have
happenedfor him to not want to commit to his own education. I could not graduate for
him. He would have to be emotionally and physically present to graduate. So, I set up a
meeting with his family and the school staff. We discussed his reading scores and his
goals in life to come up with a realistic plan of action to help him attain success step by
64


step. During the meeting, his mother projected shame and bitterness toward him for not
being the accomplished young man she desiredfor him to be. As an African American
woman and mother, Ifelt myself begin to shrink and back away from my advocacy for
him to stay in the school. I began to feel callousness towards him, his mother, and many
other youth and parents of color that followed in their footsteps of struggling to commit
to education. I knew that I served all of my youth equitably, but there were increased
feelings of hopelessness, bitterness, and anger when it came to the youth of color I served
tirelessly. I would interrogate myself as to why these youth of color would let me
down, when I cared more about their success than sometimes the school staff and even
their own families. Particularly, what bothered me most was to hear the staff easily speak
toward the deficits rather than the strengths of my students of color. For example, I
would hear statements about students like, maybe they should just get their GED. I would
also hear statements like well school isn 7 for everybody. I became fatiguedfrom my
depth of care for their success because of how Ifelt it reflected upon not just them, but
youth, parents, and even professionals of color like myself. Though I was one of the most
successful employees because of my ability to encourage and support countless youth to
return to school and graduate, the sheer numbers were not enough to satisfy my appetite
for breaking down the barriers these youth faced while navigating their schooling
processes and dreams.
I came across many youth of color who did not reflect a desire of wanting to
return to high school for so many years, that I began to once again embrace the neoliberal
mindset of many Coloradoans. I began to straddle the fence of an equitable mindset and
the mindset of the 55% of Coloradoans that think everyone should fend for him/herself.
65


For the few years that I helped students return to high school and graduate, I wondered
why so many African Americans and students of color were not staying in school. I
wondered why I was able to help these students return to school in droves, but yet still
had difficulty feeling like I had cultivated transformational praxis. I would meet with my
students and learn their hearts-their fears, dreams, and sociopolitical issues within the
schooling process. For example, I would meet students who would go to school just to
find out they had been dropped from school. Staff from their schools would tell them they
could not return to school and needed to come see me for help. Rather than a staff
member learning the students dreams and fears as a part of their schooling experience,
they would simply treat them like a statistic, particularly a Colorado Paradox statistic.
Other times, students would tell me that they did not want to return to school because
teachers were always kicking them out of the classroom because they were intimidated
by them. The students would tell me that if they were having a bad day and made a
mistake, they did not feel anyone was there to support them through their personal
challenges in and out of school. Many of these students with these stories were students
of color, particularly young Latino and African American males. From reflecting upon
the barriers and challenges they faced within their experiences, I was led to remain a
committed critical praxticioner and conscious-preneur, but this time in the realm of
community organizing in education policy. I chose to enter the realm of education policy
in hopes of mitigating the neoliberal mindsets that youth encountered when navigating
their P-20 experiences.
It did not take long for me to see the aforementioned neoliberal type of thinking in
the world of education policy. It is this neoliberal thinking that also leads to decisions that
66


are top down rather than ground up. It also allows the context that feeds the Colorado
Paradox to continue as the status quo. That is to say, that policies are created to continue
to attract educated people from outside of the state rather than focusing on policy, from
a ground up approach that will cultivate our marginalized youth. Particularly speaking,
policies that will cultivate Colorados own natives as educated for the labor market. Fine
and Ruglis (2009) discuss the sociopolitical implications of this type of mentality
particularly for lower income students and students of color when they explain that, neo-
liberal education policies unleash and legitimate a perverse distribution of education
opportunities.. .by focusing on what we call the circuits and consequences of
dispossession, we problematize how educational policies laminate credentials of merit
onto most White and Asian elite youth (p. 20). This can be seen by many policy
initiatives and groups that discuss the academic and career development for Colorado
youth. Thus, there are well-intentioned people in policy who think that providing youth a
means to do for themselves will (1) allow them to pull themselves up by their
bootstraps, but also (2) relieve the government from having to be responsible for
improving the lives of people. The neoliberal rhetoric is typically along the lines of
helping lower income and racially diverse youth by providing them with potential careers
that will help them escape poverty. Though this is important, I agree with Giroux
(1983) who believes that academic and career development decisions should not solely be
labor market driven. This mentality does not allow for policy that crafts what Dewey
(1938/1997) calls educative experiences within the social sciences. Educative experiences
are critical to cultivating a future generation of youth who will be the professionals and
leaders to lead policy discussions about how to mitigate the Colorado Paradox. These
67


experiences are also crucial because as Dewey (1938/1997) discusses, We always live at
the time we live and not at some other time, and only by extracting at each present time
the full meaning of each present experience are we prepared for doing the same thing in
the future (p. 49). This alludes to a later discussion of the pertinence of self-efficacy and
social cognitive theory. Students must be given opportunities to build their self-efficacy
within the social sciences in order to mitigate such a liability as the Colorado Paradox
and other issues that necessitate private troubles as public issues.
Cronin and Loevy (2012) discuss Colorados sociopolitical context at length by
acknowledging what they call assets and liabilities. Some of the assets Cronin and
Loevy (2012) speak of in Colorado pertain to the job market, top industries, education,
and tourism. Renewable energy has been seen as a valuable asset for Colorado because it
ranks fourth in the United States for renewable energy and energy research employment.
It ranks sixth for highest total solar energy capacity (Cronin & Loevy, 2012, p. 321).
Our scientists contribute to Colorado being seen as one of the most educated states in the
nation as well. Other industries contribute to our notable educated citizenry as well, such
as business and the tech industry because Colorado ranks third in tech worker
concentration and eight in the United States for sciences and engineers as a percentage of
the state workforce (Cronin & Loevy, 2012, p. 321). Individuals with this type of
professional background have contributed to the tourism that occurs within our state.
Tourism has served as an important part of our states economic capital. Colorado has an
ability to attract these type of professionals as well because of our low tax rates. We are
ranked forty-sixth lowest out of the fifty states for the amount of state taxes (Cronin &
Loevy, 2012, p. 323). This is particularly important to many of the business-minded
68


professionals who come to the state with a business and/or create a business within the
state. Colorado is a state that serves a myriad of business minded individuals who seek
tax relief. Cronin and Loevy (2012) speak to the role business and entrepreneurship plays
within our state. Colorado [is] ninth in the nation for investments in venture-backed
companies and as fourth in the number of new companies per capita and small business
grants (p. 323). These are some of the assets within our state that drive the policies
that shape our sociopolitical environment. This is particularly important because as
shown, the social sciences are not seen as a part of the states assets.
It is critical to understand the assets discussed by Cronin and Loevy (2012)
because this has helped cultivate the type of policy decisions that have been made to
mitigate the Colorado Paradox. I would consider these type of policy approaches to
academic and career development as liabilities for the state. The friction between
continuing to cultivate the assets of Colorado and mitigate the liability of the
Colorado Paradox has left our youth in a position to consume the educational policies
from top down, neoliberal approach. Neoliberal thinking perpetuates an individualistic
mentality over a communal mentality. Particularly speaking, our youth who desire to one
day engage in policy and/or a social sciences educational pathway that could cultivate
their creative genius have not been prioritized. What has been prioritized are students
who neatly fall into Colorados priorities and/or cultivation of its assets. These areas
are in business, health sciences, manufacturing, and science, technology, engineering and
mathematics (STEM).
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Political Theories Investigated
A manufacturing career pathway passed as a pathway option for K-12 students,
but also non-traditional students as well per HB 13-1165 during the 2013 legislative
session. The rhetoric was that this bill would help youth who tend to need remedial
courses-students of color. But, as seen from many education initiatives, such as
concurrent enrollment which is discussed in Chapter Five, white students tend to attain
the benefits at much higher rates than students of color. This bill is a reflection of what
we have seen regarding a push for vocational training in the past for our students of color.
HB 13-1165 went through the legislative process smoothly. Sometimes bills have to be
passed through several committees and/or be amended before they are passed, but that
was not the case with this bill. There were not many committees involved in the passage
of this bill. The only two committees necessary for the passage of this bill were the
Education and Appropriations committees in both chambers: House and Senate. There
are over ten committees, so for this bill to only go through two within both chambers is a
smooth transition through the legislative process. Some of the other committees that may
have been relevant for this bill to enter for review are: Business, Labor and Technology
or Business Affairs and Labor. The bill also did not have any amendments from either
chamber. According to the Bell Policy Center, Bills that are passed out of committee
return to the House or Senate floor for a second reading. This is a key point in the
legislative process when legislators may make substantial amendments. Bills can be
either passed, amended and passed, defeated, laid over until another day or referred back
to committee for more work. Thus, this bill passed through the legislature without the
challenges that other bills may face. The voting results of the bill were interesting along
70


party lines because none of the House Republicans voted yes for this bill and only one
Senate Republican voted yes. Between the two chambers, the house and the senate, 86
percent of the House of Representatives voted yes April 15th of 2013 and 60 percent of
the Senators voted yes May 6th of 2013. The objectives of the bill were an attempt of
policy makers to implement this pathway as a means to mitigate the Colorado Paradox. A
major issue as apart of the Colorado Paradox is students going to post-secondary
institutions with a need for remediation. This bill addresses this issue directly in the
language of HB 13-1165. The objectives of the Manufacturing Career Pathway as stated
within the bill are as follows:
1) Create and design a manufacturing career pathway
2) Decrease remediation needed for post-secondary students
3) Curtail the shrinkage in skilled workers in these careers
4) Provide certification for K-12 students and adults through a series of connected
educational and career related activities
5) Boost Colorados economy
As mentioned within the language of the bill, it is visible that there was an attempt by
policy makers to acknowledge the Colorado Paradox while attempting to implement a
career pathway to boost the economy. While this career pathway may, in fact, boost the
economy, I am not so confident that it will curtail the need for remediation among our
youth because Brenner and Theodore (2002) speak to the consequences of this neoliberal
thinking by discussing actually existing neoliberalism:
Neoliberal doctrine is premised upon a one size fits all model of policy
implementation that assumes that identical results will follow the imposition of
market oriented reforms, rather than recognizing the extraordinary variations that
arise as neoliberal reform initiatives are imposed within contextually specific
institutional landscapes and policy environments, (p. 353)
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The attempt to decrease the need for remediation through this type of academic and
career development embedded with efforts to boost the economy speaks to the neoliberal
thinking of the market and a one size fits all approach.
This pathway was legislated in the 2013 legislative session, but was cultivated
and discussed well before 2013. Governor Hickenlooper conducted listening tours along
with invested interests groups in order to create traction and political capital to get this
bill passed through the legislature. In September of 2012, Governor Hickenlooper joined
leaders from Colorados manufacturing industry to announce the launch of the Colorado
Advanced Manufacturing Alliance (CAMA). The alliance is comprised of members of
the manufacturing industry, as well as leaders in government and education, who will
work to enhance the global competitiveness of advanced manufacturing in Colorado and
create jobs across the state. Political theoretical approaches at play within the passage of
this bill are Stefes (2010)political entrepreneurship and Adolina and Blakes (2011)
economic theory. First, political entrepreneurship is clearly a manner of opinion in that
the Governor himself and/or others may deem this theory as a manner of skepticism. I
would surmise that political entrepreneurship is at play within the passage of this
legislation because of the timing in which the piece of legislation passed and the timing
in which it is mandated to be designed and created. The bill passed with the mandate of
the board designing and creating the Manufacturing Career Pathway by the 2014-2015
academic year. This is politically significant because Governor Hickenlooper was up for
re-election the fall of 2014. The mobilization was a top down approach rather than a
grassroots approach. Adolina and Blake (2011) argue, The mobilization model describes
situations in which government constitutes the group interested in agenda setting. In these
72


situations, government officials agree that an issue not currently visible in the systematic
agenda needs to be addressed (p. 12). This type of mobilization was cultivated by
Governor Hickenlooper through a task force entitled the Colorado Advanced
Manufacturing Alliance (CAMA). This task force was purposed to ensure that policy
would be put in place to ensure the implementation of the manufacturing career pathway.
Governor Hickenlooper stated, The Colorado Advanced Manufacturing Alliance is a
perfect example of the collaboration needed to create new jobs and more capital
investment in our state... .Advanced manufacturing is uniquely positioned to lead our
states recovery because it cuts across many of Colorados key industries. The Governor
is in a position that he is able to claim this as a part of the success of his administration.
This is important because of the role of the Governor is to cultivate and help maintain a
strong economy. As Stefes (2010) says, Policy entrepreneurs are advocates who are
willing to invest their resources-time, energy, reputation, money-to promote a position in
return for anticipated future gain in the form of material, purposive, or solidary
benefits(p. 19). Governor Hickenlooper was willing to put forth the financial capital
necessary to implement this pathway with the hope of attaining further financial gain for
the future of Colorado.
This leads to the next political theory, which is economic theory. Adolina and
Blake (2011) suggests economic theory purports policy be created based upon economic
analysis albeit short term or long term effects. As stated, policy entrepreneurs are willing
to put forth resources toward challenges and solutions that will provide them with
political capital. The fiscal note for the manufacturing career pathway is $1 million
dollars, which is a significant portion of the budget. The governor, in the state of
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Colorado, plays a major role in the approval of the budget. The piece of legislation itself
states that this career sector supports a major portion of Colorados economy. Over 5,900
manufacturing firms employ more than 120,000 employees and contribute over $16
billion annually to Colorados economy. Given this knowledge, policy has been created
to provide opportunity for citizens who would like to engage in this type of academic
and career development. This pathway is problematic because it places students rigidly in
a pathway of which may be difficult to leave. This is very problematic for students of
lower socioeconomic status and of color in that it may create another sub-class of
citizenry as we have seen with other vocational training programs. Also, younger
generations tend to have a desire to have a fluid career. That is to say that they do not
wish to remain in the same profession or job for the amount of years that the baby
boomer generation did in their professional years. The National Bureau of Labor
Statistics (NBLS) conducts research on this and explains this phenomena by stating,
Median employee tenure was generally higher among older workers than younger ones.
For example, the median tenure of workers ages 55 to 64 (10.4 years) was more than
three times that of workers ages 25 to 34 years (3.0 years) (.Employee Tenure Summary,
2014). This pathway could lead to further marginalization due to the inherent rigidity of
the pathway. It also funnels money toward a career pathway that does not support the
intellectualism and/or conscientization necessary to mitigate liabilities such as the
Colorado Paradox. We need an educational pathway that will also support our youth to
engage intellectually within our communities and with policy makers to create equitable
education policies. A social sciences educational pathway would provide a broad base of
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educative experiences and knowledge necessary to have a fluid career while fulfilling
ones desire to cultivate transformational praxis.
The New Face of Neoliberalism: The Creative Class
Rather than create policy that addresses the root causes of poverty, neoliberal
rhetoric has engaged a one size fits all approach to alleviating poverty and increasing
Colorados appearance of being an educated state. That is to say rather than cultivating
our native Colorado youth with policy that invests in public education and higher
education, the motive behind education investments have been to attract what Florida
(2002) calls the creative class. Floridas (2002) notion of the creative class is a group of
people that have been labeled as the new upcoming class of people to cater to in order
to create a vibrant city. They are considered the group of people that cities should appeal
to as a means to rapid and effective urban development. Florida (2002) characterizes this
group as:
[T]he creative class: a fast-growing, highly educated, and well-paid segment of
the workforce on whose efforts corporate profits and economic growth
increasingly depend. Members of the creative class do a wide variety of work in a
wide variety of industriesfrom technology to entertainment, journalism to
finance, high-end manufacturing to the arts. They do not consciously think of
themselves as a class. Yet they share a common ethos that values creativity,
individuality, difference, and merit, (p. 3)
This creative class has been a group that many city leaders have tried to attract to their
cities. Thus, it is peculiar that Governor Hickenlooper played an intricate role in the
passage of HB 13-1165, the Manufacturing Career Pathway, because it is listed as one of
the industries associated with the creative class. Governor Hickenlooper was Mayor of
Denver for two terms beginning in 2003 and served up to 2011. The creative class has
been deemed as essential to a citys economic growth and sustainability, so it is not
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surprising that Governor Hickenlooper would advocate for a Manufacturing Career
Pathway. Particularly, when Governor Hickenlooper was Mayor of Denver, he was so
moved by Floridas (2002) book about the creative class that he bought it for himself and
his senior staff. Peck (2005) explains, the mayor of Denver moved to buy multiple
copies of the book distributing them as bedtime reading for his senior staff, while
initiating a strategy to rebrand the city as a creative center (p. 742). From Mayor of
Denver to Governor of Colorado, Hickenlooper has transformed the city of Denver and
the state of Colorado to serve and attract the creative class.
This may be viewed by many policy makers as an excellent way to build a city
and/or state toward economic growth and sustainability. But, it is problematic for a state,
such as Colorado, in which the Colorado Paradox persists. There are many reasons that
this is problematic not only for Colorado, but for our youth of color and of lower socio-
economic status. Peck (2005) further corroborates this by stating, the creative class has
also attracted criticism for its relative neglect of issues of intraurban inequality and
working poverty. A swelling contingent economy of underlaborers may, in fact, be a
necessary side-effect of the creative (p. 756). Given Colorados sociopolitical climate
that has been discussed concerning Cronin and Loevys (2012) assets and liabilities,
catering to the creative class will continue to be detrimental to the cultivation of the
conscientization necessary to mitigate neoliberal policy making like this. Peck (2005)
argues, Floridas vision of a creative meritocracy is essentially a libertarian one (p.
757). As discussed earlier in this chapter, many Colorado citizens have libertarian
attitudes when it comes to social issues. This is, in part, why Colorado continues to have
liabilities such as poverty, homelessness, and underdeveloped students in our education
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systems. Within this sociopolitical context, it will be extremely difficult to cultivate the
conscientization necessary to support our youth to eventually mitigate the Colorado
Paradox. More importantly, it will be difficult to create policy that forges the cultivation
of a social sciences educational pathway because it does not reflect the interests of
Colorados creative class nor the states assets. Providing the necessary educative
experiences for our youth to breakdown neoliberal policy making and mindsets will be
difficult if we continue to perpetuate policies that cater to the creative class because
ultimately.. .the solution seems to be that the working and service classes need to find a
way to pull themselves up by their bootstraps (Peck, 2005, p. 757). The continuation of
this neoliberal mindset in our citizenry can only support the continued existence of the
Colorado Paradox rather than support to mitigate it.
The perpetuation of the neoliberal mindset that comes along with the creative
class will persist in our state if our youth are confronted with the right to lead rhetoric
inherited by the creative class as well. Peck (2005) discusses the merit associated with
civic engagement and leadership that the creative class is presumed to attain, when he
reflects:
[M]ost creative places tend also to exhibit the most extensive socio-economic
inequalities. Ultimately, though, since it is the creatives destiny to inherit the
earth, it is they who must figure out how to solve these problems, in their own
way... .The uncreative population, one assumes, should merely look on, and
learn... what matters is the capacity of the Creative Class to generate new forms
of civic involvement, (p. 746)
For many reasons, this type of neoliberal and meritocratic attitude is what will maintain
pervasive consequences of neoliberal policy making. This is in contrast to
transformational and innovative praxis that I argue for as a means to culturally relevant
policy making. The neoliberal mindset of the creative class toward civic engagement and
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even academic and career development for our youth will not cultivate the educative
experiences necessary for our youth of color to penetrate the racialized hierarchy of
meritocracy. Instead, it will continue to perpetuate the Colorado Paradox as well as
minimize the counter-narratives needed to break through toward the conscientization
necessary for transformational praxis. These counter-narratives will continue to decrease
as students and professionals from lower socio-economic backgrounds and/or of color
with marginalized identities continue to silence their counter-narratives to survive amidst
the power and privilege that comes along with being a part of the creative class. Beimler
(2003) discusses the creative class, are most accurately identified by education and
ambition, rather than skin color or country of birth.. .race, ethnicity and geographic origin
tend to be less meaningful than professional achievement, business connections and
income (p. 3). Again, neoliberal thinking disregards our classed and racialized
experiences. This is very problematic because as a critical praxticioner, I validate my
students racialized identities along with my own. I encourage my students to return to
their communities with their counter-narratives in order to cultivate healing praxis,
racial equity, and social justice. To continue to foster the colorblind mentality that comes
with the creative class is no different than falsely heralding the accomplishments of a
few People of Color (Matias, 2013, p. 15). Thus, in order to mitigate the Colorado
Paradox and provide educative experiences, a social sciences educational pathway needs
to be created as a part of equitable policy making. An intellectually-organized social
sciences educational pathway will allow for students of color to learn alongside white
students while recognizing the sociopolitical impacts of our racialized identities. It is not
just the responsibility of those who are experiencing the consequences of neoliberalism,
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but also those that impose the consequences, consciously and unconsciously, to mitigate
the Colorado Paradox. Matias (2013) writes about this dual responsibility in her
discussion of counter-narratives when she states, since most People of Color who are
raised in a racist society had to learn not only the dominant narrative but also, a
counternarrative, I ask my White teacher candidates to finally burden themselves about
learning all narratives (p. 17). Just as Matias teaches her teacher candidates to validate
and engage counter-narratives, we must create educative experiences for our youth in a
social sciences educational pathway that allows for transformational healing praxis. This
healing praxis can only be achieved by supporting our youth of lower socio-economic
status and of color with the necessary educative experiences that allows for the validation
of their counter-narratives and the empowerment of students to engage in our
communities equitably.
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CHAPTER V
SECOND SHIFT IN THE SOCIOLOGICAL IMAGINATION: THE HUMAN
AFFAIR OF STUDENTS NAVIGATING SOCIAL SCIENCE DEGREES AND
CAREERS IN COLORADOS P-20 SCHOOLING ENVIRONMENTS
There is first the shift of emphasis from the history of institutions and ideas to the
concrete behavior of peoples. There is secondly. .. .a tendency not to study
one sector of human affairs alone but to relate it to other sectors. There is
third a preference for studying social situations and problems which repeat
themselves rather than those which only occur only once. Andfinally there is a
greater emphasis on contemporary rather than on historical social events. (Mills,
1959, pp. 61-62)
Introduction
The purpose of this chapter is to reflect the second shift of Mills (1959)
sociological imagination which is a shift from focusing on one sector of human affairs
toward focusing on human affairs related to other sectors. For the purposes of this
theoretical research, I will be providing interpretive analysis regarding the human affair
of students navigating P-20 experiences which is inclusive of concurrent enrollment and
other academic and career pathways offered within three school districts-Aurora, Cherry
Creek, and Denver. In order to unveil some of the sociopolitical complexities and
challenges a youth may face who is interested in social science degrees and careers, I will
share my story of how I navigated my P-20 social science experiences. I will also delve
into some of the P-20 efforts that currently exist to reflect the gap in social science
academic and career development for our youth.
How Can You Commit to What You Cannot See?
Having worked with many youth in my professional career, I have watched many
students try to figure out what they want to be when they grow up. I remember being a
student who was trying to figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up as well. I
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thought I wanted to be an attorney like Johnnie Cochran or Perry Mason. However, my
exposure to the field of law was rather limited. I remember being attracted to the power
they possessed in the courtroom and being enamored by the language they would use to
intellectually assassinate witnesses on behalf of their helpless defendants. As a child, I
saw that as not only a position of power and wealth, but also a position of empowerment
for people in need. Thus, I knew I wanted to help people in need throughout my
childhood, but also wanted to have a title, power, and the money that comes along with
being an attorney. So, without a social science educational pathway that could expose me
to the field of law, how was I so committed and adamant about entering the profession?
After high school, I immediately entered college at the University of Denver. I
was very excited about my first trimester of college and the orientation because I wanted
to begin to forge my trail toward being a lawyer. I was psyched to tell the academic
advisor I would meet that I wanted to study law. I knew that law school would be after
earning my bachelors degree, but thought I would literally study law during my
undergraduate career. I knew that college was supposed to be better than high school
because I would have the opportunity to study what I had been waiting to learn for the
past 17 years. So, there I was in the orientation meeting with an academic advisor, who
would later become one of my favorite professors. He asked me if I was going to declare
a major. I asked him what that meant and he said it meant what I wanted to study. I told
him that I wanted to study law. He told me that there was no law major for me to study. I
said that I knew I wanted to go to law school. He said that was great and asked what type
of law I wanted to practice. I told him I wanted to help children who had been abused
and neglected along with people who are wrongfully accused of crimes. He said that
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sounds great. Sounds like you are interested in government. I said no I want to study law.
He said yes, but laws are created by government. I said yes that is true; so, what do you
think I should do since I can 7 study law right now ? He said I recommend you study
Political Science. I said Political Science! What is that? He said it is the study of politics
and government. I said ok well if that is what I have to do to go to law school, then I will
major in that. He said you will enjoy it. I can tell by your passion. I said okay. I will take
your wordfor it. So, I took his wordfor it and majored in Political Science along with
Criminology. I enjoyed the debates, discussion, and knowledge I attainedfrom both
majors. But, little did I know. I was more committed to being a critical praxticioner
and conscious-preneur rather than an attorney. I did not realize I did not want to be a
lawyer and attend law school until after I entered the field of education. It was then that I
had the opportunity to have hands on learning experiences making a difference in the
lives of youth and their families.
In reflecting upon my story, I am reminded of the many youth I have served
over the years that were just like me during high school and even after high school. Many
youth I have worked with tell me they want to be lawyer. However, when I have asked
them why, they are not quite sure. They may tell me because they want to help people or
children, but they do not know what I mean when I ask why they want to be a lawyer.
Thus, I do not ask youth what they want to be when they grow up. Instead, I ask them
if they could choose to change something in the world, what would it be and how they
would go about changing it. This is the root of what they envision their commitment too.
As a youth myself, I always knew I wanted to help people surpass barriers and
challenges they may face amidst institutional racism and oppressive systems like
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schooling or justice systems. Thus, every job I have had has been for that
aforementioned purpose-the purpose of transformational praxis. Throughout my
academic and professional career, I have always purposed myself and my critical
conscious-preneurship toward racial equity and social justice. If I had a social sciences
educational pathway that could have exposed me to the myriad of opportunities that one
can choose to create transformational praxis, I would have most likely known that I did
not want to cultivate my purpose through being a lawyer. There are many youth who still
do not understand the spectrum of academic and career opportunities from selecting a
major to actually choosing a job and/or career within the social sciences. However, in
other fields such as business, health sciences, and STEM, students have been more likely
to discuss potential majors and even diverse careers within these fields. There must be
equity in cultivating the knowledge necessary for youth to effectively navigate social
science degrees and careers. This is why I am so passionate about the creation of a social
science educational pathway that can expose youth to hands on learning opportunities
within the field of social science.
Career Cultivation and Political Post-secondary Achievement Efforts
In order to further expose the gap of academic and career development for youth
interested in social science degrees and careers, it is necessary to understand the P-20
academic and career development efforts that exist within Colorados sociopolitical
climate. Colorado has been faced with whats known to be the Colorado Paradox. In
order to mitigate this issue, many stakeholders worked with the legislature to pass a series
of bills that allowed for Colorado students to concurrently enroll in college level courses
while in high school. These pieces of legislation were HB 09-1319 and SB 09-285 of
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which required school districts to enter into an agreement with qualified higher education
institutions and allow students to essentially take college level courses for free for a year
after high school (Ruthven, 2011). This 5th year program is also known as ASCENT and
only accounted for one percent of the dual enrollment programs in the 2011-2012 school
year. Though these political efforts are admonished and recommended, the number of
students being served due to the passage of these pieces of legislation are minimal. Due
to passage of this legislation, the Colorado Department of Education and the Colorado
Department of Higher Education produced a 2011-2012 annual school year report. The
report states, approximately 24,000 students participated in dual enrollment programs.
This is approximately 19 percent of all 11th and 12th graders in public schools in
Colorado (p. 5). Though this is progress, there should be a higher portion of our
Colorado students enrolled in dual enrollment programs. This number must increase
significantly in order to mitigate the Colorado Paradox. What is more problematic are the
low numbers of students color participating in the dual enrollment programs. Within the
report there is a breakdown of the increase of students enrolled in the concurrent
enrollment programs from 2010-2011 school year to the 2011-2012 school year. There
was an increase in students participating in dual enrollment, but the number of students of
color did not increase at the rate of their white counterparts. The chart below shows the
increase in students by ethnicity from the 2010-2011 school year to the 2011-2012 school
year:
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Table 3: Student Count from Concurrent Enrollment Data from 2010 through 2012
Race/Ethnicity 2010-2011 School Year 2011-2012 School Year
Asian 234 416
African American 404 525
Hawaiin or Pacific Islander 26 30
Hispanic 1877 2744
More than one race/ethnicity 162 290
Non-resident 272 293
White 4535 7504
Unknown/Did not answer 1745 2084
Annual Report on Concurrent Enrollment, (source: Colorado Department of Education
and the Colorado Department of Higher Education, 2013, p. 16)
In looking at Table 3, there were not significant gains in participation for African
American youth nor other youth of color who are addressed as being at the bottom of the
Colorado Paradox. However, there was a significant increase for white students. This is
not an equitable distribution of participation and there needs to be significant gains in
participation among our youth of color to continue to mitigate the Colorado Paradox. In
order to mitigate the Colorado Paradox throughout the entire K-12 school systems, SB
212 was passed by the legislature to adopt the Common Core Standards. The standards
rolled out in school districts and time is still needed to evaluate the efficiency of the
standards within school districts across the state. The purpose of these standards are to
provide teachers and students more engaging ways to teach and learn. Also, as a result of
the aforementioned pieces of legislation, programs under Extended Studies such as the
CU Succeeds program was created as another opportunity for concurrent enrollment to
provide high school students more college level courses. However, many of these college
level courses offered are not embedded in the social sciences. Many of the courses
offered are in the areas of science, math or literature. The graph below shows an analysis
85


of what courses were being offered for the fall of 2014 across the state in various school
districts.
Table 4: CU Succeeds Fall 2014 Course Offerings
MATH
ENGLISH
BIOLOGY
CHEMISTRY
HISTORY
PSYCHOLOGY
£ PHYSICS
<
tj COMMUNICATION
= ETHNIC STUDIES
£ SOCIOLOGY
3
<-> POLITICAL SCIENCE
-o
g PHILOSOPHY
3
3 CRIMINAL JUSTICE
u
MANAGEMENT
FINE ARTS
COMPUTER SCIENCE
HUMANITIES
SPANISH
GERMAN
0 20 40 60 80 100
Number of CU Succeeds Courses
CU Succeed Fall 2014 Course Listings (source: University of Colorado Denver CU
Succeeds)
It is evident that the CU Succeeds program is not offering a plethora of courses within the
social sciences. The courses offered mirror the neoliberal political interests to push
students towards career fields in STEM of which requires a foundation in math. There
could be a few issues at play in looking at the courses offered from the CU Succeeds
program. One issue could be that tenured faculty who may teach these courses cannot
count these courses toward their faculty loads. Another issue could be funding for a
86


lecturer to teach the courses at the high schools. There are cases in which the high
schools have to pay for the lecturer. Because of the emphasis on STEM, administration
within high school settings may be less likely to pay for social sciences courses. Second,
because college and career readiness is intricately linked to the tendency for students to
need remediation in math and reading, there may be an emphasis on providing math and
basic English courses. The issue with this perspective is these are college level courses
that may not mitigate the need for remediation in other areas for students who likely
would not be academically ready to take a college course.
Secondary Career Pathways within the Denver Metro Region in Colorado
Now that the sociopolitical analysis of Colorado has been discussed, the current
landscape of career pathways in the Denver Metro region will make more sense. For the
purposes of this discussion, Aurora Public Schools (APS), Cherry Creek Public Schools
(CCPS), and Denver Public Schools (DPS) will be discussed. In order to better explain
the framework for this discussion, it is important for one to know the basis of what a
career pathway in secondary education offers students and what academic disciplines
would be inclusive of a social sciences educational pathway. Career pathways allow for
secondary students to take college level courses through a partnering higher education
institution. Sometimes these courses are free for the student, but it does cost the school
district money as they have to pay for these services. With that said, there have been state
budget cuts over the past few years in Colorado and school districts may be uneasy about
investing in career pathways that do not show demand within the labor market. If
students begin taking these courses early enough in their high school career, they are able
to earn a high school diploma and an Associates degree simultaneously. Students are
87


able to take these courses either at the partnering higher education institution or at their
high school, so they do not have to leave the building. In these cases, the higher
education institutions send adjunct faculty to the high school to ensure the class has
college rigor. Sometimes there are high school educators who have the education
necessary to teach a college level course so schools do not have to hire outside faculty.
The social sciences arena offers an interdisciplinary focus on an array of subjects. These
subjects include, but are not limited to; anthropology, criminology, economics, political
science, psychology, sociology, womens studies etc. In listing the various academic
fields under the umbrella of the social sciences, it is visible that the field has the capacity
to assist in the development of an interdisciplinary thinker. This is a skill that is in
demand within our society especially within the state of our economycompanies are
downsizing and looking for people to be able to approach work with a broad foundation
of knowledge to help move organizations and business toward exponential success.
Arguably, one who is in the best position to move an entity forward or a people forward
is someone who is able to think through the lens of a social scientist. The social sciences
educational pathway would allow for students to take classes within the aforementioned
disciplines while being exposed to a foundation of how social phenomena exist and
persists in our communities and society.
Career Pathways in Aurora, Cherry Creek and Denver Public Schools Districts
Within the surrounding Denver Metro area school districtsAurora, Denver and
Cherry Creekthere is not a social science educational pathway offered to students. This
is not to say that these districts do not allow students to concurrently enroll in social
sciences classes at the community college and/or at the students high school. But, the
88


access to the classes under the social sciences umbrella is rather limited. There is no
official educational pathway for students interested in social science academic and career
development. In Aurora Public Schools, there are various post-secondary programs that
offer students in high school access to college curriculum. There is Pickens Tech, Vista
Peak, Aurora Lights, and PACE Setter within the Aurora Public School (APS) District.
Pickens Tech is a vocational school that provides technical career opportunities for
students that include, but are not limited to; automotive, barbering, cosmetology,
electrician, graphic design, and technology, etc. This school offers careers for students
geared toward a particular trade. Vista Peak is a preschool through graduate school
campus also known as a P-20 campus. It is a fairly new educational facility in that it is
only five years old. This school offers students various career pathways in which they can
earn college credits while pursuing their career interests. The career pathways offered
are: business, fine arts, health sciences, science, technology, engineering and
mathematics (STEM), and visual and design arts. These are the options for students on
this campus that would like to be able to partake in a career pathway on campus rather
than commuting to Community College of Aurora (CCA). Aurora Lights is a program
that exists in partnership with the University of Colorado Hospital, Metro Care Provider
Network, and Community College of Aurora (CCA) to allow for students to be exposed
to the health sciences careers. Due to limited resources, only students in certain schools
are able to partake in this program. PACE Setter is a program offered to high school
students who would like to earn college credit through taking courses through the CCA.
Students can take these courses on the campus or at their school if the instructor is from
CCA and teaching college curriculum. But, these courses are not geared toward a
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Full Text

PAGE 1

COUNTER STORIES OF MY SOCIAL SCIENCE ACADEMIC AND CAREER AND THE SOCIOLOGICAL IMAGINATION by JANIECE Z. MACKEY B.A., University of Denver 2006 A thesis submitted to the Faculty of the Graduate School of the University of Colorado in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Humanities and So cial Sciences 2015

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ii 2015 JANIECE Z. MACKEY ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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iii This thesis f or the Master of Social Science degree by Janiece Z. Mackey has been approved for th e Humanities and Social Science program by Omar Swartz, Co Chair Cheryl Matias Co Chair Shelley Zion Date: July 23, 2015

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iv Mackey, Janiece Z. (M.S.S., Humanities and Social Science ) Counter stories of my Social Science Academic and Career Development from a Critical ns of Critical Race Theory and the Sociological Imagination Thesis directed by Associate Professor Omar Swartz and Assistant Professor Cheryl Matias ABSTRACT preneur have experienced racial micro aggressions and racial battle fatigue while navigating my social science P 20 schooling experiences and professional experiences. Sharing my counter stories illuminates the sociopolitical issues that youth may face as the y navigate their social science academic and career development. My experiences are particularly Within Colorado, one of the challenges is the neoliberal policies and envir onment that is cultivated within the Colorado Paradox environment. The Colorado Paradox speaks to the fact that though it is known as a state with highly educated citizens, Colorado students in our K 12 systems are not on track to earn college degrees. Onl y 1 in 5 9 th graders will earn a post secondary degree and many students will require remediation upon their arrival to college. The Colorado Paradox reflects the long history of Colorado importing people who already have college degrees because of their i nterest in low taxes and starting a career in the state. Many of the people coming to the state are young professional s who may not have children and are not inclined to pay taxes to educate our young citizenry. This is the type of neoliberal thinking that is perpetuated within our academic and career developm ent efforts in the state Given the fact that career pathways have been driven by a policy and job market trends, career pathways in Manufacturing,

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v Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STE M), Health Sciences and Business have been created. In order to enhance post secondary achievement and opportunities of high school students interested in pursuing degrees and careers in the social sciences, a social sciences educational pathway needs to b e implemented within schools and school districts The creation of a social sciences educational pathway could intersectionality within our identities, cultivate self efficacy and educative experiences The form and content of this abstract are approved. I recommend its publication. Approved: Omar Swartz and Cheryl Matias

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vi DEDICATION This research is dedicated to my husband, children, and family who have been extremely supportive of me in this research process. If it were not for them I would not be the wife, mother, family member, and community leader I am today. They keep me humble, grounded, and foc ci polic y.

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vii ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS I would also like to acknowledge the faculty that sat on my thesis committee: Drs. Cheryl Matias, Omar Swartz, and Shelley Zion. If it were not for these faculty members at the University of Colorado Denver, I would not see in myself. The time and intellectual wisdom invested in me is a reflection of their intellectual prowess and passion toward tra nsformative education.

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viii TABLE OF CONTENTS CHAPTER I. 1 My Story: The Purpose Definin II. THEORY AND Radical View of the Hidden III. Counter IV. FIRST SHIFT IN THE SOC IOLOGICAL IMAGINATION: BEHAVIOR OF

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ix The New Face of Neol V. Career Cultivation and Political Post secondary Achievement Efforts Secondary Career Pathways within the Denver Metro Region in Colorado Career Pathways i n Aurora, Cherry Creek and Denver Public Schools Districts .88 VI. THIRD SHIFT IN THE SOCIOLOGICAL IMAGINATION: THE SELF EFFICACY OF STUDENTS REFLECTED THROUGH ETHNIC IDENTITY .................................. 93 Background of Social Cognitive Career Theory (SCCT) Self efficacy and the Educative Experience Self efficacy VII. FOURTH SHIFT IN THE SOCIOLOGICAL IMAGINATION: ANALYSIS OF ............. .............................. 110 ivate Future Social Scientists?........................................................................................ ....................111

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x Social Sciences Institute Student Reflections VIII. Exposure of National Labor Market and Degrees Conferred Colorado Labor Market Context A. 142 B. 144 C. 148 D. 150 E. 152

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xi LIST OF TABLES TABLE 1. n the Sociological Imagination Applied to the Sociopolitical Analysis of Navigating Social Sciences Degrees and Careers 2. Colorado Graduation Rates by Ethnicity/Race (by percentage) 3. Student Count from Concurrent Enrollment Data from 2010 through 4. 5. Social Sciences Institute Student Reflections 118 6. Projected Job Growth in Social Sciences from 2012 to 2022 7. National Center for Education Statistics Fields of Study and Degrees Conferred

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1 CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION My Story: The Purpose and Heart of the Study As a native of Colorado, I am personally invested in an issue tha t has been a part of my phenomena that reflects the notion that Colorado is viewed as an educated state, yet only 1 in 5 high schoo l freshman are likely to earn a college degree (Cronin & Loevy, 2012) This is an issue of particular importance to me because the students who have been noted as unlikely to earn a college degree are students of lower socio economic status and of color. T hus, many social science students and professionals within Colorado are white. I am an African American woman who was raised in a two parent household and escaped being a Colorado Paradox statistic. I have also advoca ted and worked with students to support their escape from the Colorado Paradox as well. I am married to an African American man and we plan to raise our African American children in Colorado as well. I am keenly aware of the intersectionality and privilege embedded in our identities. That is to say though my race does not provide me w ith privilege, my education, middle class status, and marital status gives me advantages. Due to this privilege, we are able to provide our children opportunities and resources to diminish their chances of dropping out of high school and increase their chances of earning college degrees. However, this privilege will not allow them to escape stories like these; stories like mine and other people of lower socioeconomic status and/or of color: For many of my elementary school years, I attended private schools. I was either the only African American student or one of two African Americans in my classrooms. My parents worked extremely hard to cocoon me with this private education in hopes that

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2 he many stereotypes and prescribed identities imposed upon eing a ghetto, welfare mom and/or dropout. In my elementary years, I did not know what I was t I did know was that I was a smart, hard worker, with an was in the beginning of 2 nd grade; the only African American in the classroom among my white peers. The tea cher asked us to solve a math equation on the board. I had my hand up before she finished the question knowing I would know how to solve the equation. She allowed me to solve the equation in front of my peers. As I walked to the board, I sassily were surprised at how fast I solved the equation and later asked how I knew these equation on to skip the 2 nd grade before the end of the first semester. Throughout my elementary education, I earned certificates and report cards that supported my growing neoliberal mindset. Certificates and report cards that stated: Janiece has made a very nice transition into Third grade. Her motivation and desire to excel are excellent traits for a fine student Miss M. Personal Success Award: To succeed requires setting goals, har d work, and determination. We are proud to recognize and congratulate: Janiece Grant [for] being responsible towards her school work Miss H. Certificate of Merit: This certifies Janiece Grant has been awarded this certificate for Obedience Miss W. Creek District Spelling Bee representing the Highline Community School. Because of you, our school is a better place to learn. You have proven to me by your actions that one person can make a difference. I applaud you for what you

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3 have accomplished and look forward to hearing even more great things about you in the future Principal S. Presidential Academic Fitness Awards Program presented to Janiece Grant in recognition of ac ademic effort to learn, to improve, and to overcome challenging obstacles Richard Riley United States Secretary of Education and Bill Clinton President of the United States. I carried these accomplishments and ego stroking statements with me to public sc hools starting in Fifth grade. I noticed that my fellow African American peers were not Why I had, I was proud of my accomplishments and thought my intellectual capacity would distinguish me from my racialized peers. I would soon learn my emotions and int ernalized questions about my racialized peers were not about them ; the questions were about the larger systemic processes that racialize both whites and people of color As I progressed in my education, until I was confronted with this same Horatio Alger, 1 rhetoric by my white peers at a private university. Like my private elementary education, here I was again, the only African American in my college classes. But, this time rather than being asked to solve an equation that has one Truth, and one answer, the class was asked to discuss complex issues of race, crime, politics, and education with multiple Truths. Though I was eager to answer the questions being posed by my white professors about issues like urban violence, voting behavi or, and education attainment, I was in fear this time. This time 1 career processes. This mentality refers to the Horatio Alger notion that economic success will come if one

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4 criminality, apathy, and lac k of ability imposed upon not just my African American community members, but me into this private institution as well. Sometimes my white peers would come to me after offend you by talking about Black people. I know you are making eye contact with me after class as if they were trying to forget that an African American was in the room. Sometimes my professors would support me in the classroom by validating my statements that not all African Americans are criminals, in jail or dropouts. But, sometimes professors would not validate my statements. They would allow my white peers to continu e to share their one dimensional perspectives or often time limited to no encounters with my people and images they viewed in the media. Other because they were so im pressed with how articulate I was in class. In fact, they often commented on the passion and vibrant dialogue that I brought to my analyses in the classroom. Regardless of my internalized racial battle fatigue, a process that leads one to internalize the p ain of racist ideology, I could never slip into the shadows of the classroom and simply absorb the dialogue. Instead, I was constantly confronted with 2 On the one hand I knew my ideas were being attacked because of my 2 Dual consciousness is the notion that African Americans navigate life through two lenses. Du Bois (1903) It is a peculiar sensati on, this double s soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity (p.2).

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5 skin color and because of the deficit toward my people. On the other, hand I knew I was that same intelligent, African American girl that skipped the 2 nd grade and had confidence infused with knowledge. W hile some of my white peers cited information without citations about their presumptions about my community, I brought paper clippings of newspaper and journal articles to refute their claims. I was told by some of my white professors that I should go on t o graduate school because they were impressed with my abilities. Though I appreciated this intellectual support from my professors, I felt isolated, lonely, and alienated by many of my white peers. While I was receiving some support from white professors and a few African American mentors on campus, I struggled to just stay enrolled each trimester. I always registered late into the trimesters due to a lack of financial aid. I juggled the harsh realities of potentially dropping out each trimester and having consciousness I brought into the classroom while simultaneously knocking on the doors of f inancial aid to convince them to invest in college, I became pregnant with my first child and had to again convince my peers and the financial aid office that I was not going to be another African American statistic who would drop out of college and become a single mom. Fueled with anger, resentment and bitterness, I graduated early and came to realize the racism and stereotypes my parents out I would graduate until the day before graduation due to a lack of financial aid. So, I spent the last trimester of the school year before graduation, begging the financial aid office

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6 from the reality of possibly being a Colorado Paradox statistic. It was not enough until I inequity I was experiencing. I had my story published in o ne of the university newspapers, persuaded my peers to write on my behalf to university leadership, and constantly asked for financial aid from the same people that told me no everyday. Finally, my voice alongside my peers was acknowledged because I met so meone who was graduation. With the shattering of my neoliberal mindset, and a heightened awareness of the intersectionality of race and class, I knew that my advocacy was n ot just about me and just my story. This was the story of my African American roommates who had to dropout the same university, and of the young scholars of color who would follow in our footsteps. So, again there I was after college, one of the few African Americans in professional positions to advocate on behalf of our youth through grassroots organizing, ed ucational counseling and Finally, I was i n a position to travel and organization entitled Young Aspiring Americans for Social and P olitical Activism

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7 (YAASPA) In terms of the Colorado professionals of color. So, I could not help but wonder, w ere my peers of color who my peers of color who dropped out due to a lack of financial aid and compounding psycho d throughout my career? Stemming from the bigotry, racial battle fatigue I experienced, and not seeing people of color in positions of intellectualism throughout my college and professional career le ft me feeling bitter, ill feelings towards whites, a nd pain for those young scholars of color who would follow in my footsteps especially my own children It pained me more to see people (Du Bois, 1903) challenged through their educational and professiona l journeys in predominantly white college campuses, and workplaces Worse yet are these predominantly white spaces that claim to believe in while lacking critical consciousness and people of color themselves. Sadly this lack of critical consciousness and people of color in their organizations are based upon presum ptions that African Americans responsibility toward work (Du Bois, 1903) fermented my desire to challenge the n eoliberal bootstraps, rhetoric that I once embraced in my younger years A nd one that paralyzed and injured me tirelessly in my older years. I knew that I needed to be innovative and create educational opportunities that could be accessed easily by students just like me Hopefully by doing so, such a path would change the stories peo p le of color experience

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8 in thei r educational and/or professional careers. With respects to I would like to focus these educational opportunities within the field of social science. dson Billings, 2006) by practicing criminal law and/or by supporting foster youth by being a Guardian ad Litum ( GAL ) However, immediately upon leaving the university, I entered the ed ucation profession as a bilingual counselor working with middle school youth who were primarily from West Denver. I became enamored with the education profession and continued my career in education. I have helped students who dropped out of high school re turn to school, civic engagement and have taught in the classroom as well. As I continued to progress in my career, I became aware that these professions were predominan tly white. continued to be questioned in my midst. I was continuously questioned about my ability as an African American professional. For example, in order to increas e diversity, I proposed and organized processes that brought more African American professionals to my work. Instead of embracing this institutional way to increase diversity, many of my white colleagues found ways to place additional barriers for these pr ofessionals of color. One tried to implement a stricter screening process based upon the racist stereotype that African Americans are not articulate. I soon against, it was whiteness and racist ideologies so deep ly embedded in my white colleagues. In reflecting upon all of these experiences, two aspects of my P 20 schooling and beyond stood out to me. One, I realized that the students I have worked with and the

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9 students who aspire to dismantle educational inequity like me, do not have academic and career development to take on such a task. In fact, I believe because there were no social science classes to develop a critical consciousness to show how race, class, and education intersect. T here is not a foundational understanding of how to enact justice. Two, I was the intelligent, politically savvy representative for African American youth, community and beyond. With this in mind, I decided to pursue my Master of Social Science degree to explore the idea of creating a social sciences educational pathway for high school students Such a pathway would provide them with the conscientization (Freire, 1970, 1973) necessary to mitigate issues such as the Colorado Paradox A nd in doing so increase representation of scholars and professionals of color within social sciences degrees and careers. Thus, the purpose of this study is to explore the complexities of navi gating social climate. Analys e s of the sociopolitical environment of Colorado will be provided This will unveil the neoliberal policies that dictate social science ac ademic and career development In fact, I will argue that these neoliberal policies indeed perpetuates the Colorado Paradox rather than alleviating the Paradox by developing our students of lower income and of color. From within Colorado, t hough labor mark et data should not be the driving force of academic and career development, it should be acknowledged as part of the analysis for a potential social sciences educational pathway for high school students. sposition, my research tries to effectively demonstrate the need for intersectionality in discussions of academic and

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10 career development for our youth, particularly for our students of lower socioeconomic status and of color. Because of the multifaceted c omplexities within my research, I am going to take a critical theoretical approach for the analys e s of this thesis. To diminish the gap between theory and practice (hooks, 1994), and cultivate my a bilities of being an effective critical a t erm I coined in conducting this research, I must heal from my story Thus, this thesis serves as not only future implications for students and praxis, but as a source of healing. I coalesce my voice alongside hooks (1994) who states, I found a place where I could imagine a place where I could imagine possible s experience that theory could be a healing place. (p. 61) Because this research is an illustration of my story and the many stories that remain unheard, I must learn how to continuously heal from racial battle fatigue in order to cultivate this abilit y within students and provide access to the social sciences. And in providing social science development, we generate a diverse and critically conscious Thus, we would not be so dependent upon taking social science professionals from out of state. In order to effectively exude my healing praxis (hooks, 1994), I will be utilizing a pragmatic approach alongside critical theory as a foundation for my analys e s. Specifically speaking, I will utiliz e (2002 ) counter storytelling and Mills (1959) sociological imagination as methodologies to explore the following : critical pedagogy and critical race theory. First, c ritical pedagogy concept ualizes conscientization. Freire (1970, 1973) argues:

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11 economic oppressions in society and to take actions against them. To put it differently, conscientization is the process of developing a critical dialogue and communication, change in the program content of education, and e students to engage in self discovery through mindfuln ess and self awareness. (p. 161) B y inhabiting conscientization, a person can better process their educational and professional experiences. C onscientization (Freire, 1970, 1973) can help people process what Dewey (1938/2007) calls educative or mis educative experiences. Dewey As an individual passes from one situation to another, his world, his T hus, it is critical to provide educ ative experiences that expand the knowledge concerning the intersections of race, class, and conscientization and (193 8/2007) educative experiences, one can better understand the sociopolitical complexities of navigating P 20 schooling. Specifically, this research will discuss how does including social science curriculu m impact the conscientization e ducative experiences, access and beyond within the social sciences arena. Second critical race theory pedagogies that guide our efforts to identify, analyze, and transform the structural and cultural aspects of education that maintain subordinate and dominant racial positions in and out of the classroom This provides the foundational understanding necessary for me to advocate for educational justice with respect s to race It allows me to be explicit about the intersectionality of race and class associated with the realities of navigating degrees and careers within the social sciences.

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12 Particularly, it allows me to explore whiteness and how white supremacy impacts the intersections of race and class. In order to discuss these theories in depth, I will utilize s (2002 ) counter sociological imagination (Mills, 1959) to unveil the sociopolitical complexities of P 20 schooling and beyond within the social sciences. First, Yoss o and Solrzano (2002 ) suggest counter storytelling : is also a tool for exposing, analyzing, and challenging the majoritarian stories of racial privilege. Counter stories can shatter complacency, challenge the dominant discourse on race, and further the struggle for racial reform experiences can help strengthen traditions of social, political, and cultural survival Counter storytelling as an African American social scientist not only provokes healing praxis (hooks,1994), but also places my racialized story at the forefront of this research. Counter storytelling allows me to translate my racial battle fatigue into transformational praxis. Matias (2013) speaks about th is process by sharing her counter narrative when Therefore, counter storytell ing allows me to process my stories and reveal how they relate to a larger sociopolitical context. Second, the sociological imagination will take us through reflective turns that social scientists take in order to reflect upon our praxis. Mills (1959) prop oses: There is first the shift of emphasis from the history of institutions and ideas to the prefer ence for studying social situations and problems which repeat themselves rather than t hose which only occur only once. And finally there is a greater emphasis on contemporary rather than on historical social events. (p p 61 62)

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13 Mills (1959) suggest the first shift is emphasizing the history of institutions and behavior. Thus, first, my research will 20 access within the social sciences. Second, Mills (1959) suggests the impor tance of looking at the intersectionality of sectors and human affairs. Thus, in order to effectively discuss the complexities for youth interested in the social will be discussed alongside suggestions of what may work to increase scholars who embody the critical conscious necessary to navigate this field. To acknowledge human affairs as it relates to different sectors, political theory is discussed in parallel with socia l self efficacy Third, Mills (1959) focuses on social issues that repeat themselves. Thus, the issue I have chosen that continues to persist within our state is the Colorado Paradox. In order to effectively discuss the persistence of the Colorado Paradox, analys e s will be provided to examine various reasons as to why the vulnerable students who have been debated over in lieu of t he Colorado Paradox are at the forefront of the approach to this research ; primarily students of lower socioeconomic status and of color. Lastly, Mills (1959) suggest social scientist highlight contemporary issues. I n order to make the research contemporar y rather than historical, I will share some reflections from students from the Social Sciences Institute I created as a starting point toward cultivating critical consciousness and access within the social sciences. The Social Sciences Institute reflection s are not data that will be shared to generalize about any student population. Instead, it will be shared as a suggested step forward toward critical praxis for P 20 access for youth interested in social sciences

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14 degrees and careers. Theory in practice is truly the core of what is known to be praxis. 20 schooling our students navigate daily amidst neoliberal policies. In order to effectively move forward in creating P 20 access and beyond in the social sciences we as Colorado citizens and community leaders must not approach students as cogs to fit within career fields that Colorado has deemed relevant for them. We must not discuss P 20 access ought to be cultivated by a positivist approach or a theoretical approach. To simply look at the labor market as a start ing point for discussing P 20 access within the social sciences would be a positivist approach -approach without acknowledging the labor market would be a stretch toward ineffective prax order to validate the existing labor market, but to also acknowledge and validate th e need for a critical theoretical approach toward P 20 access and beyond for our future social scientists. Given my story sociopolitical environment, I was led to approach my research with the followi ng question and claim: Question: Given the sociopolitical context of Colorado, what are some of the complexities surrounding P 20 schooling within the social sciences ? Claim: There is a gap in critical praxis for students primarily students of color, who aspire to pursue degrees and careers in the social sciences sociopolitical climate

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15 Defining Key Terms The following definitions are listed in alphabetical order and stem from my theoretical framing based in critical race theory and critical pedagogy: Career Self efficacy Lent, Brown, and Hackett (2000) suggest that self efficacy is influenced by factors such as race, gender, class, family background and learning self efficacy as well. attention in the career literature involves self efficacy appraisals. Self efficacy refers to judgments of their capabilities to o rganize and execute courses of action Career self efficacy plays a significant role in career choice development under the socia l cognitive career theory model. Lastly, Fouad and Arbona (1994, 1 995, 1996) have found that ethnic identity development forms the basis of stable career choices. This emphasizes the need to address race, class and gender within the framework of cultivating a social sciences educational pathway as students from margin alized identities experience educational and sociopolitical systems differently than their more privileged counterparts. This literature supports my analyses of the complexities of academic and career development for students interested in the social scien ces within the confines of what is offered in the Denver Metro area in the state of Colorado. Colorado Paradox One of the liabilities is the Colorado Paradox which indicates Colorado imports people who already have earned their college degrees. This is w hy 321). However, Col orado high school students are not earning Colorado degrees at a high

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16 rate and they are in need of remediation when they enter post secondary institut ions. Cronin and Loevy (2012) explain this p complete high school and go on to college, nearly 30 percent will need to take remedia l This is a sociopolitical issue students are confronted with when navigating social sciences degrees and careers. pr eneu This is a term I developed during my academic a grounded in the sociological imagination Mills (1959) speaks of and the conscientization that Freire (1970, 1973) discu acknowledges creation of knowledge toward the end of mitigating sociopolitical phenomena for purpose of racial equity and social justice. Given that Colorado is known ivate critical preneu have been marginalized attain representation that reflects their desires for social justice and racial equity. This is another term that I developed during the cultivation of my academic and professional career This term stems from the academic term praxis. Theory in action is the basis of praxis. I concur with Swartz (2006) who s tates: Scholars, as individuals, citizens, socialists, feminists, humanists, or whatever progressive labels people attach to their identities, provide the moral imperative and ethical sensitivity to take the resources available to them and apply them. This is the essence of praxis

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17 power (p. 14) endeavors for social justice Theoretical framing speaks of is not what is going to mitigate the Col orado Paradox nor provide our future social scientists the academic and career development they need to build their self efficacy sociological imagination of Mills (1959) and the conscientization of Freire (1970, 197 counter engage when they have experienced the consequences of racial micro aggressions and racial battle fatigue. Particularly in a Colorado sociopolitical climate, in which breeds towered departments to the public sphere; and a movement away from individualistic, esoteric research towards collective intellectualism for the purposes of racial equity and social justice. Intersectionality. Intersectionality in identities will be discussed in this thesis because no particular group of people are a monolith. I identify as a woman of color because being African American is salient to my identity. However, I also identify as a wife, mother, educ ious preneu labeled economically a youth who grew up in a lower middle class, two parent household. In order for me to be in the position I am today, I understand that there are parts of my identity that allow me to experi ence privilege that others may not experience.

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18 This is why addressing intersectionality is critical in discussing the academic and career intersectionality because wh en we discuss youth who may identify with people of color or lower socio academic and career development within the social sciences. Neoliberalism. For t he purposes of this thesis and a d eeper understanding of the Colorado Paradox, it is criti cal to understand neoliberalism and the manner in which neoliberal policy making and academic and career development continues to cultivate and perpetuate the Colorado Paradox. George (2007) discusses a definition of neoliberalism that is extremely relevant to the Colorado socio political landscape: Neoliberalism endorses public policies that treat racial matters on the basis of e conomic development strategies that broadly define social class issues instead of issues ass and it supports neighborhood schools, charter schools and vouchers while dismissing racial desegregation as an emphasis in public sc hools. (p p. 144 145) Discussion of policy and the sociopolitical landscape will demonstrate the neoliberal thi nking that has been present while creating academic and career development opportunities for students of Colorado. Social Cognitive Career The ory. Social Cognitive Career Theory (SCCT) is critical to this research because it discusses the development of career choices. More importantly it is derived from a constr uctivist approach. Lent, Brown and Hackett indicate attempts to take a cognitive constructivist environment, not merely respon It surmises that career choices are developed from expected caree r outcomes, career interests and career self

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19 efficacy The literature in this area suggests that it is extremely vital that students be given opportunities to build their career interests. Among the most reviewed and notable aspects of this theory is care er self efficacy I would suggest that students interested in the social sciences for a degree and/or career are not being developed through the current career pathways offered within the sociopolitical context of Colorado. This is a theory that is used wi thin the arena s of counseling psychology, academic, and workforce development. This theory has been the foundation for analyse s around what works to engage students in particular academic and career sectors. This model also delves into certain career tasks. This theory was developed by Lent, Hackett and Brown (2000) who suggest : G eneral social cognitive theory, SCCT focuses on several c ognitive person variables (e.g. self efficacy outcome expectations, and goals), and on how these variables interact with other aspects of the persona and hi s or her environment (e.g., gender, ethnicity, social supports, and barriers) to hel p shape the course of career development (p. 36) This theory has been effectively used for many case studies that focus on race, class and gender. Tang, Pan and Newmeye the SCCT model does appear to explain the interrelationships among learning experiences, career self efficacy, outcome expectations, career interests, and career choice, and therefore is useful in understanding high school students' career research, this theory helps to explore the gaps missing for students interested in social sciences degrees and careers. It also supports the analyses concerning the complexities of navigating social science degrees and/or careers while enduring racial micro aggressions and racial battle fatigue.

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20 Social Sciences. The social sciences contain a broad array of academic disciplines from anthropology to political science. However, the cluster of academic disciplines are not clearly defined. The National Bureau of Labor Statistics (NBLS) has some of the social sciences a cademic disciplines listed with the life sciences such as political science. I would concur with Mills (1959) who states that the isolated disciplines are not as 1973) conscientization development of this pathway. He discusses the sociological imagination which he that seems most dramatically to promise an understanding of the intimate realities of p. 14 15). For him, the goal of the social sciences is to help cultivate a critical world view for young citizens and produce scholarship that helps translate their personal troubles into public issues, and those public issues i nto a broader sociopolitical context Social S ciences educational pathway. The social sciences are foundational for the studying of human behavior and social phenomena. The social sciences educational pathway that I am advocating for would operate in parallel to other academic and career pathways that exist like in the areas of: Business, Fine Arts, Health Sciences, and Science, Technology, and Engineering (STEM). The aforementioned academic and career pathways allow students to earn college credit for taking courses relevant to these areas to provide them with a head start in their careers. Students who enroll in these they graduate from high school. Though this is not always the case, students are able to at

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21 minimum g raduate with some college credit with a focus in a degree and/or career area of interest. Given the conferring degrees that are discussed in Chapter Four, the data reflects was one of those students who earned a double major in Criminology and Political Science. I was interested in the relationship between policy and the justice system. A social sciences educational pathway would have allowed me to explore this intersectiona lity early in my high school career. However, the social sciences educational pathway that I am advocating for would not simply offer courses within the social sciences like es educational pathway would offer academic and career development that cultivates conscientization. Social Justice. For the purposes of this thesis, social justi ce will be defined through the lens of what Giroux (1988) calls a trans formational intellectual and what become part of a fundamental social project to help students develop a deep abiding faith in the struggle to overcome economic, pol itical and social injustices and to further preneu l sciences educational pathway with a sensibility to achieve this transformational intellectualism. For Swartz (2006), our goal as engaged scholars is not only to generate knowledge but also to have an impact on the democratic society in which we live in (p. 1). As transformational and engaged scholars, we must play a role in the fight for

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22 social justice and racial equity. This is what I would seek as a foundational part of a social sciences educ ational pathway.

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23 CHAPTER TWO THEORY AND TERMS Critical Social Science Before I even had the vocabulary and understanding of epistemology and theory, I did not feed my social justice appetite for transformational change. As I began to read about the v arious conceptualizations of theory, I immediately knew that I would position myself as a critical t heorist. Neuman (2011) speaks to how critical social science (CSS) goes beyond the surface illusions to uncover the real structures in the material world in order to help This knowledge of critical theory spoke to the empowerment I needed to approach social phenomena with solutions that penetrate the roots of issues rather than simply the surface illusions. The questioning of what is happening within structures and systems allows for conscientization of Freire (1970, 1973) and sociological imagination of Mills (1959) necessary to work towards transformational interest to me concerning issues such as the Colorado Paradox and other racialized social phenomena discussed in my social science classes and professio nal experiences. Though I have often been one of few African Americans in my social science pursuits academically and professionally, I was never content with the isolation that comes along

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24 with pursuing social science degrees and careers in Colorado. I wa nted to better understand what is necessary to bring other students and professionals of color along with me in my social science pursuits. In studying Criminology and Political Science in my undergraduate career, I hoped to better understand structures an d systems in place that correlate with the racialized consequences of social phenomena like voting behavior, mass incarceration, P stance is not sufficient to engage in the necessary struggle for racial equity within the social sciences. Though it is necessary to acknowledge what exist, it is also imperative to take my research and all pursuits for racial equity within the social sciences to inquiry that lies within the critical theoretical re alm. that needs to happen within a social sciences educational pathway. Simply having this pathway offered due to my research is not enough if the courses are taught from a posi tivist realist approach. As social scientists striving for racial equity, we must look at the educational and political systems and structures critically to discuss how they maintain and support invisible hierarchies as students and young professionals of color pursue social science degrees and careers. If the social sciences are taught from a positivist approach, dehumanization and further marginalization may occur within this what you see is what you get or show me type of stance. Things are as they appear, created out of a natural order of the world. Thus race [and] gender just are (p. 96). In reflecting upon the positivist epistemology lens, it led me to consider some potentia l consequences this lens

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25 20 schooling experiences. Possible complications of a positivistic approach to education are as follows : 1. T he educator could simply state what is visible to the eye in data rather than delve into why the sociopolitical phenomena has been socially constructed ; 2. S tudents may not be taught to think critically as to how social phenomena came to be; 3. S tudents may leave the classroom with increased feelings of marginalization because of the view tha t there is something essential or natural about their community that led to the sociopolitical phenomena; and 4. S tudents may not be cultivated to engage in critical dialogue as to what can be done to mitigate or change social phenomena. As an African Amer ican social scientist, I am reminded of my experiences and feelings of marginalization within my P 20 experiences. Learning about slavery and simply a few African American leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, and Harriet Tubman did not allow me the freedom and healing I needed from my marginalized experiences. Throughout my academic and professional career, I have been exposed to countless racial micro Solrzano, Ceja & Yosso, 2001, p. 60) Particularly, in my Political Science and Criminology classrooms in my undergraduate career, at the University of Denver, a predominantly white institution, these racial micro aggressions intensified because of the social phenomena being discussed within these social science majors. It was not until my who treated me with resp ect and did not treat me nor my African Americans peers as stereotypes. It was not until I was in my college classrooms that I was exposed to many white students who did not come from diverse communities nor schools. Because of their lack of exposure to di versity of people and experiences, they spoke from a positivist lens

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26 theoretical lens. Thus, ma ny conversations in my social science college classrooms led pain of subtle forms of racism. This stemmed from being one of the few African American social scientists to expose students to critical theoretical truths that lead to African American social scientist who has incurred the compounding lashings of racial micro aggressions and r we accept our responsibility in the face of betrayal and maintain the respect that was a 77). This is a question that I believ e preneu commit to transformational praxis. Particularly, when we undergo experiences such as these: I have been actively engaged in the political sphere since I was 17 years old. I Don Mares who was running for Mayor of Denver at the time against John Hickenlooper. I then had the opportunity to provide political analysis of the 2004 election wit h one of my former professors, Dr. Seth Masket, who is now the chair of Political Science at the University of Denver. Thereafter, I went on to attain a political internship for Ken Salazar who was running for United States Senate. Because of my commitment and energy provided toward the grassroots campaign, when he was elected as United States Senator for Colorado, I was offered a position in his state office. Throughout all of

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27 these experiences, I noticed that I was either the only African American or one of few present in these political spaces. This was also the case in my college classrooms as well. The analyses and discussions concerning why I felt isolated as an African American in political spaces was problematic in my classes. My isolation within the se political spaces was not just discussed concerning our political participation, but also sociopolitical phenomena that many African Americans endure throughout our lives. In my college classrooms, many of my white peers stated the plight of African Amer icans was due to our lack of political participation. In fact, as students, we would discuss data that showed African Americans were not voting as much and were also experiencing social phenomena from high incarceration rates to dropping out of school. Man y of my white peers suggested we, as African Americans, would not experience certain social ills like racial profiling, low quality schools, and even higher rates of incarceration if we would simply participate in the political processes. They suggested th at we are responsible for our lack of political participation. Many also suggested that our lack of political participation reflected a lack of care for our community and social status. In reflecting back on these experiences, I always wondered why I had to be the only African American so passionate about policy. But, more importantly, I wondered African American most of the time in these political spaces, I had to consider the rhetoric of my white peers. I pondered, was there some intrinsic aspect of African Americans that cultivated apathy within our communities? Are we so predictable in our voting beha viors that we can be considered a monolithic group? Did my African American peers not care about our communities or about engaging in the political process or did we just not have

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28 conduits to engage us politically on our terms? Given my rejection of the po sitivist truths create an organization entitled Young Aspiring Americans for Social and Political Activism (YAASPA) that would be a conduit for young African America ns and youth of Education Forum about education funding excited, concerned and nervous about how my brown high school students would be treated for their interest in our brok en education system. They practiced their presentations, researched and gleaned information from the community to enhance their understanding of education funding. We invited legislators that represented them in their respective districts and they presente d survey data they attained from interviews with their peers. After presenting the information to the legislators, one of the white legislators thanked them yet decided to question them about the voting behaviors of their parents. Rather than engage them a nd honor them for their concern for our communities, she questioned their knowledge of laws pertaining to education funding. She acted as though their efforts to civically engage were nave and spoke down to them as if they should not have attempted to eng age at all. When questions were asked of her, she would repeatedly place the responsibility upon them as though she were not elected by them and their families. She told them to talk to their parents and ask them why more African Americans do not participa te in policy. As their African American leader and mentor who encouraged them to follow their desires regarding political inquiry, I felt guilty and saddened about the callousness that may build within their souls because of the manner in which their elect ed leader engaged them. I

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29 wondered did I plant a seed of apathy within them or would this type of behavior ignite them to follow our political leaders closely and hold them accountable? Toward Critical Race Theory (CRT) From teaching and mentoring within t he work of my organization, I found that many youth of color do care about social phenomena and they want to participate in various political processes with support and guidance. What I have also learned from my students and witnessed is that their intelle ct and care for our communities has been incessantly. Thus, when many youth try to engage our political leaders, too often the and questions because of technicalities they do not understand within the system. Yet, as a former community organizer and one who has participated in lobbying activities, the leaders often do not understand the political processes themselves. As a profe ssional of color, I have experienced and witnessed the questioning of the integrity and intellect of political advocates of color. I have been in many political spaces in which people believe that simply espousing a host of positivist political analyses en titles them to the merit of certain levels of political participation. Many working within the intricate spaces of policy from organizing for people of color from their de mise rather than work alongside them. Given what I call the invisible hierarchy of meritocracy within the political realm, many people who are capable of espousing positivist data devalue the lived experiences of people of color who have encountered the c onsequences of positivist rhetoric and dispositions. Thus, we see not only in the political realm, but across many social science sectors diversity initiatives

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30 that are purposed to increase the diversity of not only the staff within the organization, but t he clientele of the organization. Unfortunately, the hierarchy of meritocracy is unveiled when the people of color engaged within and outside of the organization begin to experience the imposed ceiling of meritocracy. Often times people of color learn abou t the limitations placed upon them when they attempt to escape the invisible hierarchy of meritocracy when they are denied promotions, leadership opportunities and flexibility to elevate people of color within these political spaces due to the supposed la ck of education, political participation on their resumes, ability to articulate political rhetoric that feeds privileged mindsets etc. Given the positivist data from the Colorado Paradox that reflects many young professionals being brought from other stat es to Colorado within the social science sectors, many young professionals of color undergo imposed racial micro political spaces and to climb the invisible hierarchy of meritocracy. As an African American social scientist, I have experienced all of the aforementioned racial micro aggressions and was led back to grad school in hopes of being able to penetrate the invisible ceiling of meritocracy. Given the compounding racial micro agg ressions and racial battle fatigue we encounter within our P 20 experiences and beyond as students and professionals of color, I began to understand why many youth and young professionals of color opt out of careers in which directly engage social phenomen a. I understand that my story is the story of countless numbers of youth and phenomena, yet encounter the brigade of racial micro aggressions and racial battle fatigue. I am a committed African American social scientist who desires to cultivate the

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31 preneu cannot continue to allow young professionals of color to encounter the racial micro aggressions a nd racial battle fatigue without any sort of educative experiences to support their journey from callousness to healing praxis. Smith (2004) argues: It is far more essential and therapeutic for Blacks to develop adaptive coping strategies to resist or redu ce the intensity of racial battle fatigue than it is for them research suggest that racial socialization represents a significant asset for promoting healthy functioning for Af rican Americans in a racist society. (p. 182) Thus, it is imperative that a social sciences educational pathway be created as a part of our P 20 experiences that engages race alongside a critical theoretical approach to ot only social phenomena, but of our P 20 experiences and beyond. Hence, the opportunity gap approach that critical race theorist Ladson Billings (2006) speaks of is most appropriate in addressing the Colorado Paradox rather than the achievement gap approa ch. The achievement gap as it relates to the like other students rather than looking at the lack of academic and career development opportunities they are provided that va lidate the intersectionality within their identities. The achievement gap approach would also suggest that as young professionals of color questioned. Simply looking at the Colorado Paradox as it relates to the achievement gap hierarchy of race. Without acknowledging the racialized experiences that occur within our P 20 experiences from a critical theoretical perspective, students of color will continue to be disengaged from the social sciences. Also, young professionals of color

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32 will continue to burn out within social science professions from racial battle fatigue and racial micro aggres sions if they are not allowed to access the healing praxis (hooks, 1994) that stems from a critical theoretical perspective. This is why my research will utilize critical race theory which is derived from critical legal studies. As suggested by Solrzano, Ceja and Yosso (2001), the systems and structures in place that maintain and create the invisible hierarchy of meritocracy and racialized consequences must be acknowledged and questioned in order to cultivate solutions and healing from these experiences. Given the interdisciplinary nature of my research question and claim, critical race theory allows me to explore in a manner that acknowledges the racialized inequities that exist as it relates to P 20 access and beyond with the social science sector. Solr zano, Ceja and Yosso (2001) argue there are five components of critical race theory which are as follows: The basic CRT model consists of five elements focusing on: (a) the centrality of race and racism and their intersectionality with other forms of subordination, (b) the challenge to dominant ideology, (c) the commitment to social justice, (d) the centrality of experiential knowledge, and (e) the transdisciplinary perspective .3 Th e critical race theory framework for educat ion is different from other CRT frameworks because it simultaneously attempts to foregrou nd race and racism in the research as well as challenge the traditional paradigm s, methods, texts, and separate discourse on race, gender, and class by showing how these social constructs inters ect to impact on communities of color. Further, it focuses on the racialized, gendered, and classed experiences of communities of color and offers a liberatory and transformative method for examining racial/ethnic, gender, and class discrimination (p. 63) Given the elements within the CRT model, I am able to acknowledge dominant ideology at play within the political realm that leads to racialized and classed experiences concerning access to social science degrees and careers. The elements within the CRT m odel also allows me to be transparent about the intersectionality of race and class.

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33 Simply stated, rather that providing analysis that places one over the other, I am able to ce and class. Also, as an African American social scientist committed to transformational praxis, I am able to pull in my counter narrative and experiential knowledge as a basis for my research and analyses. Alongside my analyses, I am also able to demonst rate my commitment to social justice and racial equity for students navigating their social science academic and career pursuits as well. Critical race theory also allows me to be transparent and upfront about the intent of my research to cul tivate and cr eate what Dewey (1938/1997) calls educative experiences for students of color I plan to show how critical race theory in practice can be applied and taught in a manner that not only decreases marginalization, but also creates the conscientization and crit ical solidarity needed to empower students to be on the front end of change and social justice in action (Freire, 1993). Critical Pedagogy In order to better understand the claim and questions of this thesis, it is critical to know my stance to ward education and some of the arguments against my disposition. Diversification of education is n ecessary for critical pedagogy and for students to be personally invested in their education (Gray, 2000) By diversification, I mean a llowing students to have so me sort of power in the knowledge they attain and engage with is impor tant in conscientization Many education scholars like John Dewey, Paulo Freire, and Henry Giroux believe the purpose of scholarship and education is to cu ltivate the innate ability and tenacity in students to transform the world as we know it. Drawing from John Dewey, Paulo Freire, and Henry Giroux, I would

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34 define critical pedagogy as educative experiences that allow for educators and students to critically and actively engage sociopolitical phenomena. With critical pedagogy present, there is an acknowledgement that the students and the educators are both well equipped to critically engage in better understanding how to participate in transformational praxis Giroux (1988) argues: Such a pedagogy makes problematic how teachers and students sustain, resist, or accommodate those languages, ideologies, social processes, and myths that position them within existing relations of power and dependency. Moreover, it points to the need to develop a theory of culture and politics that analyzes power as an active process one that is produced as part of a continually shifting balance of resources and practices in the struggle for privileging specific ways of naming, organ izing, and experiencing social reality (p. 101). Within this definition of critical pedagogy, power is acknowledged as fluid meaning it is socially constructed. Thus since power is socially constructed, educators and students can both participate in the power necessary for empowerment toward social justice. Thus, it is critical that pedagogy as Fr ei re (1990) must be forged with, not for, the oppressed instrument for their critical discovery that both they and their oppressors are manif 33). This is to say that the oppress ive pedagogy continuously maintains and cultivates a culture of oppression within education. Some students will have the opportunity to ben efit depending on their identities while others will not reap the benefits of the pedagogy because of their identities Swartz (2004) speaks to the formal equality versus substantive equality as an example to demonstrate the narratives of those with marginalized identities. He emphasizes how

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35 backgrou nds lim it their ability to comp 187). This culturally and historically relevant context is w hat is needed for students to understand no t only their position in the Colorado Paradox, but that of students with marginalized identities as well. The ability for students like myself and others from marginalized communities to be able to voice our narrative and have it legitimized and validated through scholarship leads to a feeling of empowerment of which catalyzes an opt imist approach t o issues such as the Colorado Paradox. Students in marginalized positions need critical pedagogy contextualized with a critical race theoretical approach be cause they could end up utilizing a pedagogy of privilege from a lack of The and critical race theory acknowledges the intersectionality of race and class. Allen (2004) argues: Can a discourse that pays so little attention to race be anti racist? Historically speaking, critical pedagogy has constructed an illuminating political discussion around concepts like hegemony, domination, empowerment, and white supre macy. However, critical pedagogy itself has not taken the next step and applied these terms to a significant race radical project. (p. 122) This contextualization of critical race theory and critical pedagogy is necessary for the sociopolitical developmen t of future social scientists with marginalization and privilege within their identities. The contextualization of critical race theory and critical pedagogy conscientization concerning the intersectionality and social construction of race and class privilege. Students who have sciences educational pathway. Those in a position of privilege can also teach and benefit

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36 from l ea rning in courses like these because sometimes it is not until you feel the pain of Matias (2013) speaks to this in her research about teaching white teacher candidates how to teach students of color. I r ealized that my pain counts as a whole human experience, one that my White teacher candidates must hear to re examine their defaulted need to superiorize their pain, a process learned by the unquestioned recycling o al identities, but those who are the beneficiaries of pedagogy of privilege as well. Because oppression is innately tied to both the oppressed and the oppressor, there must be understanding, examination, and critique on both sides. Freire (1970/2014) speaks of the need to examine those who experience oppression regardless of their position of privilege nor by the associated with counter narratives allows for the healing necessa ry for us as social That is to say, I am not simp ly interested in critical pedagogy arguments and rhe toric, but rather the potential implications of critical race theory in practice. However, though critical pedagogy champions our youth to be empowered, it is acknowledged and validated as well. This is where I would agree with Allen (2004) when racialize those root

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37 elements that have unfortunately given support to the often blas or color blind racial at conscientization Freire (1970, 1973) speaks of through the lens of race, class and gender. Freire (1970/2014) speaks of conscientization e of class, and gender and the sociopolitical phenomena associated with these identi ties. Rat her than students simply hearing the narratives a few people they identify with in the curriculum they need to hear the stories of those around them as well. Along with these narratives is the ne ed for critical pedagogy. A foundation of critical p edagogy is humanization. Hence, the narratives become the voice for which class and liberalism need humanization and validation. In my Master of Social Science graduate career, I took Law and Diversity in U.S. History This course allowed for the counter narratives of history to be elevated and engaged as an alternative to the dominant, normative discourse of history. This course provided the perspectives of people of color from history that challenged the pre existing s ociopolitical structures. Because the course humanized the narratives of people of color, it humanized my experiences. This should be a basic course embedded in our educational systems as it will develop interdisciplinary thinkers, and allow for the narrat ives of those count er to the dominant narrative to create the critical solidarity need ed to implement critical pedagogy into effective practice. Hidden Curriculum

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38 Before discussing the merit of having a social sciences educational pathway, it is important to understand the arguments of those opposed to exposing students to courses that provide a critical theoretical framework. This will be laid out through exploring what Giroux (1983) calls the hidden curriculum. The hidden curriculum is the experiences and sociopolitical systems and structures that are experienced by students and educators. developing a new attentiveness to the linkages between schools and the social, economic, and p olitical landscape that make up the wider society (p. 45). Giroux uses three approaches as it relates to the hidden curriculum traditional, liberal and radical. The traditional approach embrac es uniformity as a means toward consensus and imposed societal norms in a curriculum. As a critical theorist, I would advocate that this does not allow for students to challenge the overarching paradigms presented within the curriculum as it relates to the society in which they live in and experience. The opposing argument is that students ought to be taught what is valued and appropriate within society. This logic continues to argue that in providing the norms and values f or the students, ideological differences hidden curriculum is both acknowledged and accepted as a positive function of the normative ap proach is discussed in class Law and Diversity in U.S. History as it relates to education as well. In this course, we explored cases and policies that were created from a neoliberal lens which de racialized the potential consequences f or students of color. I n the Mendez v. Westminster cas e neoliberal rhetoric was used when the California Supreme Court noted, commingling of the entire student body instills and develops a common cultural attitude

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39 among the school children which is imper ative for the perpetuation of American 2). The neoliberal disposition decreases the significance and relevance of race. The Mendez v. Westminster case is an example of the racialized consequences that occur from neoliberal poli cy making. Leonardo (1968) speaks of this universities into which they feed, become casu alties of neoliberal policies that emphasize Mendez v. Westminster case. However, a traditional approach to analyzing this case supposed benefits of neoliberal policy making. This perspective believes that in order for marginalized communities to assimilate we must diminish discussions of not only diversity, but the validation of diverse perspectives. This becomes extremely problematic when what is shown to be valued is what Freire (1970) calls a pedagogy of the oppressed a pedagogy that primarily reflect s the interests and experiences of a certain group of people. To continue to use a traditional approach to the hidden curriculum in an ethnically diverse classroom leads students to learn unconsciously who and what is valued without a critical lens of dial ogue and engagement within the classroom. Social Darwinism would argue that this is a natural consequence because of the belief that everyone begins o n the same, level playing field: Sumner [an early sociologist] took such a stance without equivocation be cause he believed all individuals begin the socioeconomic race on equal footing. Even if the competition is unequal or certain individuals are given an edge, it was his contention that the element of chance, along with motivation and natural ability

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40 were t s fate. (Rutledge, pp. 244 245) This type of de racialized rhetoric allows for the beginning experiences of racial micro aggressions for students of color. It is problematic when scholars purport a rhetoric that does not acknowledge the nuances and distance between oppression and empowerment. Simply put, if the education system is set up to benefit those with privilege neoliberal policy making encapsulates and cultivates Social Darwinism. Specifical ly, speaking we must acknowledge the invisible hierarchy of meritocracy that is perpetuated by this traditional approach to the hidden curriculum. The liberal perspective to the hidden curriculum is concerned abo ut the lack of acknowledgment of its existence. As Giroux (1983) explains, rejects most top to bottom models of pedagogy, with their conservative view of knowledge as something to be learned rather than critically engaged, as well as their equally uncritical notion o f socialization, in which students are viewed simply as passive role bearers and r p. 50). Though the liberal perspective takes the analysis of the hidden curriculum a step further in the right direction, it still is not enough. Thi s perspective simply acknowledges the existence of the hidden curriculum and how it affects the experiences of the dialectic between the educator and the student. However, this per spective does not take it further by trying to engage critically with this p ersistent normative approach and dissemination of the imposed knowledge. The liberal line of thinking is to rather cope with how to work around this dynamic instead of directly engaging it. his is problemati c because it only su marginalized stories. An example of this is to simply acknowledge and state that African Americans are at the bottom of the

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41 Another e a student simply acknowledged that there are a lot of African Americans in the p rison system and thus a need for metal detectors in predominantly African American schools. of African Americans are in prison. However, his analysis and even solution t o the issue conscientization enough for authentic humanization to occur for students of color. The liberal approach to the hidden curriculum is in alignment with the conservative view that kn owledge is to be placed into i.e. of education. This liberal standpoint inhibits students and educators from engaging sociopolitical phenomena further to unveil the This is also problematic because if an educator simply acknowledges achievement gap data for example, but als o believes that the students are empty vessels incapable of contributing to their own learning a savior approach is inevitable. A savior 2013, p. 1). This is problematic because this does not empower students to act based upon what they learn. The students would be treated as though the sociopolitical issues they face must be addressed on their behalf rather than empowered to act for social justice themselves. This savior approach can lead to further oppression of students if educators

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42 take on a savior mentality rather than a stance of empowerment. Freire (1970/2014) speaks of this by stating: Political action on the side of the oppressed must be pedagogical action in the authentic sense of the word, and therefore action with the oppressed. Those who work for liberation must not take advantage of the emotional dependence of the oppressor tactic. (p. 66) This savior type of mentality represses students from being able to realize their full potential toward transformational praxis. It cripples them from their belief in themselves to achieve and realize their role in the pursuit for social justice. To see students as empty vessels is what Freire (1970) discusses as the banking model of education. That is to say that rather than the teacher teaching a student how to become more invested in his/her to learn Those who benefit from th ese approaches to curriculum are those in a position of privilege. This makes a social sciences educational pathway all the more important because those in a position of privilege will never have to acknowledge their pri vilege with the traditional and liberal approach to education. In order to discontinue de racialized rhetoric toward those who are marginalized i t is important for all of us who have some form of privilege within our intersectional identities to acknowled ge it. Those who have marginalized identities also need a social sciences educational pathway to have their narratives humanized and acknowledged as not only valid, but culturally relevant. Radical View of the Hidden Curriculum The traditional and liberal approaches do not lead to the achievement or breadth of knowledge that I would envision as a social justice scholar. The radical view of the hidden curriculum is what I would argue and advocate for within our educational setting s.

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43 The radical view allows for and applauds the co nflicting ideals and norms that come of the engagement of the hidden curriculum. Specifically, traditional emphasis on consensus is replaced by a radical focus on conflict, and the liberal concern with the way teachers and students create meanings is replaced by a focus on social structures and the construction of meaning (Giroux, p. 56). It is this viewpoint that necessarily extends the dialogue, edification and tangible appl icability of critical pedagogy in the classroom. This vantage point allo ws for a transformational dynamic in the teacher student relationship in that the teacher and student embody and enhance the curriculum through the exploration and exposure of the hidd en curriculum. The radical approach to the hidden curriculum supports the possibility of transformational intellectualism that Giroux (1998) speaks of as pertinent to cultivating our youth. I envision that students would learn how their actions can engage and transform our political and social structures. Understanding and learning how to communicate about sociopolitical issues is critical for students to be interdisciplinary thinkers successful in life, and actively participate within our communities An example of how a radical curriculum can expose and delve into the nuances of diversity i s Swartz (2005) who condemnation of the law should not be taken as advocating illegal activity, rather, the condemnation of the law acknowledges that o beying the law and to have a discussion in a social sciences educational pathway as to why people and diverse groups have varying reactions to law. I would interject this is how students can learn to empathize with others as well regardless of their identities. The importance of communication as a means to learn empathy and develop onesel f and community is

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44 emphasized by Swartz (2006) when he states, cess, we This is conscientization of our youth. This development will allow for all of our youth to learn to communicate e ffectively toward the purpose of mitigating issues such as the Colorado Paradox. This communication will empower our youth with marginalized identities as well to share their counter stories. This is where the equity in praxis lies. It lies within the cult counter narratives that have been repressed and stripped from the curriculum. Pedagogy of Empowerment A social sciences educational pathway would provide courses that do not simply teach about diversity, but also support and advoca te for the need to have diverse voices as a part of our social and political infrastructures. That is to say these classes would provide the critical pedagogy necessary to humanize marginalized voices to empower them to act and be i nspired to create trans formational change The contextualization of critical race theory alongside critical pedagogy speaks to not only the need for these courses, but also leads t o my discussion of who stands to benefit from these courses. As to see theory not as just subject matter to discuss, but implemented into socially justice practices Should this praxis occur, everyone stands to benefit from a social sciences educational pathway We all have role to play in the creation of a socially just society. Thus, we as a society, all should p articipate in such an educational pathway regardless of our identities or position i n the web of power that Foucault speaks of because critical solidarity is necessary for the cultivation of a socially just society.

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45 For our most vulnerable students, a social sciences educational pathway can lead to humanization and clarity as it relates to theory i n practice necessary to validate our struggles. As an African American so cial scientist, I could have experienced healing praxis earlier in my social science academic and career pursuits, if I had been exposed to the racialized truths of other scholars of color who had endured the racial micro aggressions and racial battle fati racialized social phenomena such as the Colorado Paradox and the barriers in navigating social science degrees and care ers need s to happen within a social science educational pathway. If students experience micro aggressions and their narratives our repressed, it can build up the callousness that Matias (2013) speaks of in her scholarly writings. I am an example of one who has experienced the spectrum of callousness (Matias, 2013) to inadvertently repressed the painful counterstories needed to offset the dominant college classrooms, I began to withhold my narrative from those who needed to hear them most; my children and students of color. Students need to have a venue in which validates and humanizes th eir existence and identities. This will allow for an achieved is what is need ed for a social sciences educational pathway to be developed in an effective manner. With that said, courses in a social sciences educational pathway can be taught by those who come from m arginalized communities or allies of

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46 these communities who also believe in the contextualization of critical race theory intertwined w ith critical pedagogy An underlining purpose of a social scienc es educational pathway is about forging and cultivating alliances that may not have otherwise happened outside of the classroom. Through the diss emination of critical pedagogy contextualize d with a critical race theoretical approach, humanization has the potential to occur Nieto and Bode (2008) d difficult issues need to be truths validated regardless of the intersectionality within their identities. This is critical for intergroup dialogue among students of the same gender, race and/or class, but also for intragroup dialogue as well. Just as Lorde (1983) argues that o ppressions there is no hierarchy of humanization either. Conclusion preneu conscientization is a process. It is a process in which requires emotional and intentional investment of time and praxis. Thus, it is a process in which we should afford our youth through a social sciences conscientization liberating dialogue, wh ich presupposes action, must be carried on with the oppressed at youth should be exposed to the contextualization of critical race theory and critical

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47 pedagogy withi n their academic experiences before they enter post secondary institutions. As mentioned in Chapter One, I experienced the cultivation of a neoliberal mindset within my schooling experiences before college and thus was emotionally and mentally shocked when I entered a predominantly white institution. Had I been exposed to a social sciences educational pathway that was contextualized with critical race theory and critical pedagogy, I would have been further along in my academic and career pursuits toward tra nsformational praxis. My hooks (1994) healing praxis would have been unveiled earlier on in my social science academic and career endeavors, if I had been provided educative opportunities to cultiv Thus, in reflecting upon my theories of healing and transformation critical race theory and critical pedagogy.

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48 CHAPTER III METHODOLOGY AND METHODS Introduction This chapter will discuss the methodology and the method s that frame my research. It will serve as the design of how I approach the topic of sociopolitical complexities youth and professionals of color encounter while navigating the social sciences. Methodologically, I employ a critical theoretical approach to interpret how youth and professionals of color navigate their P 20 experiences within the social sciences. I also utilize this approach to provide critical analys is of my story to provide insight into some of the racialized sociopolitical complexities I have experienced within the social sciences sector. By putting my story at the forefront of my research, I am able to reflect and redirect my pain from racial micro aggressions and racial battle fatigue toward healing praxis that allows me to unveil my racialized experiences within a larger sociopolitical storytelling as a method throughout each chapter of this research. Due to my passion and specific interest in the social sciences, I will apply the lens of Mills (1959) sociological imagination for the sociopolitical analysis. Methodology The critical theoretical app roach of my research informs the methodology and methods I will use to further deconstruct my interest in the sociopolitical complexities youth and professionals face when navigating social science degrees and careers. Before

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49 delving into the methodology, the definition of methodology must be revealed. Matias 53). The mapping of my research includes an approach which allows me to critically interpret the sociopolitical complexities we face as students and professionals of color within the social science sector. Before further exploring research from a traditional approach ( regression analysis, interviews and subjects from the community ) I needed to allow myself time to simply reflect upon another unit of analysis first me. By placing myself at the forefront of my research, I am able to unpack the many complexities of my own experiences in navigating social science degrees and careers. As stated in Chapter Two, my story is not just my story, so exploring the nuances of my experiences through counter storytelling allows me to place my narrative in a wider sociopolitical framework. Simply stated, this allows me to discuss my story as it relates to not just me, but also the youth and professionals I engage with on a daily basis. Critical Race Methodology Critical race theory provides me with a theoretical framework that helps me re conceptualize my racialized experiences. Thus, it is necessary for me to utilize a methodology that is inclusive of and representative of racialized experiences. In light of this, I will use critical race methodology as my ideological foundation for my research inquiry Critical race methodology entails a focus and recognition of race, racism, an d the Freirian (1970, 1973) conscientization necessary to deconstruct our racialized experiences. Solrzano and Yosso (2002) explain critical race methodology as the following: a theoretically grounded approach to research that (a) foregrounds race and racism in all aspects of the research process. However, it also challenges the

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50 separate discourse on race, gender, and class by showing how these three elements intersect to affect the experiences of students of color, (b) challenges the traditional research paradigms, texts, and theories used to explain the experiences of students of color; (c) offers a liberatory or transformative solution to racial, gender, and class subordination ; and (d) focuses on the racialized, gendered, and classed based experiences of students of color. Furthermore, it views these experiences as sources of strength and (e) uses the interdisciplinary knowledge y, history, humanities, and the law to better understand the experiences of students of color. (p. 24) ial sciences degrees and careers. First, critical race methodology acknowledges race within the intersectionality of our racialized, gendered, and classed experiences. As an African American, female ity within my identity and how it impacts the conscientization of the way I navigate my academic and professional experiences within the social sciences. Second, critical race methodology embraces texts that challenge normative discourse. Thus, I utilize m any texts and th eories that not only validates my st ory, but also places my story within a larger sociopolitical framework. Applying texts that support a critical disposition to education provides insight to the experiences of youth and professionals of co lor within the social science sector. Third, critical race methodology employs a liberatory and transformative approach to the pain acknowledge the pain I experienced while na vigating social science degrees and careers unveil how the intersectionality within my identit y informs my conscientization. Fourth, critical race methodology envisions texts and stories as a source of strength. Thus, the reflections of the pain associated with my social science academic and professional

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51 experiences are meant to be a source of healing praxis for the scholars of color that will follow in my footsteps. I wi ll share ways in which I have cultivated solutions to alleviate the pain that comes along with my story of navigating my social science academic and professional career. Lastly, critical race methodology engenders a transdisciplinary approach that draws fr om multiple knowledge bases from education to policy. In order to interdisciplinary approach that stems from education, sociology, and political science. Methods By using critical race methodology as my ideological map I am able to confront the experiences I endured as a student and professional of color while navigating degrees and careers in the social sciences. This methodology informs the types of methods I wi ll use in order to focus and refine my research. Methods are ways in which the ideology behind the research is the ideological frameworks, or the strategies that researchers use when coll ecting storytelling in order to reflect some of the sociopolitical complexities occurring within the field of the social sciences through sociological imagination in order to provide a transdisciplinary social science lens to further develop the analyses of the sociopolitical complexities youth and professionals face while navigating the social sciences.

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52 Counter storytelling Given the need to reflect upon my multifaceted e xperiences as a student and professional of color I have centered myself as the unit of analysis. As the unit of analysis, I have framed my research in each chapter with counter storytelling. Thus, the type of counter storytelling I employ for my research is based upon my personal autobiographical narra tive. Solrzano and Yosso (2002) discuss counter storytelling as, larger sociopoli Counter storytelling is one of the methods that will professionals of color may fa ce in navigating social science degrees and careers. Count er storytelling allows for t he healing praxis necessary for myself and ot her critical in our so cial justice efforts Solrzano and Yosso (2002) argue: when the ideology of racism is examined and r acist injuries are named, victims of racism can find their voice. Furthermore, those injured by racism and other forms of oppression discover they are not alone in their marginality. They become empowered participants, hearing their own stories and the sto ries of others, listening to how the arguments against them are framed, and learning to make the arguments to defend themselves. (p. 27) Sharing and revisiting my story allows me to deepen the empowerment and social ly just efforts I partake in for the nex preneu my story in order to revisit the manner in which I can re ized experiences that come along with it, I am better able to s erve and create innovative praxe s. This also models for young scholars of color a way in

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53 wh ich they can access healing praxis I must share the vulnerability, authen ticity, honesty, and pain associated with my story to model how young scholars of color can effectively navigate degrees and career s within the social sciences while attempting to penetrate what I call the invisible racialized hierarchy of meritocracy. By allowing myself to be the unit of analysis, I model how young scholars of color can go from callousness (Matias, 2013) to healing praxis (hooks, 1994). Sociological Imagination Because my methodological application of critical race methodology is transdisciplinary, it allows me to draw from a range of disciplines within social science. Thus, it is befitting to recognize a scholar such as C. Wright Mills who has been referenced regarding not only sociology, but also the manner in which social sciences disciplines int erplay with one another. discussed in Chapter One that reflects the manner in which social scientist should approach sociopolitical phenomena These four turns inform sociological imagination is the second method and/or strategy I will use in order to map out some of the private troubles that need to surface as public issues as students and professionals of color navigate social science degrees and careers (Mills, 1959). This is th e lens I will utilize to define the social sciences and to write this research. Mills (1959) writes: There is first the shift of emphasis from the history of institutions and ideas to th e concrete behavior of peoples. There is secondly. a tenden cy not to study one sector of human affairs alone bu t to relate it to other sectors. There is third a preference for studying social situations and problems which repeat themselves rather than those which only occur only once. And finally there is a g reater emphasis on contemporary rather than on historical social events. (pp. 61 62)

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54 These four shifts will allow me to further interrogate my research interests concerning the sociopolitical complexities youth face when navigating social science degrees and careers. First, the sociological imagination suggest a shift from focusing on history of institutions to concrete behaviors of people. Thus, in order to unveil the sociopolitical complexities associated with navigating social science degrees and career s, the con crete behaviors of people exemplified through racial micro aggressions and neoliberal policies will be examined. Second, the sociological imagination suggests studying human affairs as related to multiple sectors rather than related to one sector Thus, the racial micro aggressions and racial battle fatigue in my story alongside neoliberal policies will be discussed through m ultiple platforms of analyses. My story and the manner in which I navigate my social science academic and professional caree r will be discussed through the lens of critical race methodology, critical education discourse, and policy analyses. and career development amidst racial micro aggress ions and neoliberal policies. Third, the sociological imagination suggest social scientists study social issues that repeat themselves rath er than those that occur once. Thus, I have chosen to examine the racial battle fatigue that stems from incessant las hings of racial micro aggressions within my social scien ce academic and career journey. I have also decided to examine neoliberal policies that exacerbate the sociopolitical climate in which scholars of color are immersed in as they navigate their social s cience degrees and careers. There will be a critical interpretation provided in my research to discuss how neoliberal policies may exacerbate issues that persist, such as the Colorado Paradox. Lastly, the sociological imagination suggest social scientists focus on contemporary events rather than historical events.

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55 Hence, there will be analyses concerning a contemporary event that I created, entitled the Social Science s Institute, in order to take a step toward mitigating the sociopolitical complexities stud ents face while navigating social science degrees and careers. The Social Science s Institute was not created through traditional research methods. Thus, this event will not be discussed as generalizable to the general population. That is, I in no way propo se to generalize the effectiveness of the Social Science s Institute. Rather, I present it and all the student feedback as a contemporary example of what can be done and what effect it had. However, it will be discussed as an event that may be a basis for t he creation and cultivation of a potential social sciences educational pathway. This is a condensed example of how a social sciences educational pathway could be of benefit to youth who choose to pursue social science degrees and careers. T his type of soci ological imagination will cultivate the ability for students to understand their private troubles through a nalyse s that draws from multiple social science disciplines. Mills (1959) proposes the idea that in order for social scientists to work consciously, we must find ourselves intellectually and amidst the sociohistorical (p. 179). I would also add, the sociopolitic a l structure of our times because of policies that allow issues like the Colorado Paradox to pers ist The Social Science s Institute allowed students to discuss, debate, and interrogate sociopolitical issues like the Colorado Paradox. The table below reflec sociological imagination and how I will appl y it as a lens for my research:

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56 Table 1: Mi Sociological Imagination Applied to the Sociopolitical Analysis of Navigating Social Sciences Degrees and Careers As an African American, female social scientist, I would argue that Table One reflects the ability of the sociological imagination to cultivate a new, innovate way in which preneurs The sociological imagination is a strategy in which allows us as soc ial scientists to exude innovative praxes. The sociological imagination platform stems from a transdisciplinary approach and provides a critical inte rpretive means to draw parallels in sociopolitical phenomena that continues to occur within our communities. 1. Study history of institutions Study concrete behaviors of people Unveil sociopolitical complexities within navigating the social sciences, concrete behaviors of people creating neoliberal policy will be examined 2. Study one sector of human affairs alone Study human affairs as related to various sectors Students navigating social science degrees and careers alongside neoliberal policies that shape the sociopolitical environment will be analyzed 3. Study social issues that only occur once Study social issues that repeat themselves Self efficacy will be discussed because it reflects the persistence of students gravitating and/or avoiding academic and career tasks based upon self judgement 4. Study historical social events Study with a greater emphasis on contemporary social events Social Sciences Institute will be examined as a potential step forward in mitigating sociopolitical complexities while student's navigate social science degrees and careers

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57 Limitations The underpinnings of my research is racial equity and social justice for youth and professionals of color who wish to penetrate the inv isible racialized hierarchy of meritocracy within the social sciences sector. Given the multifaceted issues that come along with navigating social science degrees and careers, critical race methodology allows for an interdisciplinary approach to discussing sociopolitical phenomena within this field. In order to unveil and refine the discussion around the complexities young scholars and professionals of color face when navigating the social sciences sector, counter storytelling and the sociological imaginati on provide insight into how we may navigate the social sciences sector. Specifically, when we are faced with neoliberal policies and racist ideology within academic and professional settings. This insight will help provide the healing praxis needed to pers ist and commit to social justice and racial equity within the social science sector. Tatum (1997) speaks to the need for healing by stating they also need to know what can b e done about them. Learning to recognize cultural and institutional racism and other forms of inequity without learning strategies to respond to Thus, this critical race methodological approach to my research wi ll allow for the unveiling of my story as a means for critical analyses, implications, and potential solutions to consider to support young scholars of color who choose to navigate social science degrees and careers. However, there are limitations that must be considered within my critical theoretic al interpretations of my story and the sociopolitical complexities associated with navigating social science degrees and careers. The limitations of this study stems from

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58 traditional research. Because of not taking a firm stance in the middle and taking more of a critical theoretical approach, I had to be mindful of the manner in which I approach the framing of this research. T he theoretical framing of this research is equally as important policy is forged on political party lines with neoliberal consequences. Policy forged for and career development has also lacked the potential for transformational praxis because of stripping curriculum and career pathways of the sociological imagination and conscientization within this research is to simply interrogate the sociopolitical complexities youth face when navigating social science degrees and careers and to help unveil some of the consequences of neoliberal policies. To be clear, this research is limited to a theoretical approach, which none theless is important to building future practical applications. A second limitation concerning this research is analyzing an educational pathway that is not formalized. Because of the innovative nature of this research and discussing an informal social sc iences educational pathway, further research will need to be conducted in order to intellectually organize a social sciences educational pathway school by school and district by district. Another limitation of this research is that is does not provide fin ancial analysis concerning funding of currently existing career pathways similar to the one I endeavor to create. Though funding of career pathways is not discussed within this research, it may provide more insight as to why a social sciences educational p athway does not exist within our state. There are pieces of education legislation that will be discussed later

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59 chapters. But, the actual funding of the career pathways within schools and school districts are not discussed. Specifically, in the three school districts that will be discussed Aurora Public Schools, Cherry Creek Public Schools, and Denver Public Schools. This needs to be further interrogated not only for the sustainability of the pre existing pathways, but the future sustainability of a social s ciences educational pathway.

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60 CHAPTER IV FIRST SHIFT IN THE SOCIOLOGICAL IMAGINATION: BEHAVIOR OF INSTITUTIONS TOWARD BEHAVIOR OF PEOPLE There is first the shift of emphasis from the history of institutions and ideas to the concrete behavior of peoples. There is secondly. .a tendency not to study one sector of human affairs alone but to relate it to other sectors. .There is third a preference for studying social situations and problems which repeat themselves rather than those which only occur only once. And finally there is a greater emphasis on contemporary rather than on historical social events. ( Mills, 1959, pp. 61 62) Introduction sociological imagination to unveil the sociopolitical complexities students and professionals of color face when navigating social science degrees and careers. The first shift through the lens of the sociological imagination is from focusing on institutions toward beha vior of people. Thus, in order to reveal the sociopolitical complexities associated with navigating social science degrees and careers in Colorado, the political behavior of people will be discussed alongside my story. The political attitudes and behaviors of people will support the analyses concerning the sociopolitical environment of Colorado in which our students and professionals of color navigate as they work toward transformational praxis. To provide an example of what a student and/or professional ma y experience within my story as an individual who has experienced the P 20 schooling process in Colorado. Though my story will not be generalized as the experiences of the general public, it may shed some light on the challenges youth and professionals of color face while navigating academic and career developme nt within the social sciences.

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61 Before further discussing a social sciences educati on pathway, it is pertinent to understand the sociopolitical environment within Colorado. This will provide a better understanding as to why certain political decisions were made to mitigate the Colorado Paradox and to create certain types of career and po st secondary efforts. The Colorado Paradox speaks to the fact that though it is seen as a state with highly educated citizens, Colorado students in our K 12 systems are not on track to ear n college degrees. Only 1 in 5 high school freshmen will ea rn a post secondary degree. Cro nin and Loevy (2012) 5). Particu larly speaking, Colorado has been known nationally for the Colorado Paradox. That is to say, it has a long history of our native youth continuously struggle in environme nt to be supported by equitable education policies Below is a table that reflects the rate at which different demographics of students are graduating within four years (on time graduation):

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62 Table 2: Colorado High School Graduation Rates by Ethnicity/Race (by percentage) Source: Colorado Department of Education Table 2 reflects a large graduation rate gap among American Indian, Black/African Americans, Hispanic/Latino students and White students. Rather than looking at the rates with a deficit toward the respective et hnic/racial communities of students and their the graduation gap and Colorado Paradox persist. What is peculiar are the mindsets that create a politically challengi ng environment in which allows the Colorado Paradox to persist. Colorado is a unique state in that it is not seen as state, but rather a blending of both sets of politics. Tha t is to say it is not rigidly on either side of the political spectrum as it relates to party politics. However, Colorado has been characterized as a libertarian state in which many people believe in neoliberal rhetoric and policy Cronin and Loevy (2012) conducted some polling to demonstrate this type of neoliberal mentality within Colorado. People were asked to indicate their agreement by 61.4 85.9 69.5 65.4 75.5 79 82.8 60.7 84.7 69 66.7 73.4 79.7 83.2 Class of 2013 Class of 2014

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63 stating wh ich one they agree with most -either an individu alistic perspective or a more communitarian politica l perspective. The results were: (a care of him and community life This is the mentality that has crafted policies that further perpetuate the Colorado Paradox. This is also the mentality of the citizenry who continuously vote against education measures that could lead toward more equitable education funding for our school districts that serve a high concentration of lower socio economic students. As Cronin and Loevy note, responses, we believe, are another indication of the individualistic, liberty loving, take care of This type of thinking leads to raci al battle fatigue for students and professionals of color who believe that social justice and transformational praxis can be achieved in spite of these political attitudes. This type of thinking led to me experiencing feelings of callousness, bitterness, a nd solve them simply by earning my degree and serving my community. When I first started in the field of education, after college, I thought I was going to save the world. I th ought I memories of neoliberal opinions my former white college classmates would state during discussion. I also remembered their deficit thinking toward me and the y outh of color I would serve. For example, many of my white college classmates presumed African e of

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64 color, do care about our education and just simply need support from someone who ew this sounded absurd to many people outside of the education space and even those within the be achieved? So, there I was helping students who had dropped out of high school return to school. I helped hundreds of youth return to school, but also encountered students who had become callous from their schooling experiences. I would call and meet wit h youth and their families to help them return to high school and graduate with their diploma and even college credits. As a part of the recruitment process, I would simply ask if they wanted to go back to school and sometimes they would say yes, but somet imes they would say no. I met with a young African American man one day who had literally a year left to finish school. He only had a year left to finish because he would age out of the system if he did not finish in a year. After many phone attempts and p leading with him in person, he decided to return to school. I was excited and felt accomplished not simply because of trajectory of success. He would attend school a few days a week, have a perfect week of attendance, and then began to show up less and less. I wondered what could have him. He would have to be emotionally and physically present to graduate. So, I set up a meeting with his family and the school staff. We discussed his reading scores and his goals in life to come up with a realistic plan of action to help him attain success step by

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65 step. During the meeting, his mother proje cted shame and bitterness toward him for not being the accomplished young man she desired for him to be. As an African American woman and mother, I felt myself begin to shrink and back away from my advocacy for him to stay in the school. I began to feel ca llousness towards him, his mother, and many other youth and parents of color that followed in their footsteps of struggling to commit to education. I knew that I served all of my youth equitably, but there were increased feelings of hopelessness, bitternes s, and anger when it came to the youth of color I served their own families. Particula rly, what bothered me most was to hear the staff easily speak would hear statements about students like, maybe they should just get their GED. I would also hear stateme depth of care for their success because of how I felt it reflected upon not just them, but youth, parents, and even professionals of color like myself. Though I was one of the most success ful employees because of my ability to encourage and support countless youth to return to school and graduate, the sheer numbers were not enough to satisfy my appetite for breaking down the barriers these youth faced while navigating their schooling proces ses and dreams. I came across many youth of color who did not reflect a desire of wanting to return to high school for so many years, that I began to once again embrace the neoliberal mindset of many Coloradoans. I began to straddle the fence of an equit able mindset and the mindset of the 55% of Coloradoans that think everyone should fend for him/herself.

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66 For the few years that I helped students return to high school and graduate, I wondered why so many African Americans and students of color were not sta ying in school. I wondered why I was able to help these students return to school in d roves, but yet still had difficulty feeling like I had cultivated transformational praxis I would meet with my students and learn their hearts their fears, dreams, and s ociopolitical issu es within the schooling process. For example, I would meet students who would go to school just to find out they had been dropped from school. Staff from their schools would tell them they could not return to school and needed to come see me for help. Rather than a staff they would simply treat them like a statistic, particularly a Colorado Paradox statistic. Other times, students would tell me that the y did not want to return to school because teachers were always kicking them out of the classroom because they were intimidated by them. The students would tell me that if they were having a bad day and made a mistake, they did not feel anyone was there to support them through their personal challenges in and out of school. Many of these students with these stories were students of color, particularly young Latino and African American males. From reflecting upon the barriers and challenges they faced within their experiences, I was led to remain a community organizing in education policy. I chose to enter the realm of education policy in hopes of mitigating the neolibera l mindsets that youth encountered when navigating their P 20 experiences. It did not take long for me to see the aforementioned neoliberal type of thinking in the world of education policy. It is this neoliberal thinking that also leads to decisions tha t

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67 are top down rather than ground up. It also allows the context that feeds the Colorado Paradox to continue as the status quo. That is to say that policies are created to continue g on pol icy, from a ground up approach that will cultivate our marginalized youth. Particularly speaking, Fine and Ruglis (2009) discuss the sociopolitical implications o f this type of mentality particularly for lower income students and students of color when they explain that, liberal education policies unleash and legitimate a perverse distribution of education s and consequences of onto m ost White and Asian elite youth This can be seen by many policy initiatives and groups that discuss the academic and career develop ment for Colorado youth. Thus, there are well intentioned people in policy who think that providing youth a bootstraps, but also (2) relieve the government from having to be re sponsible for improving the lives of people. The neoliberal rhetoric is typically along the lines of helping lower income and racially diverse youth by providing them with potential careers that will help them escape poverty. Though this is important, I agree with Giroux (1983) who believes that academic and career development decisions should not solely be labor market driven. This mentality do es not allow for policy that craft s what Dewey (1938/1997) calls educative experiences within the social sciences. Educative experiences are critical to cultivating a future generation of youth who will be the professionals and leaders to lead policy discussions about how to mitigate the Colorado Paradox. These

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68 experiences are a lso crucial because as Dewey ( 1938/ the time we live and not at some other time, and only by extracting at each present time the full meaning of each present experience are we prepared for doing the same thing in the futu self efficacy and social cognitive theory. Students must be given opportunities to build their self efficacy within the social sciences in order to mitigate such a liability as the Colora do Paradox and other issues that necessitate private troubles as public issues. Cron at length by acknowl edging what they call Some of the assets Cronin and Loevy (2012 ) speak of in Colorado pertain to the job market, top industries, education, and tourism. Renewable energy has been seen as a valuable asset for Colorado because it It Our scientists contribute to Colorado being seen as one of the most educated states in the nation as well. Other industries contribute to our notable educated citizenry as well, such concentration and eight in the United States for sciences and engineers as a percentage of type of professional background have contributed to the tourism that occurs within our state. ability to attract these type of professionals as well because of our lo w tax rates. We are Loevy, 2012, p. 323). This is particularly important to many of the business minded

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69 professionals who come to the state with a business and/or c reate a business within the state. Colorado is a state that serves a myriad of business minded individuals who seek tax relief. Cronin and Loevy (2012) speak to the role business and entrepreneurship plays on for investments in venture backed companies and as fourth in the number of new companies per capita and small business that shape our sociopolitical environment. T his is particularly important because as It is critical to understand the assets discussed by Cronin and Loevy (2012) because this has helped cultivate the type of policy decisions t hat have been made to mitigate the Color ado Paradox I would consider these type of policy approaches to The friction between Colorado Paradox has left our youth in a position to consume the educatio nal policies from top down, neo liberal approach. N eoliberal thinking perpetuates an individualistic mentality over a communal mentality. Particularly speaking, our youth who desire to one day engage in policy and/or a social sciences education al pathway that could cultivate their creative genius have not been prioritized. What has been prioritized are students vation of it s These areas are in business, health s ciences m anufacturing and science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)

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70 Political Theories Investigated A manufacturing career pathway passed as a pathway option for K 12 student s, but also non traditional students as well per HB 13 1165 during the 2013 legislative session. The rhetoric was that this bill would help youth who tend to need remedial courses students of color. But, as seen from many education initiatives, such as con current enrollment which is discussed in Chapter Five, white students tend to attain the benefits at much higher rates than students of color. This bill is a reflection of what we have seen regarding a push for vocational training in the past for our stude nts of color. HB 13 1165 went through the legislative process smoothly. Sometimes bills have to be passed through several committees and/or be amended before they are passed, but that was not the case with this bill. There were not many committees involved in the passage of this bill. The only two committees necessary for the passage of this bill were the Education and Appropriations committees in both chambers: House and Senate. There are over ten committees so for this bill to only go through two within both chambers is a smooth transition through the legislative process. Some of the other committees that may have been relevant for this bill to enter for review are: Business, Labor and Technology or Business Affairs and Labor. The bill also did not have a ny amendments from either return to the House or Senate floor for a second reading. This is a key point in the legislative process when legislators may make substantial a mendments. Bills can be either passed, amended and passed, defeated, laid over until another day or referred back challenges that other bills may face. The voting results of the bill were interesting along

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71 party lines because none of the House Republicans voted yes for this bill and only one Senate Republican voted yes. Between the two chambers, the house and the senate, 86 percent of the House of Represe ntatives voted yes April 15 th of 2013 and 60 percent of the Senators voted yes May 6 th of 2013. The objectives of the bill were an attempt of policy makers to implement this pathway as a means to mitigate the Colorado Paradox. A major issue as apart of the Colorado Paradox is students going to post secondary institutions with a need for remediation. This bill addresses this issue directly in the language of HB 13 1165. The objectives of the Manufacturing Career Pathway as stated within the bill are as follo ws: 1) Create and design a manufacturing career pathway 2) Decrease remediation needed for post secondary students 3) Curtail the shrinkage in skilled workers in these careers 4) Provide certification for K 12 students and adults through a series of connected educat ional and career related activities 5) As mentioned within the language of the bill, it is visible that there was an attempt by policy makers to acknowledge the Colorado Paradox while attempting to implement a career pathway to boost the economy. While this career pathway may, in fact, boost th e economy, I am not so confident that it will curtail the need for remediation among our youth because Brenner and Theodore (2002) speak to the consequences of this neoliberal thinking by discussing actually existing neoliberalism : N eoliber al doctrine is p remised upon a one size fits a ll model of policy implementation that assumes that identical results will follow the imposition of market oriented reforms, rather than recognizing the extraordinary variations that arise as neoliberal reform initiatives are imposed within contextually specific institutional landscapes a nd policy environments. (p. 353)

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72 The attempt to decrease the need for remediation through this type of academic and career development embedded with efforts to boost the economy speaks to the neoliberal This pathway was legislated in the 2013 legislative session, but was cultivated and discussed well before 2013. Governor Hickenlooper conducted listening tours along with invested inter ests groups in order to create traction and political capital to get this bill passed through the legislature. In September of 2012, Governor Hickenlooper joined ndustry to announce the launch of the Colorado Advanced Manufacturing Alliance (CAMA). The alliance is comprised of members of the manufacturing industry, as well as leaders in government and education, who will work to enhance the global competitiveness of advanced manufacturing in Colorado and create jobs ac ross the state. P olitical theoretical approaches at play with in the passage of this bill are political entrepreneurship economic theory First, political entrepreneurship is clearly a manner of opin ion in that the Governor himself and/or others may deem this theory as a manner of skepticism. I would surmise that political entrepreneurship is at play within the passage of this legislation because of the timing in which the piece of legislation passed and the timi ng in which it is mandated to be designed and created. The bill passed with the mandate of the board designing and creating the Manufacturing Career Pathway by the 2014 2015 academic year. This is political ly significant because Governor Hickenlooper was u p for re election the fall of 2014. The mobilization was a top down approach rather than a situations in which government constitutes the group interested in agenda sett ing. In these

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73 situations, government officials agree that an issue not currently visible in the systematic This type of mobilization was cultivated by Governor Hickenlooper through a task force entitled the Colorado A dvanced Manufacturing Alliance (CAMA). This task force was purposed to ensure that policy would be put in place to ensure the implementation of the manufacturing career pathway. Governor Hickenlooper stated, a perfect example of the collaboration needed to create new jobs and more capital inv Advanced manufacturing is uniquely positioned to lead our The Governor i s in a position that he is able to claim this as a part of the success of his administration. This is important because of the role of the Governor is to cultivate and help maintain a strong economy. As Stefes (2010) s advocat es who are willing to invest their resources time, energy, reputation, money to promote a position in return for anticipated future gain in the form of material, purposive, or solidary Governor Hickenlooper was willing to put forth the fi nancial capital necessary to implement this pathway with the hope of attaining further financial gain for the future of Colorado. This leads to the next political theory which is economic theory Adolina and Blake (2011) suggests economic theory purports policy be created based upon economic analysis albeit short term or long term effects. As stated policy entrepreneurs are willin g to put forth resources toward challenges and solutions that will provide them with political capital. The fiscal note for the manufacturing career pathway is $1 million dollars which is a significant portion of the budget. The governor, in the state of

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74 Colorado, plays a major role in the approval of the budget. The piece of legislation itself manufacturing firms employ more than 120,000 employees and contribute over $16 Given this knowledge, policy has been created and career development. This pathway is problematic because it places student s rigidly in a pathway of which may be difficult to leave. This is very problematic for students of lower socioeconomic status and of color in that it may create another sub class of citizenry as we have seen with other vocational training programs. Also, younger generations tend to have a desire to have a fluid career. That is to say that they do not wish to remain in the same profession or job for the amount of years that the baby boomer generation did in their professional years. The National Bureau of L abor Statistics (NBLS) conducts research on this and explains this phenomena by stating, For example, the median tenure of workers ages 55 to 64 (10.4 years) was more than Employee Tenure Summary 2014 ). This pathway could lead to further marginalization due to the inherent rigidity of the pathway. It also funnels money toward a career pathway that does not suppor t the intellectualism and/or conscientization Colorado Paradox. We need an educational pathway that will also support our youth to engage intellectually within our communities and with policy makers to create equitable education policies. A social sciences educational pathway would provide a broad base of

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75 educative experiences and knowledge necessary to have a fluid career while fulfilling The New Face of Neol iberalism: The Creative Class Rather than create policy that addresses the root causes of poverty, neoliberal is to say rather than cultivating our native Colorado youth with policy that invests in public education and higher education, the motive behind education investments have been to attract what Florida ion of the creative class is a group of to create a vibrant city. They are considered the group of people that cities should appeal to as a means to rapid and effectiv e urban development. Florida (2002) characterizes this group as: [T] he creative class: a fast growing, highly educated, and well paid segment of the workforce on whose efforts corporate profits and economic growth increasingly depend. Members of the creati ve class do a wide variety of work in a wide variety of industries --from technology to entertainment, journalism to finance, high end manufacturing to the arts. They do not consciously think of themselves as a class. Yet they share a common ethos that val ues creativity, individuality, difference, and merit. (p. 3) This creative class has been a group that many city leaders have tried to attract to their cities. Thus, it is peculiar that Governor Hickenlooper played an intricate role in the passage of HB 1 3 1165, the Manufacturing Career Pathway, because it is listed as one of the industries assoc iated with the creative class. Governor Hickenlooper was Mayor of Denver for two terms beginning in 2003 and served up to 2011. The creative class has been deemed

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76 surprising that Governor Hickenlooper would advocate for a Manufacturing Career Pathway. Particularly, when Governor Hickenlooper was Mayor of Denver, he was so 002) book about the creative class that he bought it for himself and copies of the book distributing them as bedtime reading for his senior staff, while initiating a strateg Denver to Governor of Colorado, Hickenlooper has transformed the city of Denver and the state of Col orado to serve and attract the creati ve class. This may be viewed by many policy makers as an excellent way to build a city and/or state toward economic growth and sustainability. But, it is problematic for a state, such as Colorado, in which the Colorado Paradox persists. There are many reasons that this is problematic not only for Colorado but for our youth of color and of lower socio also attracted criticism for its relative neglect of issues of intraurban inequality and working poverty. A swelling contingent economy of underlaborers may, in fact, be a necessary side catering to the creative class will continue to be detrimental to the cultivation of the conscientization necessary to mitigate neoliberal policy making like this. Peck (2005) 757). As discussed earlier in this chapter, many Colorado citizens have libertarian attitudes when it comes to social issues. This is, in part, why Colorado continues to have on

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77 systems. Within this sociopolitical context, it will be extremely difficult to cultivate the conscientization necessary to support our youth to eventually mitigate the Colorado Paradox. More importantly, it will be difficult to create policy that forges the cultivation of a social sciences educational pathway because it does not reflect the interests of creative class experiences for our youth to breakdown neoliberal policy making and mindsets will be difficult if we continue to perpetuate policies that cater to the creative class because p. 757). The continuation of this neoliberal mindset in our citizenry can only support the continued existence of the Colorado Paradox rather than support to mitigate it. The perpetuation of the neoliberal mindset that comes along with the creative class inherited by the creative class as well. Peck (2005) discusses the merit associated with civic engagement and leadership that the creative class is presumed to attain, when he reflects: [M]ost creative places tend also to exhibit the most extensive socio economic earth, it is they who must figure out how to solve these problems, in their own of civic involvement. (p. 746) For many reasons, this type of neoliberal and meritocratic attitude is what will maintain pervasive consequences of neoliberal policy making. This is in contrast to transformational and innovative praxis that I argue for as a means to culturally relevant p olicy making. The neoliberal mindset of the creative class toward civic engagement and

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78 even academic and career development for ou r youth will not cultivate the educative experiences necessary for our youth of color to penetrate the racialized hierarchy of meritocracy. Instead, it will continue to perpetuate the Colorado Paradox as well as minimize the counter narratives needed to break through toward the conscientization necessary for transformational praxis. These counter narratives will continue to decre ase as students and professionals from lower socio economic backgrounds and/or of color with marginalized identities continue to silence their counter narratives to survive amidst the power and privilege that comes along with being a part of the creative c la ss. Beimler (2003) discusses the creative class, tend to be less meaningful than professional achievement, busines s connections and tudents to return to their communities with their counter racial equity, and social justice. To continue to foster the colorblind mentality that comes with the creative class heralding the accomplishments of a Paradox and provide educative experiences, a social sciences educational pathway needs to be created as a part of equitable policy making An intellectually organized social sciences educational pathway will allow for students of color to learn alongside white students while recognizing the sociopolitical impacts of our racialized identities. It is not just the responsibility of those who a re experiencing the consequences of neoliberalism,

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79 but also those that impose the consequences, consciously and unconsciously, to mitigate the Colorado Paradox. Matias (2013) writes about this dual responsibility in her discussion of counter narratives whe raised in a racist society had to learn not only the dominant narrative but also, a counternarrative, I ask my White teacher candidates to finally burden themselves about ust as Matias teaches her teacher candidates to validate and engage coun ter narratives, we must create educative experiences for our youth in a social sciences educational pathway that allows for tr ansformational healing praxis. This healing praxis can onl y be achieved by supporting our youth of lower socio economic status and of color with the necessary educative experiences that allows for the validation of their counter narratives and the empowerment of students to engage in our communities equitably.

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80 CHAPTER V 20 SCHOOLING ENVIRONMENTS There is first the shift of emphasis from the history of institutions and ideas to the concrete behavior of peoples. There is secondly. .a tendency not to study one sector of human affairs alone but to relate it to other sectors. .There is third a preference for studying social situations and problems which repeat themselves rather than those which only occur only once. And finally there is a greater emphasis on contemporary rather than on historical social events. ( Mills, 1959, pp. 61 62) Introduction The purpose of this chapter is to reflect the second shift of M sociological imagination which is a shift from focusing on one sector of human affairs toward focusing on human affairs related to other sectors. For the purposes of this theoretical research, I will be providing interpretive analysis regardin of students navigating P 20 experiences which is inclusive of concurrent enrollment and other academic and career pathways offered within three school districts Aurora, Cherry Creek, and Denver. In order to unveil some of the sociopoli tical complexities and challenges a youth may face who is interested in social science degrees and careers, I will share my story of how I navigated my P 20 social science experiences. I will also delve into some of the P 20 efforts that currently exist to reflect the gap in social science academic and career development for our youth. How Can You Commit to What You Cannot See? Having worked with many youth in my professional career, I have watched many en they grow up. I remember being a

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81 thought I wanted to be an attorney like Johnnie Cochran or Perry Mason. However, my exposure to the field of law was rather limited. I remember being attracted to the power they possessed in the courtroom and being enamored by the language they would use to saw that as not only a position of power and wealth, but also a position of empowerment for people in need. Thus, I knew I wanted to help people in need throughout my being an attorney. So, without a social science educational pathway that could expose me to the field of law, how was I so committed and adamant about entering the profession? After high school, I immediately entered college at the University of Denver. I was very excited about my first trimest er of college and the orientation because I wanted to begin to forge my trail toward being a lawyer. I was psyched to tell the academic advisor I would meet that I wanted to study law. I knew that law school would be after thought I would literally study law during my undergraduate career. I knew that college was supposed to be better than high school because I would have the opportunity to study what I had been waiting to learn for the past 17 years. So, there I was in the orientation meeting with an academic advisor, who would later become one of my favorite professors. He asked me if I was going to declare a major. I asked him what that meant and he said it meant what I wanted to study. I told him that I wanted to study l aw. He told me that there was no law major for me to study. I said that I knew I wanted to go to law school. He said that was great and asked what type of law I wanted to practice. I told him I wanted to help children who had been abused and neglected alon g with people who are wrongfully accused of crimes. He said that

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82 sounds great. Sounds like you are interested in government. I said no I want to study law. He said yes, but laws are created by government. I said yes that is true; so, what do you think I sh Political Science. I said Political Science! What is that? He said it is the study of politics and government. I said ok well if that is what I have to do to go to law school, then I will major in that. He said you will enjoy it. I can tell by your passion. I said okay. I will take your word for it. So, I took his word for it and majored in Political Science along with Criminology. I enjoyed the debates, discussion, and knowledge I att ained from both lawyer and attend law school until after I entered the field o f education. It was then that I had the opportunity to have hands on learning experiences making a difference in the lives of youth and their families. over the years that were j ust like me during high school and even after high school. Many youth I have worked with tell me they want to be lawyer. However, when I have asked them why, they are not quite sure. They may tell me because they want to help people or children, but they d if they could choose to change something in the world, what would it be and how they would go about cha nging it. This is the root of what they envision their commitment too. challenges they may face amidst institutional racism and oppressive systems like

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83 schooling or justice sys aforementioned purpose the purpose of transformational praxis. Throughout my academic and professional career, I have always purposed myself and my critical nd social justice. If I had a social sciences educational pathway that could have exposed me to the myriad of opportunities that one can choose to create transformational praxis, I would have most likely known that I did not want to cultivate my purpose th rough being a lawyer. There are many youth who still do not understand the spectrum of academic and career opportunities from selecting a major to actually choosing a job and/or career within the social sciences. However, in other fields such as business, health sciences, and STEM, students have been more likely to discuss potential majors and even diverse careers within these fields. There must be equity in cultivating the knowledge necessary for youth to effectively navigate social science degrees and car eers. This is why I am so passionate about the creation of a social science educational pathway that can expose youth to hands on learning opportunities within the field of social science. Career Cultivation and Political Post secondary Achievement Effort s In order to further expose the gap of academic and career development for youth interested in social science degrees and careers, it is necessary to understand the P 20 cli mate. order to mitigate this issue, many stakeholders worked with the legislature to pass a series of bills that allowed for Colorado students to concurrently enroll in college level courses while in high school. These pieces of legislation were HB 09 1319 and SB 09 285 of

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84 which required school districts to enter into an agreement with qualified higher ed ucation institutions and allow students to essentially take college level courses for free for a year after high school (Ruthven, 2011). This 5 th year program is also known as ASCENT and only accounted for one percent of the dual enrollment programs in the 2011 2012 school year. Though these political efforts are admonished and recommended, the number of students being served due to the passage of these pieces of legislation are minimal. Due to passage of this legislation, the Colorado Department of Education and the Colorado Department of Higher Education produced a 2011 2012 annual school year report. The This is approximately 19 percent of all 11 th and 12 th graders in public schools in 5). Though this is progress, there should be a higher portion of our Colorado students enrolled in dual enrollment programs. This number must increase significantly in order to mitigate the Colorado Paradox. What is more problematic are the low numbers o f students color participating in the dual enrollment programs. Wit hin the report there is a break down of the increase of students enrolled in the concurrent enrollment programs from 2010 2011 school year to the 2011 2012 school year. There was an increase in students participating in dual enrollment, but the number of students of color did not increase at the rate of their white counterparts. The chart below shows the increase in students by ethnicity from the 2010 2011 school year to the 2011 2012 school year:

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85 Table 3: Student Count from Concurrent Enrollment Data from 2010 through 2012 Race/Ethnicity 2010 2011 School Year 2011 2012 School Year Asian 234 416 African American 404 525 Hawaiin or Pacific Islander 26 30 Hispanic 1877 2744 More than one race /ethnicity 162 290 Non resident 272 293 White 4535 7504 Unknown/Did not answer 1745 2084 Annual Report on Concurrent Enrollment. (source: Colorado Department of Education and the Colorado Department of Higher Education, 2013, p. 16) In looking at Table 3, there were not significant gains in participation for African American youth nor other youth of color who are addressed as being at the bottom of the Colorado Paradox. However, there was a significant increase for white students. Thi s is not an equitable distribution of participation and there needs to be significant gains in participation among our youth of color to continue to mitigate the Colorado Paradox. In order to mitigate the Colorado Paradox throughout the entire K 12 school systems, SB 212 was passed by the legislature to adopt the Common Core Standards. The standards rolled out in school districts and time is still needed to evaluate the efficiency of the standards within school districts across the state. The purpose of the se standards are to provide teachers and students more engaging ways to teach and learn. A l s o, a s a result of the aforementioned pieces of legislation, programs under Extended Studies such as the CU Succeeds program was created as another opportunity for c oncurrent enrollment to provide high school students more college level courses. However, many of these college level courses offered are not embedded in the social sciences. Many of the courses offered are in the areas of science, math or literature. The graph below shows an analysis

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86 of what courses were being offered for the fall of 2014 across the sta te in various school districts. Table 4: CU Succeeds Fall 2014 Course Offerings CU Succeed Fall 2014 Course Listings (source: University of Colorado Denver CU Succeeds) It is evident that the CU Succeeds program is not offering a plethora of courses within the social sciences. The courses offered mirror the neoliberal political interests to push students towards career fields in STEM of which requires a foundation in math. There could be a few issues at play in looking at the courses offered from the CU Succeeds program. One issue could be that tenured faculty who may teach these courses cannot count these courses toward their faculty loads. Another issue could be funding for a 1 1 1 2 2 3 4 4 6 6 7 7 8 9 16 20 20 35 84 0 20 40 60 80 100 GERMAN SPANISH HUMANITIES COMPUTER SCIENCE FINE ARTS MANAGEMENT CRIMINAL JUSTICE PHILOSOPHY POLITICAL SCIENCE SOCIOLOGY ETHNIC STUDIES COMMUNICATION PHYSICS PSYCHOLOGY HISTORY CHEMISTRY BIOLOGY ENGLISH MATH Number of CU Succeeds Courses CU Suceed Course Subject Area

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87 lecturer to teach the courses at the high schools. There are cases in which the high schools have to pay for the lecturer. Because of the emphasis on STEM, administration within high school settings may be less likely t o pay for social sciences courses. Second, because college and career readiness is intricately linked to the tendency for students to need remediation in math and reading, there may be an emphasis on providing math and basic English courses. The issue wit h this perspective is these are college level courses that may not mitigate the need for remediation in other areas for students who likely would not be academically ready to take a college course. Secondary Career Pathways within the Denver Metro Region i n Colorado Now that the sociopolitical analysis of Colorado has been discussed, the current landscape of career pathways in the Denver Metro region will make more sense. For the purposes of this discussion Aurora Public Schools (APS), Cherry Creek Public Schools (CCPS) and Denver Public Schools (DPS) will be discussed. In order to better explain the framework for this discussion, it is important for one to know the basis of what a career pathway in secondary education offers students and what academic di sciplines would be inclus ive of a social sciences educational pathway. Career pathways allow for secondary students to take college level courses through a partnering higher education institution. Sometimes these courses are free for the student, but it do es cost the school district money as they have to pay for these services. With that said, there have been state budget cuts over the past few years in Colorado and school districts may be uneasy about investing in career pathways that do not show demand wi thin the labor market. If students begin taking these courses early enough in their high school career, they are able

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88 able to take these courses either at the partnering h igher education institution or at their high school, so they do not have to leave the building. In these cases, the higher education institutions send adjunct faculty to the high school to ensure the class has college rigor. Sometimes there are high school educators who have the education necessary to teach a college level course so schools do not have to hire outside faculty. The social sciences arena offers an interdisciplinary focus on an array of subjects. These subjects include but are not limited to; anthropology, criminology, economics, political science, psychology socio logy fields under the umbrella of the social sciences, it is visible that the field has the capacity to assist in the developme nt of an interdisciplinary thinker. This is a skill that is in demand within our society especially within the state of our economy companies are downsizing and loo king for people to be able to approach work with a broad foundation of knowledge to help mov e or ganizations and business toward exponential success. Arguably, o ne who is in the best position to move an entity forward or a people forward is someone who is able to think through the lens of a social scientist. The social sciences educational pathway would allow for students to take classes within the aforementioned disciplines while being exposed to a foundation of how social phenomena exist and persists in our communities and society. Career Pathways in Aurora, Cherry Creek and Denver Public School s Districts Within the surrounding Denver Metro area school districts -Aurora, Denver and Cherry Creek -ther e is not a social science educational pathway offered to students. This is not to say that these districts do not allow students to concurrently enr oll in social

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89 access to the classes under the social sciences umbrella is rather limi ted. There is no official educational pathway for students interested in social sci ence academic and career development In Aurora Public Schools, there are various post secondary programs that offer students in high school access to college curriculum. There is Pickens Tech, Vista Peak, Aurora Lights and PACE Setter within the Aurora P ublic School (APS) District. Pickens Tech is a vocational school that provides technical career opportunities for students that include, but a re not limited to; automotive barbering cosmetology, electrician, graphic design, and technol ogy, etc. This school offers car eers for students geared toward a particular trade. Vista Peak is a preschool through graduate school campus also known as a P 20 campus. It is a fairly new educational facility in that it is only five years old. This school off ers students various career pathways in which they can earn college credits while pursuing their career interests. The career pathways offered are: business, fine arts, health sciences, science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), and visu al an d design arts These are the options for students on this campus that would like to be able to partake in a career pathway on campus rather than commuting to C ommunity C ollege of A urora (CCA) Aurora Lights is a program that exists in partnership with the University of Colorado Hospital, Metro Care Provider Network and Community College of Aurora (CCA) to allow for students to be exposed to the health sciences careers. Due to limited resources, only students in certain schools are able to partake in this p rogram. PACE Setter is a program offered to high school students who would like to earn college credit through taking courses through the CCA. Students can take these courses on the campus or at their school if the instructor is from CCA and teaching colle ge curriculum. But, these courses are not geared toward a

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90 particular field of study; thus, does not inc orporate educative experiences organized toward field development. APS has a strong reputation of encouraging students to take advantage of college cours es. APS has the most students in the concurrent enrollment system in the entire state. These are great programs, but exempt of curriculum that provides youth an opportunity to engage in a career that supports civic engagement and analysis of social strata. This is why a social science educational pathway needs to be created for our youth. Cherry Creek Public Schools (CCPS) also does not offer a solution to the abs ence of a social sciences educational pathway. This district also allows their students to acce ss Pickens Tech courses as well. STEM is the pathway that is emphasized within this district as there is a STEM building between Overland High School and Prairie Middle School. Students are able to take classes at their school or at CCA as well through con current enrollment, but again these courses are limited and do not exemplify the disciplines needed to engage students in social science curricula. Denver Public Schools (DPS) is the larger and most expansive district among APS and Cherry Creek. DPS is a little different in that they do have more options for students as it relates to post secondary offerings within the high school setting. DPS has a web of charter, innovative and alternative schools that provide students with post secondary opportunities Though DPS has 22 innovative schools, over 30 charters and a plethora of intense pathway schools, none of the m offer a social sciences educational pathway. Within these schools, there are offerings from an emphasis on athletics, STEM, law, medical, busin ess, culinary, experiential learning to the teaching profession. Some of these areas such as law and teaching are important, but they are not intellectually

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91 organized as a part of a social sciences educational pathway. Though DPS offers some of these caree r tracks on site at the schools, this district also partners with the Auraria campus for students who wish to commute for college credit. This landscape analysis is not meant to deem these school districts as not being advocates for the social sciences, b ut rather to simply expose the currently existing landscape of career pathways within these districts. Many of the scho ols and districts mentioned share a common vision and belief in c ultivating our youth to be well equipped future visionaries to mitigate social phenomena. On the Vista Peak website it states: Through academic and career pathways, APS students will graduate with unique provide an environment that replicates the real world, preparing students for academic success in college, real life jobs and the realities of a global economy ( Vista Peak Pathways Aurora Media Group, 2013) This school is poi sed for a social sciences educational pathway because of its intrinsic value being the need for students to be exposed to real life opportunities for their futur e careers and college studies embedded in its vision. The Colorado Education College (CEC) is a school within Denver Public Schools something new A student reporter, Alex Loya, from CEC wrote about how doing something new allowed for him to try something he thought he wanted to do and also to learn that he in fact did not want to pursue that career: Wa lking into CEC as a freshman I was convinced that I wanted to be a pediatric nurse. My dreams came to a halt when I took the teaching careers class at CEC. that working wit idea what career path to choose. As a sophomore my mentor convinced me to leave my comfort zone and take something completely new and different so I took Fire Scienc e and completely fell in love. (Alex Loya CEC freshman)

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92 I utilize the aforementioned story. I thought I wanted to Political Science and Criminology for my majo rs and took a plethora of Spanish courses. I conducted this work in hopes of being either a public inte rest attorney, Guardian at Lite m (GAL) or prosecutor who would focus on equity and social justice. After graduating college, I was a case manager with f oster children and worked closely with to be on the back end of the law, but rather the front end because that is where I felt I could make a difference in the lives of youth. This is not to say law cannot be pre e mptive, but I knew that I did not want to empower youth through law, but instead through education. If I would have had an early start in my career through a s ocial science educational pathway, I likely could have learned this information before graduating high school.

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93 CHAPTER VI THIRD SHIFT IN THE SOCIOLOGICAL IMAGINATION: THE SELF EFFICACY OF STUDENTS REFLECTED THROUGH E THNIC IDENTITY DEVELOPMENT AND EDUCATIVE EXPERIENCES There is first the shift of emphasis from the history of institutions and ideas to the concrete behavior of peoples. There is secondly. .a tendency not to study one sector of human affairs alone but to relate it to other sectors. .There is third a preference for studyi ng social situations and problems which repeat themselves rather than those which only occur only once. And finally there is a greater emphasis on contemporary rather than on historical social events. ( Mills, 1959, pp. 61 62) Introduction sociological imagination which is a shift from focusing on a social issue that occurs once toward focusing on social issues that repeat themselves. For the purposes of this research navigating social science P 20 experiences amidst racial micro aggressions and racial battle fatigue. In order to unveil some of the sociopolitical complexities and challe nges a youth may face who is interested in social science degrees and careers, I will share my story of how I navigated my P 20 schooling process. My lack of social science educative experiences will be discussed for the purposes of understanding the impor tance of self efficacy in not only choosing a career, but remaining committed to a career amidst racial battle fatigue (Smith, 2004). I did not realize that the racial micro aggressions I experienced at a private university would help build my self efficacy to effectively navigate the racial battle

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94 fatigue I would later experience in the profession of education. My advocacy efforts on campus, in a predominantly white space, was a microcosm of the predomin antly white professional environments I entered in my career. Learning to navigate this (Nueman, 2011) world views helped build my self efficacy in dealing with these views in my professional settings. It particularly cultivated my professional abilities, as it relates to social justice and racial equity efforts for the students of lower socio economic status and of color. However, though my self efficacy was increased due to in cessant racial micro aggressions, I still did not have the practical educative experiences I needed within the social sciences as a part of my academic and career development in high school or college. Also, though I had built m y self efficacy, my intellec tual prowess was stemming from a place of bitterness, rage, and a lack of empathy for those I would debate with in order to advocate for youth and families of color. Thus, though I had love and compassion for the youth and families I served, I had an invis ible, revolving door of involvement with Research Advocacy in Critical Education (R.A.C.E.), we talked about due to feeling intellectually people of color use their intellectual prowess as a defense mechanism to mitigate racial micro aggressions and racial battle fatigue. I used within predominantly white academic and professional settings.

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95 In reflecting upon my academic and career development, I am reminded tha t my course we discussed and learned about issues from access to health care to the purpose of affirmative action. This was the first time that I was learning about these issues in depth. Though I took debate in high school, the side we took (affirmative or negative) were imposed upon us and we thus had to be prepared to argue for either side in our tournaments. However, though we discussed issues like national secur ity and civil liberties, many of the issues were not as contentious and racialized as the ones we would discuss in this college class. In high school, I did not have opportunities to learn about these issues through a social sciences educational pathway no r did the other students in the course. However, there were students who had some experiential knowledge of conservative professional settings within the social sciences because of their social capital. Some students had parents, family, and/or family frie nds who were lawyers, legislators, politicians etc. Given I did not have access to these professions, my progressive sentiments and feelings were vehemently opposed concerning issues like affirmative action, capital punishment and other social justice issu es. In this course, the professor would ask us who would like to begin the discussions pertaining to the social justice issues we read about for class. For affirmative action, a white student said that he did not believe affirmative action should have been invented because it leads to reverse racism and this allows blacks to take the jobs from people like him who work for their education. The professor then asked the class if others agree with him and/or have an opposing view; no one did except me. At least no one was willing to publically acknowledge their opposing view. I slowly raised my hand with insecurity because I knew

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96 that I was in this private, white space and had only graduated high school with a 2.8 GPA. I also knew I had low ACT and SAT scores. B ut, I knew I worked really hard for my personal statement, interview, and secured exceptional letters of recommendation. I also knew that I did not receive relevant, educative experiences within my schooling process that would have helped increase my acade mic engagement. I also did not receive opportunities to build my social capital and network within the soc ial sciences through educative comments pertaining to affirmative action and said that I worked hard to get into this school and often times we are not given a chance at jobs and/or educational opportunities because of stereotypes and inequitable access to resources that many of my college classmates had. My professor thanked m e for adding to the conversation and asked if anyone had a rebuttal to my comments. The other student quickly raised his hand to respond with disgust that I would actually have the nerve to oppose his argument. He said that he comes from a family of lawyer s, politicians, and doctors who talk about this stuff all the time. He went on to say that his family has provided him with examples of when they met unqualified Blacks in their workspaces. The professors then asked how many students agreed with him and of course with it being a predominantly white space, most students raised their hands. The professors then asked who agreed that we need affirmative action because Blacks are not hired due to stereotypes and only myself and a few others hastily raised their hands. I began to second guess myself. Since he and many other whites have the network which gave them access to discuss these issues, I figured he had a clearer picture of social justice issues. I guess my opinion on the matter was invalid nor relevant. I t was situations like these that made me feel feel excluded and

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97 invalidated which was a microcosm of what I would later experience within the education From that moment forward, I began to i myself in as many advocacy spaces as possible, so that one day my opinion and advocacy would be relevant and taken seriously. I every person who would try to invalidate me and my racialized experiences. Though this callousness was unhealthy, I graduated with no lower than a B in all of my Political Science and Criminology classes. M y professors were impressed with my intellectual exceptional law student. However, as noted in previous chapters, I did not enter law school. Instead, I have worked wi thin the field of education to pursue transformational praxis. Along my professional journey, I found myself advocating for my students and but at this point in my care er, my youth and families who had experienced invalidation throughout their P 20 school experiences. My youth and families would come to me when they needed an advocate because they knew I was able to code switch and articulate their sentiments in a manner power who did not look nor talk like them. Being one of the few African Americans in the space of advocacy for youth, families of color, and the lower socio economic status community, I became fatigued a nd experienced further bitterness and rage. I knew that I not only needed to heal from the incessant lashings of racial micro aggressions, but that my youth who would one day be in my position to advocate would need to heal from

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98 racial battle fatigue as we ll. This is why a social sciences educational pathway is necessary for our youth. Such a pathway would allow for youth to experience academic and career development that would mitigate the callousness that youth of lower socio economic status and of color experience. Such a pathway would also mitigate the perpetuated feelings of entitlement that many higher socio economic, white students experience. I knew that I needed to come up with ways to build the self efficacy of the youth and families I served, so they would one day serve alongside me rather than seek my guidance. That is to say, I wanted to see my youth and families as partners and decision makers in the struggle for transformational praxis rather than simply rely on others to advocate for them. In knowing this, I wanted to further understand the link betw een racialized experiences and self efficacy Thus, I was excited to research the literature associated with self efficacy and identity development. This lit erature helped me to further interpret and understand my academic and career development as it relates to my racialized experiences. Background of Social Cognitive Career Theory (SCCT) Before discussing social cognitive career theory (SCCT), it is importa nt to understand the foundation from which this theory is derived. Social cognitive theory is the foundational theoretical framework for SCCT. cognitive theory purports that people gravitate toward or avoid certain tasks based upon their self judgment, and confidence or lack thereof in completing tasks. Social cognitive theory (SCT) is a broad version of what has been further developed by other scholars who demonstrate interest in academic and career development. One of t hose scholars is Zion (2007) who discusses social cognitive theory as it relates to the career interests of

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99 high school students. She conducted interviews with students and categorized them into two groups: access and non access. The access students were t hose who were exposed to family members who had attended college and the non access students were first generation students who would be the first to attend college in their families. The access students were also primarily from higher socioecon omic backgr ounds whereas the non access students were from lower soc ioeconomic backgrounds. Zion (2007) discovered the students who were from the access group were exposed to professional s like lawyers, doctors, and bankers The non access students were exposed to pr ofessionals in the areas of skilled labor and trade professions. career interests reflected a gravitation toward what they had been exposed to rather than explore unfamiliar professions. This phenomena wi ll be further explored as it relates to academic and career development within the social sciences and what Dewey ( 1938) calls educative experiences Furthermore, Lent, Brown and Hackett (2000) ferment the bridging of social cognitiv e theory to academic and career related decisions. This is the basis from which they developed social cognitive career theory: ormulating this scheme, we drew from social cognitive theory trying to adapt, elaborate, and extend those aspects of the general theory that se emed most relevant to basic career development processes (p. 80). Social cognitive career theory has been utilized as a valid theoretical framework when discussing the academic and career development of students. It has been used in the arenas of counseli ng psychology, workforce development and academic and career development. In order to create a comprehensive model for social cognitive career theory, Lent et al (2000) considered three areas of analysis. First, they limited themselves to

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100 r entry and to the life periods (late adolescence and early childhood) that 81). This justifies my intention upon using this theory for academic and career development analys is of high school aged youth. Second Lent et al (2000) develop ed a theoretical framework that is relevant to academic and career development. B ecause it is inclusive of both academic and career development it becomes a formidable theory to employ here R ather than separating the two, social cognitive career theory includes academic and career developmen t as intricately connected. Lent et al (2000) simplify this linkage of g in referring to interest and choice processes, but we intend for this analysis to subsume academic developmen Lent et al (2000) based their model of social cognitive career th eory in the foundations of self reflective thinking and its impact on the motivation of people to act and make decisions. Particu larly, this focuses on the self reflective processes that af fect academic a nd career decisions. These self reflective processes are inclusive of how students perceived their educational experiences and their ethnic identities. S elf efficacy and the Educative Experience Before providing more information about social cognitive career theory and the intricate role of self efficacy within this theoretical framework, it is critical to expose the 1938 ) calls the educative experience and perpetuation of what he calls mis educative experiences. Dewey (1938) explains,

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101 equated to each other. For some experiences are mis educative. Any experience is mis educative that has the effect of arresting or distorting the growth of further experience (p. 25). I would suggest that the absence of a social sciences educational pathway inhibits youth from being allowed to grow in the ir conscientization. The absence of a social sciences educational pathway also stunts the process of the sociological imagination which would allow our young citizenry to lead change to mitigate the Colorado Paradox. This conscie ntization, as defined in Chapter One, is a critical consciousness that allows citizens to not only be awar e of sociopolitical phenomena, but also ignites action to ward sociopolitical phenomena. Educative experiences also have a sense of order a nd organizes experiences toward growth and development of the student. Specifically, ctivity that is not checked by observation of what follows from it may be temporarily enjoyed. But intellectually it leads nowhere. It does not provide knowledge about the ( Mills, 1959, p. 87). T hough moments of conscientization and brief educative experiences should occur within the social sciences, it would be much more effective to provide students with intellectually organized experiences in the social sciences; just like other career pathways This is why I am advocating for a social sciences educational pathway rather than simply a thread of social sciences curriculum. In order for us to expect our youth to be the next leaders to draft policy that mitigates a neoliberal lens and cultivates th e diminishing of the Colorado Paradox, they must be provided with real life educative experiences in the social sciences. Educative experiences in the social sciences must be intellectually organized in order to build their confidence in performing such ta sks as mitigating the Colorado Paradox and neoliberal academic and career

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102 development. Because of the aforementioned sociopolitical climate discussed, educative experiences within the social sciences are limited. Though Dewey ( 1938) does not utilize the word self efficacy, he is keenly aware of the intricate connection between education and experience. For instance, he writes, take it that the fundamental unity of the newer philosophy is found in the idea that there is an intimate and necessary relatio n between the processes of actual experience and 20). This is critical to my re search because many scholars indicate the importance of self efficacy within social cognitive career theory (Gushue & Whitson, 2006; Helms & Piper, 1994; Rollins & Valdez, 2006) As aspect of social cognitive theory that has received the most attention in the career literature involves self efficacy appraisals. Self efficacy refers to peop judgments of their capabilities to organi ze and execute courses of action required to attain designated the Colorado Paradox, the issue of self efficacy breaks down to discussions of confidence or avoidance of a youth to engage in academic and career related tasks in the social sciences. In order to better understand self efficacy, its connection to the Colorado Paradox and the relevance of a social sciences educational pathway, one must know how to build self efficacy and understand the basis from which it developed. Bandura (1986) suggests that career self efficacy is domain focused and is based upon four areas: verbal persuasion, vicarious learning, task performance and physiological arousal. Tang, Pan an d Newymeyer (2008) suggests that task performance and attempts made with the tasks is the most influential. Nauta and Epperson (2003) further the suggestion that experience with the tasks is critical to self efficacy

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103 ex periences are believed to lead to great self efficacy, and ability, learning experiences, and self efficacy (p. 449). This is why the implementation of a social sciences educational pat hway is pertinent not only to the Colorado Paradox, but to other social sciences phenomena. Students need to have educative experien ces in social sciences career related activities and tasks in order to lead to a higher self efficacy in approaching social sciences phenomena. self efficacy has positive benefits for not only individual career related tasks, but for our communities as a whole. Ban dura (1982), along with Rollins and Valdez (2006) argue that those with higher self efficacy do not only engage wi th career related tasks, but also are more confident in overcoming barriers they may face along their experiential journey. Specifically, self efficacy are not easily discouraged when faced with aversive experiences. Their eff orts to overcome obstacles may in fact increase. However, those with low self efficacy expectation tend to avoid activities they are uncertain about succeeding at and give up easily when problems rtain career decisions within the social sciences sector because of the lack of academic and career development within the social sciences as a high school student. Particularly my self efficacy was not high in engaging in academic and career related tasks within the social sciences, not only because of the absence educative experiences within the social sciences, but also because of a lack of ethnic identity development. S elf eff icacy and Identity Development The discussion of ethnic identity develop ment and self efficacy were not completely absent from the literature discussion of social cognitive career theory, but it

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104 was not at the forefront of the purpose nor methodology. Lent, Brown, and Hackett, (2000) suggest that self efficacy is influenced by factors such as race, gender, class, family background and learning experiences. But, while this is acknowledged in the SCCT model, it is not put at the forefront of the research. Race, gender and class are discussed in the literature as distal or proxima l contextual factors (Helms & Piper, 1994). Scholars (Gushue & Whitson, 2006; Helms & Piper, 1994; Rollins & Valdez, 2006) have been unveiling this gap in the literature in recent years and have made attempts to conduct studies that focus on race, gender a nd class to fill this gap. Gushue and Whitson (2006) explain phasized the ways in which self concept itself is shaped by social contextual variables such as gender or ethnic identity and have highlighted the implic income students, the focus on ethnic identity development alongside self efficacy is vital. Within the SCCT and ethnic i dentity literature, scholars speak of ethnic identity. However, I will be using their analysis as a discussion of racial identity development to further corroborate this critical race theoretical research. Ethnic identity is often seen as simply an identit y marker whereas I would argue that we are all racialized and socialized in various ways regardless of our ethnic identities. Within the literature, ethnic identity appears to be of more significance in analyzing self efficacy more than socioeconomic sta tus. This is not to place hierarchies of oppression (Lorde, 1983), but simply to provide analysis of the literature and to experiences. Rollins and Valdez (2006) corroborate this th rough their case study analysis

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105 in which they determined that African American adolescents from Black households with higher educational backgrounds, jobs, and higher income than White households also fail to perform and, This acknowledges the relevance and the existence of intersectionality in identities and experiences as it relates to socioeconomic status and ethnic identity. It also validates the relevance of ethnic identit y at the forefront of this conversation concerning academic and career Some scholars such as Gushue and Whitson found that ethnic identity was not positively correlated with self efficacy particula rly when students are from a homogenous environment. Gushue and data failed to support the hypothesized relationship between ethnic identity and self efficacy and outcome expectations. Perhaps there was a restricted range of ethn The acknowledgement of this phenomena occurring within homogenous environment will be sociopolitical envir onment because the aforementioned school districts are not homogenous. These districts have student populations that are rather racially and socio economically mixed. In reflecting upon the 2013 per pupil student count from the Colorado Department of Educa tion, 82% of students in Aurora Public Schools are students of color. Within this district, it is well known that there ar e over 120 languages spoken in this school district. But, this is not a homogenous group of students. In Denver Public Schools, 79% of the student population are students of color and yet again not a homogenous group of students. Lastly, in Cherry Creek Public Schools, only 45% of the student population are students of color and are from many different ethnic backgrounds.

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106 Knowing that s tudents of color are significant portions of the aforementioned school districts, yet not from one particular group, the discussion of neoliberalism and ethnic identity becomes increasingly relevant. The discussion of correlation of what Rollins and Valdez students of color. Racism is also a variable that has been noted as missing from the social cognitive career theory literature. Rollins and Valdez (2006) determined that related t o racism and career planning have not been addressed. African American n d career problems could be plac theory of self efficacy would further t his argument by acknowledging neoliberal policy making as a barrier to academic and career development for students of color. Fine and Ruglis (2009) would have experien ced. The perpetuation of invalidation of their lived experiences. self efficacy & Subich 2006). These are experiences of discrimination and the effects thereof that which ignores matters of race and the complexities of sociopolitical phenomena, would suggest that eir racial identity levels and self efficacy However, research shows that parents who were more vocal rather than passive about vicarious experiences, had students who had higher racial identity l evels. In other words: [Y]outh whose families transmitted active rather than passive attitudes about discrimination would demonstrate higher self efficacy Results confirm that the

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107 transmission of active orientations was associated with a greater sense of personal self efficacy development of minority youth. (Rollins & Valdez, 2006, p. 180) As a woman of color, I concur that once my eyes were open to more active orientations of my vicarious experiences, I had more confidence not only professionally as an educator and student, but also personally within my informal circles of friends and family as well. Having a heightened understanding of how to cope with neoliberal thinking and policies allowed me opportunitie s to intellectually organize my thoughts in how to productively combat this phenomena. Higher levels of racial identity have been shown to be positively correlated with higher academic skills and even coping skills with racism. This is further substantiate d in the literature because ethnic identity also have better reasoning ability and higher academic grades. Other research shows that individuals with an achieved ethnic identity have more positive self esteem, have better ps ychological health, and most important, have better coping skills to Rollins & Valdez, 2006, p. 182). In light of this information, it is imperative that our students be provided opportunities to actively orient themselves towards an ach ieved ethnic identity. An achieved ethnic identity is known as the order to know how to change social phenomena it is important to first have a depth of understanding of who we are and our histories. Conclusion identities can contribute to mitigating the Colorado Paradox and coping with the neoliberal mindsets that have cultivated and maintained the Colorado Paradox. Academic and career devel opment and the instability thereof must be

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108 addressed al ongside the discussion of racial identity development. Dewey ( 1938 ) notes that we, as educators, must pass forward the knowledge from o ur educative experi ences to prevent mis educative experiences We, as Coloradoans, must do right on be half of our youth from research based perspectives that elevate and validate our youth of color to mitigate the Colorado Paradox. Continuing to discuss self efficacy as it relates to academic and career development witho ut racial identity development, is inevitably & Subich 2006; color. A social sciences educational pathway would allow for the intellec tual organization of ideas and educative or even mis educative experiences necessary for reflection. The logic around the progressive organization of education that Dewey (1938) speaks of is an evident foundation for the need to c ultivate educative experiences within the social been done so as to extract the net meanings which are the capital stock for intelligent dealing with further experi ences. It is the heart of intellectual organization and of the experiences within the social sciences in an educative matter will increase their ability to mitigate social sc iences phenomena such as the Colorado Paradox. The next chapter will discuss a Social Sciences Institute that I created as a step forward toward creating educative 20 schooling experiences. This Institute provided opport unities for youth to expand their social capital with professionals within the social science professional arena. It also allowed for

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109 lls, 1959). This inevitably allowed for a spark of conscientization and cultivation of self efficacy concerning career options within the social sciences.

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110 CHAPTER VII FOURTH SHIFT IN THE SOCIOLOGICAL IMAGINATION: ANALYSIS OF A THE SOCIAL SCIENCES INSTITUTE There is first the shift of emphasis from the history of institutions and ideas to the concrete behavior of peoples. There is sec ondly. .a tendency not to study one sector of human affairs alone but to relate it to other sectors. .There is third a preference for studying social situations and problems which repeat themselves rather than those which only occur only once. And finally there is a greater emphasis on contemporary rather than on historical social events. ( Mills, 1959, pp. 61 62) Introduction sociological imagination interpretive analysis regarding a Social Sciences Institute I created in order to provide an educative e xperience for students interested in social science academic and career development. Though the Social Sciences Institute is not an event with findings that can com plexities that youth face as they navigate their P 20 experiences; particularly youth interested in pursuing social science degrees and careers. As discussed in earlier chapters, it is necessary for students to have educative exper iences in order to build their self efficacy The week long Social Sciences Institute provided an opportunity for students from different racial and socio economic backgrounds to come together to learn about

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111 themselves and sociopolitical phenomena within our communities. The students who participated in the institute were primarily from Aurora Public Schools with a few from De nver Public Schools. The students had the opportunity to choose the workshops they wanted to attend that suited their interests and workshops were offered simultaneously. allowed students to attend a workshop they may have wanted to attend while attending another workshop. Some of the presenters, like the Superintendent, School Board Member, and State Representatives had the opportunity to address the students altogether. T here was also a college trip associated with the Social Sciences Institute that allowed the students to experience a college classroom setting concerning various sociopolitical issues from access to public health to the criminalization of youth of color. T his is an educative opportunity that I endeavor to research further and continue to develop to focus on social science academic and career development that the youth served desire to experience. ocial Scientists? Given my limited exposure to the wide array of academic and career opportunities within the social sciences, I thought a law degree was the most efficient way to mitigate sociopolitical phenomena. A law degree, I believed, would give me t he ability to fight for social justice, but also provide me with prestige and credibility within the community. Though a law degree can provide this type of professional experience, it was not the academic and career development that suited my social justi ce interests. Swartz had a similar experience in that he went to law school and was trained as a lawyer, but later realized this was not the academic and career development he desired to cultivate the next

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112 generation of social scientists. In fact, during h is academic and career development from Similar to Swartz, I have always identi fied with the youth I have worked with that have fallen victim to the school to prison pipeline. Thus, as a lawyer, I would not have been able to engage them in a direct educative manner as I do now. As I have matured and navigated my P 20 schooling experi tackle issues of injustice. Given this knowledge that I had gleaned over the years, I wanted to ensure that our next ge neration of social scientists and activists had this knowledge earlier in their academic and career journeys. Thus, I created a week long educative experience entitled the Social Sciences Institute. The purpose of the institute was to bring youth from diff erent racial and socioeconomic backgrounds together to discuss, learn, and engage with various issues that we as social scientists grapple with daily. This was an opportunity for youth to meet professionals and policy makers within the field of social scie nce that focus on issues from the school to prison pipeline to the Bilings, 2006). Some of the workshop titles included, but were not limited to: Are You Living Up to Your Full Potential? Community Advocacy and ASSET Human Services and the Juvenile Justice System Legal Studies Legislation and the Social Sciences Navigating Career Interests Post secondary Support as a Career Psychology as a Business Psychology Evaluation and Case Study

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113 Race in Urban Education Social Entrepreneurship and Family Advocacy Social Entrepreneurship and Teen Advocacy Social Work for Child Welfare Teaching Social Justice What Does a Teacher Look Like? These workshops were facilitated by professionals and p rofessors who engage with sociopolitical phenomena for a living from many different angles as shown from education to psychology. As an African American social scientist, it was important that the majority of the facilitators be people of color and those w ho are working toward transformational praxis. It was important to me that students see knowledge disseminated from not only different social science perspectives, but also different racialized and gendered perspectives as well. This defies the status quo of academia and the Colorado Paradox which reflects whites and women as the majority of professionals working within the social sciences. Some of the professors who attended are teacher educators or critical legal scholars such as: Drs. Jarrod Hanson, Antw an Jefferson, Cheryl Matias, Omar Swartz, and Shelley Zion (see appendices for biographies) Other professionals through non profits, advocacy organizations and/or busines ses that they have created as a means for social justice for particular populations. Some of these professionals were: Tyrone Beverly, Christina Brackett, Tameka Brigham, Randy Craven, Jennifer Douglass, Benzel Jimmerson, Rita Lewis, Jason Shankle, Blanca Trejo etc. Some of the community organizations represented at the Social Sciences Institute were: Center for Culturally Responsive Urban Education (CRUE) Colorado Advancing Students for a Stronger Economy Today (ASSET) College in Colorado Diversity Dynam ics Family Leadership Training Institute

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114 Higher Education Access Alliance (HEAA) New Legacy Charter school Research Advocacy in Critical Education (R.A.C.E.) Young Aspiring Americans for Social and Political Activism (YAASPA) University of Colorado Denver Experiential Learning Center etc. The target population was high school students who were interested in potentially majoring in areas within the social sciences such as: anthropology, criminology, education, ethnic studies, international studies, sociology, political science, public health, personnel as well as through students sharing about the opportunity as well. The students were giv en a survey when recruited for the institute, so I could create an educative experience that mirrored their academic and career interests (see Appendix for survey). The students were primarily recruited from Aurora Public School district. As I recruited the students, I learned that there is much more to learn and research from my Social Sciences Institute because of stories like these: Students : Thank you for creating this institute. There usually is not any sort of summer opportunities for students like us who want to be lawyers, police officers, or social workers and learn about social justice stuff. Me this either which is in part why I created this opportunity for you guys. There are so many different career opportunities outside of law that you guys w ill learn about as well. Students : Really Mrs.!? Me : Yes, you will have opportunities to meet with people who have created businesses to help the community, professors who teach about social justice issues, and of course from areas that you all choose on your surveys. Students : Wow Mrs! This is awesome. I am so excited about this!

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115 Meeting with students from different communities and schools who had similar sentiments concerning the need for social science educative experiences was encouraging and empowe trajectory and that after conducting a Social Sciences Institute, further research would need to be done in order to be able to one day make the findings generalizable to the public. However, the reflections of the students from the workshops that were conducted, concerning th e presenters and the workshop experiences. So cial Sciences Institute Student Reflections Though the reflections from the students are not generalizable to the public, they should be discussed for potential, future implications for social science educative experiences. After each workshop, the students had an opportunity to reflect upon the knowledge gleaned from the presenters (see Appendices). The students were not required to state comments about the workshops in their reflections, but it was highly enco uraged. positive and demonstrated a positive experience with the presenters and their p eers. From reviewing the reflections, there were four themes that stemmed from their experiences: 1) by students reflecting upon fears and/or acknowledgement of a personal issue. 2) Self efficacy was cultivated by students reflecting their interests and confidence in trying social science careers. 3) Intersectionality in identity and racial equity was reflected upon by students sharing their similarities or differences with issues of ra ce.

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116 4) Educative experiences were reflected upon by students discussing realizations and/or brie f moments of conscientization. the workshops. Some the statements are di rectly correlated with the four areas while others are loosely correlated to these areas. First, the theme among the statements that ar, acknowledgement of an issue within a workshop they could relate to and/or an opportunity presented to explore themselves self efficacy was shown to be cultivated among the group through statements that acknowled ge confidence, consideration, and/or a heightened understanding of what they found they like and/or would not like to do for a career. Third, the students reflected upon racialized issues and experiences within the institute directly and indirectly. Someti mes the students would say statements that were racialized due to who was facilitating the conversations. Many of the workshops concerning race were presented by facilitators of color. This had an impact on some of the students and this was expressed with embracing issues of race, but also signs of discomfort with issues of race. Lastly, there were brief moments of conscientization in which students reflected upon their educative experiences and were motivated, enlightened, and/or increased their awareness of their abilities to cultivate change. Again, though these reflections cannot be generalized to the general public, the Social Sciences Institute demonstrated the potential for such an experience to be a foundation toward creating a social science educational pathway and/or courses within such a pathway. The

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117 in Table Five: Table 5: Social S ciences Institute Student Reflections students experienced were shifted toward students reflecting upon fears and/or acknowledgement of a personal issue Self efficacy was cultivated by students reflecting their intere sts and confidence in trying social science careers Intersectionality in identity and racial equity was reflected upon by students sharing their similarities or differences with issues of race Educative experiences were reflected upon by students discussin g realizations and/or brief moments of conscientization I liked hearing others experiences Just answered my fears concerning life after college This taught me to get up when I fall Helped me explore myself more It was nice being self aware of what I appreciate most from people It was fun and I got to speak my mind Talked about reality + how to interpret others perspectives Good conversation, but difficult to listen to based on personal experience I could relate to the things talked about thing will be I really enjoyed learning I c an have a job that I love! Helped me realize more of what I really want as a career Taught me how to make a career decision based upon interests you want Really solid strategies offered to choose career and majors based on individuals Learned about careers and how much education it takes Learning about myself will help me decide on a career I enjoy It helped me realize what I wanted to major in [It] was a handful, but full of pride Talked a lot about policies and how to Great conversation about race and gender [Taught] me how is a teacher It was cool to learn new words to use when talking about race and racism I learned some perks and privileges I had not u ndocumented, it really opened my eyes topics of immigration actually happening inspiration[al] real life stories It was interesting to learn about people Motivated me to do something now It was nice and [opened] my eyes a little bit It just got me thinking about what I really want for my future! The workshop was eye opening Was really enlightening and great [exercises] It was very informational and [creative] Made me think deep about some things Motivated me to get a job and get involved Got me thinking It was very cool learning about [truth] and reality I really liked learning how we can have a voice in our community

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118 students experienced were shifted toward students reflecting upon fears and/or acknowledgement of a personal issue Self efficacy was cultivated by students reflecting their intere sts and confidence in trying social science careers Intersectionality in identity and racial equity was reflected upon by students sharing their similarities or differences with issues of race Educative experiences were reflected upon by students discussin g realizations and/or brief moments of conscientization [focused[ on what your chasing after It was interested to see how he [succeeded] even after his parents passing I really liked it because I could relate very easily Interesting! Opened new doors considering working in Human Services I l iked learning about how social workers deal with problems It was cool to learn about [state representatives] I liked the simulation of a real court battle Makes me become an attorney It was nice seeing two sides of the actual case [I] wanna be a futur e counselor It was a fun not really into business Woke up my other dream of [entrepreneurship] He showed me why I enjoy social studies thing Big issues affecting us [in] USA concerning race She taught about [racism] in e verything Not my kind of thing, but I do like helping out in the community The whole idea of empowering Racism can go on and on I learned how to have a courageous conversation exists today Maybe this is something that [calls] for my attention Showed us how the juvenile system works and how perspective really affects a verdict Really taught me how to make a change; it takes time Might volunteer I really liked learning how we can come together as a community and make change I ca n make a difference by being a leader I now know that my one voice can make a difference He taught me what I did not know vision + current reality solving the gap

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119 self efficacy and acknowledging racialized issues can lead towar d moments of conscientization. The Social Sciences I nstitute models the possibilities of educative experiences that can be created within the social sciences. These social science educative experiences could lead to the creation of classes and/or an actual social sciences educational pathway. In fact, based upon the Social Sciences Institute, I have created a class entitled Civic Engagement in the Social Sciences (see appendices). This class serves as a longer version of the Social Sciences Institute in which students have the opportunity to learn about how to be civically discipline takes place through teaching students. it is i mportant to recognize and embrace our occupational roles as educators. Within our professional roles, scholars should write and teach for social influence to advance a radically democratic political hat I decided to embark on the opportunity to teach this course as an extension of the Social Science s Institute as well because it enables me to reach students I would not have been able to otherwise reach. Courses like this and a social sciences educatio nal pathway would benefit not only youth of color and lower socio aforementioned brief moments of conscienti zation to materialize into a lifetime of conscientization and critical praxis where reflections connect to actions (hooks, 1994). Conclusion

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120 The Social Sciences Institute was an opportunity for students to experience a educative experien ce geared toward social science academic and career social justice issues, the students had an opportunity to engage with critical preneu attention from an engaged citizenry. The students had the opportunity to learn of the when fighting for transformationa l praxis within our communities. But, though sociopolitical challenges were addressed within the Social Sciences Institute, there were also victories and seeds of empowerment planted within the students as well to build their self efficacy within pursuing social science degrees and careers. It is these seeds of empowerment that will cultivate the next generation of social scientists. But more importantly, it is these type of educative experiences within the social sciences that can help youth be able to rem ain committed to transformational praxis. The next chapter will

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121 CHAPTER VI II IMPLICATIONS FOR The purpose of this chapter is to share implications for critical praxis. This is critical to academic and career development research because it is important to denote that this is not, as Dewey (1938) that is this conversation should not be from either end of the spectrum from focusing on best practices from a theoretical lens to labor market trends. This discussion of academic and career developme nt in a Colorado Paradox climate is very much a conversation about best practices, innovation, and acknowledgement of the labor market as a whole. Best practices and innovation are critical to the mitigation of the Colorado Paradox and for ensuring that st udents are being offered academic and career development in growing job markets. However, the labor market should not be the sole dictator of the innovation and best practices for academic and career development. To suggest that the labor market should be the sole source of dictating academic and career development is to support an

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122 I would argue that the innovation and best practices have the ability to drive the market; especially in a state like Colorado that is know n for entrepreneurship. As noted in earlier chapters by Cronin and Loevy (2012), Colorado is well known among the nation Colorado economic growth and business innova tion, Colorado ranks 2 nd in innovation and entrepreneurship. This entrepreneurship and innovation should be cultivated among our youth in an intellectually organized way through a social sciences educational pathway. To simply offer business as a pathway i nept of a social sciences unleashed through the sociological imagination to mitigate issues like the Colorado served to monopolize jobs for specialized groups o f workers and thus insulate them from 91). It is critical that we not continue to that Collins (1979) speaks of that was at the forefront of the creation of public education. Rather, I am seeking to cultivate a generation of youth through a progressively organized social sciences educational pathway that will allow for the growth and creation of effective, innovative and en trepreneurial minded individuals to mitigate issues like the Colorado Paradox through direct impact. With the compounding effects of neoliberal impact on the achievement of our youth, the Colorado Paradox has continued to exist. It

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123 an be championed in an innovative way that is inclusive of a social sciences educational pathway to cultivate the conscientization necessary to mit Exposure of National Labor Market and Degrees Conferred In discussions I h ave had with colleagues in the education sector, the notion of labor market driven academic and career development versus student driven academic discussion, but rathe r a discussion of how to work effectively to support academic and people in the academic and career development arena have justified and argued for STEM, health, and busi ness based career pathways because of the labor market growth associated with these areas. In discussions with educational and policy professionals, there is the myth that there is not a social sciences educational pathway, perhaps due to a lack of growth within these areas. In looking at the data from the National Center for Education Statistics and the National Bureau of Labor Statistics (NBLS), data shows that not only is there growth within these areas, but students are conferring many of the degrees wi thin the social sciences. The National Bureau of Labor Statistics provides labor data analysis by employment and also provides projections of growth to 2022 within the respective job sectors as well. In light of the data shown about employment that stems

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124 f rom social sciences degrees, the NBLS provides data that supports the need to provide a social sciences educational pathway for students. Some areas within the social science arena that show growth are Political Scientists, Social Assistance and Community and Social Service occupations. Below, in Table 6, are some areas that reflect growth within the social scien ce arena at the national level: Table 6 : Projected Job Growth in Social Sciences from 2012 to 2022 Major Growth Anthropology 19% faster than average Counseling Psychology 12% as fast as average Criminology (see sociology) 15% faster than average Education 19% faster than average Ethnic Studies (see teaching) 19% faster than average Political Science 21% faster than average Psychology 12% as fast as average Public Administration 21% faster than average Public Health 10% as fast as average Social Sciences (see teaching) 19% faster than average Sociology 15% faster than average National Bureau of Labor Statistics Much of the employment is within the government, education, and technical professional sector. Given this information, it is critical to note that many of the students who are social sciences majors may not end up neatly within the exact career fields typi cally associated with their majors. An example of this is someone like myself who earned a double major in Criminology and Political Science. As mentioned earlier, rather than going to law school, I was attracted to the education sector and had the opportu nity to work with youth who had dropped out of high school, were in foster care, and who may

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125 engaged. The educational background in the social sciences allowed me to carry the lens of the sociological imagination with me in how I served and advocated for youth in education and policy. What are the Most Popular Majors for Post secondary Students? Response: Of the 11, the greatest number of degrees were conferred i n the fields of business (365,000), social sciences and history (177,000), health professions and related programs (143,000), education (104,000), and psychology conferrin g degrees within the social sciences. This shows that there is a supply and demand to provide social science educative experiences to help students navigate their academic and career development. In looking at the Colorado sociopolitical climate, it is int eresting to see the conferred degrees that are in the areas that Colorado has deemed important for academic and career development. Within the aforementioned districts, there have been many efforts to expand STEM to STEAM which is inclusive of the arts. So me examples of schools that have this model within the three schools districts are: Lotus Schools of Excellence, Vista Peak Preparatory, and Aman STEAM Academy which will open in the 2015 2016 academic year. In the table below, the numbers reflect the amou nt of degrees conferred in various fields of study. The table is not exhaustive as there are fields of study that are not included such as: agriculture, architecture, English, foreign languages, language and literature, library science, etc. These were not included because I wanted to simply be inclusive of fields of study that reflect the Colorado approach to academic and career development along with areas I would advocate for to

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126 cultivate a social sciences educational pathway. Interdisciplinary thinking and the acknowledgement of intersectionality within our identities is needed to mitigate issues social sciences, ethnic studies, multi/interdisciplinary studies, and public administration, and social services should be added to the academic and career development options for our students. As discussed in Chapter Four, there has been a trajectory of neoliberal academic and career development from our policy makers. Thro ugh the lens of the sociological imagination and the cultivation of a social sciences educational pathway, public administration could equip students to navigate policy making toward the goal of mitigating the Colorado Paradox. Also, as shown in Chapter Si x, self efficacy is positively correlated with ethnic identity development. Ethnic studies is pertinent to academic and career development, and critical for the unveiling of counter narratives. Table 7 below shows the growth of conferred degrees over time within the academic and career development areas of interests within the school districts discussed in Chapter Five along with areas I would advocate for within the social sciences:

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127 Table 7: National Center for Education Statistics Fields of Study and Degrees Conferred Field of Study 1970 1971 1980 1981 1990 1991 2000 2001 2011 2012 Are a, ethnic, cultural, gender/ groups studies 2,579 2,887 4,776 6,160 9,232 Biological and biomedical sciences 35,705 39,482 60,576 60,309 95,849 Business 115,396 200,521 249,165 263,515 366,815 Communication, journalism and related programs 10,324 51,650 58,013 83,274 83,770 Education 176,307 108,074 110,807 105,458 105,785 Engineering 45,034 63,642 62,448 58,209 81,382 Health professions and related programs 25,223 63,665 59,875 75,993 163,440 Homeland security, law enforcement and firefighting 2,045 13,707 16,806 25,211 53,767 Legal professions and studies 545 776 1,827 2,003 4,592 Liberal arts and sciences, general studies, and humanities 7,481 21,643 30,526 37,962 46,925 Math and statistics 24,801 11,078 14,393 11,171 18,842

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128 Multi/interdisciplinary studies 6,324 12,986 17,774 26,478 45,716 Physical sciences and science technologies 21,410 23,936 16,334 18,025 26,663 Psychology 38,187 41,068 58,655 73,645 108,986 Public administration and social services 5,466 16,707 14,350 19,447 29,695 Social sciences and history 155,324 100,513 125,107 128,036 178,543 Visual and performing arts 30,394 40,479 42,186 61,148 95,797 National Center for Education Statistics In looking at the information in Table 7, there are some analyses that are worthy of discussion. One is the fact that visual and performing arts combined with liberal arts still do not add up to the number of degrees conferred within the social sciences. T his is interesting because there has been emphasis, as mentioned, to include arts within STEM education. If we were to make academic and career development recommendations based upon the trends that exist, a social sciences educational pathway should clear ly be part of the conversation. Communication is another area that has been added as part of the arts within career pathway education yet only 83,770 degrees were conferred by students in 2012 compared to 178,543 in social sciences and history. I would sug gest an increase in the awareness of the relevance of a minor or 2 nd major within Ethnic Studies. This is a suggestion I would make because of the knowledge that self efficacy is correlated with achieved ethnic identity. This will allow students to enter t he workforce with an increase in confidence to fulfill academic and career tasks to not only reach their full potential, but Colorado Labor Market Context

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129 The National Bureau of Labor Statistics (NBLS) also tra cks information regarding comparative analysis of employment data by state. Comparing the employment data by state allows us to better understand the relevance and gap in academic and career development in the social sciences in Colorado. This further corr oborates my claim that though other career pathways have been created to mitigate the Colorado Paradox, there is a gap in academic and career development for students interested in pursuing degrees and careers in the social sciences. A social sciences educ ational pathway has been interestingly enough, a social sciences educational pathway has been neglected even though Colorado employs many people within the sectors that provide assistance and support to education and our communities. In May of 2013, Colorado among over 14 states like California, Texas, Virginia, Florida, and New York, employ the majority of social scientists according to the NBLS. It is peculiar to note that neig hboring states such as Utah, Oklahoma, and New Mexico do not employ as many and are at the bottom rankings of employment for social scientists. Many employed within the Community and Social Services occupations are living in the state of Colorado as well. The Community and Social Services occupations include, but are not limited to; vocational counselors, mental health counselors, social workers, probation officers, community health workers etc. Many of these workers are within the government and educationa l sector as well. Colorado is not among the highest of states to employ these workers, but is among the 2 nd highest of states to employ between 23,000 to 41,000 employees in this sector. Again, neighboring states such as Idaho, Utah, Oklahoma and Kansas ra nk lower than Colorado concerning the number of people employed within this sector. This comparative analysis

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130 demonstrates that Colorado is in a unique position compared to its neighboring states. This also points to the fact that cultivation of a social s ciences educational pathway would be culturally relevant for our state as well. A social sciences educational pathway would provide for educative experiences for the many youth that are likely to earn degrees within the social sciences and pursue employmen t in sectors that employ people from this type of educational background. Just as students are provided educative experiences within the areas of STEM and health care, they should be provided with educative experiences within the social sciences as well. S tudents are being cultivated within STEM and other areas in order to be prepared for the job market, but yet our youth interested in academic and career development within the social sciences are not being provided equitable opportunities to increase their self efficacy The job market at a national and state level show that a social sciences educational pathway is not only culturally relevant, but needed if we expect our youth to be the future leaders and critical change t hrough their conscientization. As a woman who has continuously experienced the consequences of neoliberalism within my academic and career development, it is vital as an African American social scientist to produce scholarship that is reflective of theory in practice. Collins (1979) speaks of is not what is going to mitigate the Colorado Paradox nor provid career development they need to build their self efficacy If I had an achieved ethnic identity and self efficacy in the social sciences, I would have experienced the

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131 conscient ization (Freire, 1970) necessary to mitigate social and political issues not only experienced by me, but experienced vicariously within our communities as well. My ability to reflect through research and scholarship is a privilege that is not being expande d to our youth with the current academic and career development opportunities provided through the aforementioned career pathways. This type of conscientization (Freire, 1970) capital stock for intelligent dealing with further experiences. It is the heart of intellectual al pathway in order conscientization. It is up to us as educators and social scientists to provide academic and career development models that value intellectual transformation that can be experienced within the social sciences. To not provide a social sciences educational pathway is to invalidate the value and relevance of the degrees and professions within the social sciences. Giroux (1988) speaks of our schools as the embodiment of what we as citizens deem culturally relevant. Pa rticularly for purposes of and career development is reflective of the existing and non existing career pathways within our schools. Giroux (1988) argues: values that are particular selections and exclusions from the wider politics and power, schools actually are cont ested spheres that embody and express a struggle over what forms of authority [and] types of In reflecting upon this knowledge, I would call upon us as Colorado citizens, educators, so cial scientists and policy makers, to organize a social sciences educational pathway for

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132 our youth to cultivate their self efficacy in the field of education, cannot continue to allow our youth to be at the receiving end of neoliberal ensure that our educative experiences are passed on to the nex t generation. It is our duty sparked within us. As a social scientist of color, I have had the privilege of experiencing the critical world view to produce scholars Theory in practice will lead us as Colorado citizens, youth, educators, social scientists, and policy makers toward conversations and Conclusion This theoretical research provi des a strong foundation of what I envision as a for the purposes of racial equity and social justice. Our youth will be the future leaders to This research has provided a critical theoretical interpretive approach to how a youth who is interested in s ocial science degrees and careers may navigate their P 20 schooling sociopolitical complexities youth may face within their P 20 schooling experiences, I used critical soc ial science and critical race theory as a theoretical foundation because it

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133 addresses the intersectionality of race, class, and gender within our experiences. These stude nts of lower socio sociopolitical environment. I used critical race methodology with the methods of Yosso sto sociological imag ination. Critic al race methodology allows me to place my story in a larger sociopolitical context and to interpret my racialized experiences alongside my P 20 schooling experiences as I navigated my academic and professional trajectory as an African American, female soci al scientist. Counter storytelling allowed me to embed my story of in his sociological imagination p racialized sociopolitical phenomena. As a reminder the four shifts within the sociological imagination are as follows: There is first the shift of emphasis from the history of institutions and ideas to the concrete behavior of peoples. There is secondly. .a tendency not to study one sector of human affairs alone but to relate it to other sectors. .There is third a preference for studying social situations and probl ems which repeat themselves rather than those which only occur only once. And finally there is a greater emphasis on contemporary rather than on historical social events. ( Mills, 1959, pp. 61 62) Specifically speaking, through the lens of the four shifts, I was able to first, demonstrate 20 schooling experiences, their P 20 schooling experiences and those who are particularly interested in social science degrees and careers. Third, I reflected upon a phenomena that repeats itself which

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134 is youth not having the necessary educative experiences within the social sciences to mitigate racial micro aggressions and racial battle fatigue. But, particularly, I reflected upon research that shows a positive correlation between an achieved ethnic identity and a self efficacy Lastly, I unveiled a Social Science s Institute I created as a potential model to replicate to begin providing social science educative experiences for students in their P 20 experiences. Providing these type of educative experiences have the self efficacy within the social sciences and within their racial identities, s within racial identities, and catalyze conscientization within students within their P 20 experiences and their sociopolitical environments. These are the educative experiences I needed in my P 20 schooling experiences to navigate not only my social science academic and career development, but also to illuminate the possibilities of healing praxis necessary to cultivate the next generation of social scientists.

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135 REFERENCES Aurora Group. (2013). Vista Peak pathways. Retrieved February 19, 2013, from http://pathways.wpengine.com/what is pathways/ Aurora Public Schools. (2012, April 10). Earn free col lege credits while attending School. Pace Setter Program. Retrieved April 12, 2013, from http://aurorak12.org/schools/concurrent enrollment/pacesetter program/ Adolin o, J. R. & Blake C. H. ( 2011 ) Comparing Public Policies. Issues and Choices in Industrialized Countries (Washington, DC: CQ Press). Journal of Educational Philosophy and Theory 36, 121 137. Aurora Group. (2013). Vista Peak pathways. Retrieved February 19, 2013, from http://pathways.wpengine.com/ Bandura, A. (1977). efficacy : Toward a unif Psychological Review, 84, 191 215. Bandura, A. (1986). Social foundations of thought and action: A social cognitive theory. Englewood Cliffs, N J: Prentice Hall. Bell, D. (1992). Faces at the bottom of the well : the permanence of racism. New York: New York. Basic Books. Beimler, J. (2003, Nov. 11). Brain drain cities attract educated young. Washington Post. Retrieved from http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp dyn/A17201 2003Nov8?language=printer Cities and geographies of actually existing in The Blackwell City Reader Oxford: UK. (Ch. 45). Cherry Creek School District #5. (n.d). Retrieved March 22, 2013, from http://www.cherrycreekschools.org/Pages/default.aspx Critical Pedagogy. (n.d.). Retrieved February 18, 2013 from http://withfriendship.com/images/i/43222/Critical ped agogy image.jpg Collins, R. (1979). The rise of the credential system. In R. Collins, The credential society: An historical sociology of education and stratification (pp. 90 130). New York: Academic Press. Collins, P. (1991). Black feminist thought: knowledge, consciousness, and the politics of empowerment. New York: New York. Routledge, Chapman and Hall, Inc.

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13 6 Cronin, T. & Loevy, R. (2013). Colorado politics and public policy: Governing a purple state Lincoln, Nebraska: University of Nebraska Press. Denver Public Schools. (n.d). List of schools. Retrieved March 27, 2013, from http://www.dpsk12.org/schoollist/default.aspx#schooltype7 DeLeon A.P. (2008). Are we simulating the status quo? Ideology and social studies simulations. Theory & Research in Social Education 36(3), 256 277. doi: 10 :1080/00933104.2008.10473375. Du Bois, W.E.B. (1903). The souls of black folk. Chicago: A. C. McClurg. Fine, M., & Ruglis, J. (2009). Circuits and consequences of dispossession: The racialized realignment of the public sphere for U.S. youth. Transforming Anthropology, 17( 1): 20 3 Florida, R. (2002, May). The rise of the creative class. The Wash ington Post Retrieved from http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/features/2001/0205.florida.html Freire, P. (1970). Pedagogy of the oppressed New York, New York: Continuum. Freire, P., & Shor, I. (1987). A pedagogy for liberation. London, United Kingdom: MacMillan. Giroux, H. A. (1983). Theory & resistance in education: A pedagogy for the opposition. New York, New York: Bergin Y Garvey Publishers. Giroux, H. A. (1988). Teachers as intellectuals: Toward a pedagogy of learning West Port, Conneticut: Bergin and Garvey. Giroux, H. A. (2006). Academic freedom under fire: The case for critical pedagogy. College literature, 33 (4), 1 42. Retrieved fro m http://web.ebscohost.com Gushue, G.V & Whitson, M. L. (2006) The relationship of ethnic identity and gender role attitudes to the development of career choice goals among black and Latina girls. Journal of Counseling Psychology 53(3), 379 385. Gushue, G.V & Whitson, M. L. (2006) The relationship among support, ethnic identity, career decision self efficacy and outcome expectations in African American high school students: Applying social cognitive career theory. Journal of Career Development, 33, 111 124.

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137 Haddix, M. & Sealey Ruiz, Y. (2012). Cultivating digital and popular literacies as empowering and emancipatory acts among urban youth. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 56(3), 189 192. doi : 10.1002/JAAL.000126. Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom New York, NY: Routledge. (Ch. 3) Ladson ering: A critical race analysis of critical pedagogy, in: P. Freire (ed.), Mentoring the Mentor: A critical dialogue with Paulo Freire (New York, Peter Lang). Ladson and colonial Torres, & T. Mitchell. (Eds.) Sociology of Education. New York: Sunny Press. Lent, R.W., Brown, S. D., Hackett, G. (2000). Contextual supports and barriers to career choice: A social cognitive analysis Journal of Counseling Psychology, 47 36 49 Matias, C. E. (2005). The development of the colonized Filipino with a capital f. Race, Ethnicity, and Education New York & London: Routledge. Matias, C. (2013 ). dangerous minds of White teacher candidates. Teacher Education Quarterly New York & London: Routledge. Life in Schools New York: Pearson Education, Inc. pp. 193 219. McLaren, P. (2006). Life in schools: An introduction to critical pedagogy in the foundations of education (5 th ed.). New York, New York: Allyn & Bacon. Mendez v. Westminster 64 F. Supp. 544 (1946). Mills, C.W. (1959). The sociological imagination. New York, New York: Oxford University Press. Nauta, M. M., & Epperson, D. L. (2003). A longitudinal examination of the social cognitive model applied to high school girls' choices of non traditional college majors and aspirations. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 50, 448 457. Neuman, W.L. (2011). The meanings of me thodology i n social research methods 7 th Ed. NY: Allyn Bacon.

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138 Peck, J. (2005). Struggling with the creative class. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 29, 740 770. Rollins, V.B, & self efficacy in Journal of Black Psychology Sage Publications. Ruthven, M. (2011). Colorado Department of Education. Guidelines for providing evidence for eligibility of ASCENT. Phinney, J. S. (1992). The multi group ethnic identity measure: A new scale for use with diverse groups. Journal of Adolescent Research 7 156 176. Shapiro, H. S., & Purpel, D. E. (Eds.). (1998). Critical social issues in American: Education transformation in a post modern world (2 nd ed.) Mahwah, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Shor, I. (1992). Empowering education: Critical teaching for social change. Chicago, Illinois: The Un iversity of Chicago Press. Simpson, K (2013, November 5). Amendment 66 school tax measure goes down in defeat Retrieved from http://www.denverpost.com/breakingnews/ci_24461186/colorado tax school tfinance amendment 66 rejected Sirota, D. (2013). In These Times with Liberty and Justice for All. Teachers were never http://inthesetimes.com/article/15849/teachers_were_never_the_problem/ Sixty ninth General Assembly. (2013). Concerning the creation of a manufacturing career pathway for Colorado, and, in connection therewith making an appropriation. http://www.leg.state.co.us./billsummaries the campus racial climate in a post A long way to go: conversations about race by African American faculty and graduate students. New York: New York. (Ch. 16). Solrzano, D., Ceja, M. & Yosso, T. (2000). Critical race theory, r ac ial m icroaggressions and campus racial climate: the experiences of African American college s tudents. Journal of Negro Education 69 (1/2), 60. storytelling as an analytical Qualitative Inquiry. 8:3. Stephen, S. (2013). States seek high school pathways weaving academic, career

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139 options. Education Week online, 32 (29), 1 16. Retrieved from http://0web.ebscohost.com.skyline.ucdenver.edu/ Storms, S. B. (2012). Preparing students for social action in a social justice education course: what works? Equity & Excellence in Education 45 (4), 547 560.do i: 10.1080/10665684.2012.719424 By eformstau : The remarkable rise of renewable German Politics. (pp. 148 163). Routledge, Francis, and Group. Super, D. E. (1990). A life span, life space approach to career development. In D. Brown & L. Brooks (Eds.), Career choice and development: Applying contemporary approaches to practice (pp. 11 20). San Francisco: Jossey Bass. Swartz, O. (2006). Reflectio ns of a social justice scholar. In O. Swartz (Ed.), Social justice and communication scholarship (pp. 1 19). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Swartz, O., Campbell, K., & Pestana, C. (2009). Neo pragmatism, communication, and the culture of creative democracy New York, New York: Peter Lang Publishing. Tang, M., Wei, P. & Newmeyer, M. (2008). Factors Influencing High School Students' Career Aspirations. Professional School Counseling 11, 285 295. Tatum, B.D. (2003). Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? A Psychologist Explains the Development of Racial Identity Basic Books, New York: NY. [Chapters 1 2, pp 3 28]. Thompson, M. & Subich L. (2006). The relation to social status and career decision making. Journal of Vocational Behavior. 69, 289 301. Valdez, J.N & Rollins, J. B. (2006). Perceived R acism and C areer self efficacy in African American A dolescents Journal of Black Psychology 32, 176 198 Zion, S. (2007). With the end in mind: I ncluding student voice in school reform. Unpublished report.

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140 Appendix A : Social Sciences Institute Application SPONSORS SOCIAL SCIENCES INST ITUTE JUNE 16 TH 20 TH DO YOU WANT TO LEARN HOW TO HELP PEOPLE A ND CREATE CHAN GE FOR YOUR CAREER? INTERESTED IN HANDS ON EXPERIENCES IN PSYCHOLOGY, CRIMI NOLOGY, POLITICAL SCIENCE AN D OTHER SOCIAL SCIEN CE DEGREES? INTER ESTED IN VOLUNTEER O PPORTUNITIES OR INTERNSHIPS? COMP LETE THIS APPLICATIO N. CONTACT INFORMATION Student Name Grade Entering this Fall School Attending Phone Number E M ail Address AVAILABILITY In order to get the full, fun filled experience, it is vital that you be able to commit during the hours of 9:30am to 2:30pm from June 16 th to June 20 th Please place a check next to the dates you can confirm attending. ___ Monday, June 16th ___ Tuesday, June 17 th ___ Wednesday, June 18th

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141 ___Thursday, June 19th ___Friday, June 20 th INTERESTS Do you participate in any political and/or social action organizations at your school? Yes or No? If yes, which ones? Do you believe you can make a difference in the community socially and politically? Why or why not? D o you know where you want to attend college? If so, where do you plan attend ? I f you were given an opportunity in degree, wh ich areas would you study ? Circle all that apply: a. Anthropology f. Sociology b. Criminology g. Social Sciences c. Economics h. Political Science d. Ethnic Studies/Cultural Studies i. Psychology e. Inte rnational Studies j. Other:___________________ Circle any of the following jobs/career areas you are interested in: a. Lawyer j. Teen Parent Advocate s. Probation/Parole Officer b. k. Reproductive Rights t. School Dropout Analyst c. Soci al Worker l. Child Advocacy u. Foster Care d. Police Officer m. Education v. Homeless Support Services e. Crime Analyst n. Economist w. Occupational Therapy f. School Counselor o. Community Health x. Youth Advocate g. School Psychologist p. In School Behavi or Specialist y. Environmental Studies h. Victim Advocate q. Psychologist z. Gender Studies i. Social Entrepreneur r. Cultural/Ethnic Studies Other:____________________

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142 DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSIONS: MAY 26TH JOIN US: AURORA CENTRAL HIGH SCHOOL 11700 E. 11TH AVENUE AURORA, CO 80010 JUNE 16TH JUNE 20 TH 9:30 TO 2:30 PM QUESTIONS AND/OR SUB MISSIONS TO: Name Janiece Z. Mackey Phone (Can call or text) (720) 254 0011 E M ail Address Janiece.mackey@yaaspa.net RELEASE OF INFORMATI ON AGREEMENT By submitting this application, I affirm that I am willing to commit and be an active participant in the Social Sciences Institute. (If submitted electronically, typing your name is sufficient for your signature). Any use of photographs, videos, commentary, quotes from individuals, and/or experiences during your time as a participant will be for the SOLE use of research, publishing and fundraising. Signing a release of information is necessary, before publishing and/or using any Parent Name (printed) Parent Signature Student Signature Date OUR POLICY It is the policy of the partnering organizations to provide equal opportunities without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual preference, age, or disability. Thank you for completing this application form and for your interest.

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143 Appendix B: Social Sciences Institute Flyer

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144

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145 Appendix C: University of Colorado Denver Faculty Workshop Presenter Biographies Faculty listed in alphabetical order: Jarrod Hanson, J.D. My arrival at the field education in some ways felt like coming home. I have educators in my family, with my father working as a teacher, principal and superintendent of schools, and my sister as a middle school teacher. When I finished college, I we nt another way and pursued a career in law. That path took me to Cleveland, Ohio, where I worked with an amazing group of colleagues in the field of public finance. During that time, however, I spent time each week tutoring middle school students in math a nd science (and showing them that lawyers can like math and science and find those subjects useful!). These experiences reminded me of how much I enjoy teaching. After four years of the law, I decided to become a teacher. The decision to be a teacher led me back to Denver, and I started teaching high school social studies in Denver Public Schools. During my years of teaching, I found myself working with thoughtful and talented people who cared deeply about students. I discovered that teaching involved a l ot of learning, and that experience sparked my desire for more education. I left the secondary school classroom to pursue more education at the University of Colorado Boulder. That brings me to the University of Colorado Denver, where I teach classes about social studies teaching methods. Engaging in the practice of teaching teachers feels like coming back to my family roots. As I think about the classes that I teach here and what I want students to think about when they leave, I hope it is that the teacher candidates continually ask the question about education that my father taught me to ask: Is this best for the students? me, and hopefully my students, of how comp lex and beautiful teaching can be. http://www.ucdenver.edu/academics/colleges/SchoolOfEducation/FacultyandResearch/Pa ges/JarrodHanson. aspx Antwan Jefferson, PhD It seems like a trick question to try to tell my own story. My earliest memory is playing with a battery powered triceratops with glowing red eyes with my brother Mike. The dinosaur could us pointing it to the exciting endeavor nonetheless. I was one then, maybe two, and it is the only memory I have of my mother and father in the same home. My next ear liest memory is when I am five or six, and by then we are living in a single parent home. To be honest, I think that this single parent home environment speaks most to my research interests and professional interests. ntil I was 19. Prior to that time, I only wanted to be a in Atlanta th at I thought of education as a possible career field, and it was a simple comment from a student at Booker T. Washington High School that my mental gears began to spin:

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146 a career in education because he was getting what I was giving, and I believed him. After six years in high school classrooms in Providence, Rhode Island; Norfolk Virginia; and here in Denver, I stepped away from the classroom to work in a local church as the youth pastor. I saw this as a chance to give me a bit of a reprieve from the physical and emotional costs of working with five sets of 25 30 students per day. Since stepping away from the hat families are important to me as well. Becoming a doctoral student at CU Denver has helped me develop perspective about the work that I can do with families and schools, especially those families that often are not seated at the tables where decisions a re made for their children. As a member of the faculty in the Urban Community Teacher Education program, I have a see it as my work to lead my students. Instead, I see my work as inviting teachers to take an important journey toward seeing diverse schools, students and families through new lenses, contexts and experiences. I see my work as a journey with them into our own and different lived experiences. Sometimes th is requires me to navigate, other times it requires me to observe, and at still other times it requires me to jump in first. http: //www.ucdenver.edu/academics/colleges/SchoolOfEducation/FacultyandResearch/Pa ges/Antwan Jefferson.aspx Cheryl Matias, PhD I was born and raised in Los Angeles where public schools adhered to standardized curriculum and pedagogies devoid of any social anal ysis or recognition of race relations. As such, the daily lived racial experiences of students of color, as myself, were ignored and inherently deemed unimportant, thus forcing students of color to find development of their racial identity at alternative e ducational structures (i.e. on the streets of Los Angeles.) As a former public school teacher in both Los Angeles Unified School District (South Los Angeles) and New York City Department of Education (Bedford Stuyvesant), I observed the same phenomenon hap pening to my Black and Brown students. Notwithstanding the raceless effects of standardized curriculum, I designed a standards based history curriculum on the on the symbiotic development of racial identities of Black, White, Latino/Chicano, and Asian Pacific American high school students. By translating Critical Race Theory (CRT) into K 12 pedagogical and curricular practices, my students had access to lingua franca a nd concepts to better analyze race in society and bridge that understanding to their positive development of their own racial identities. Analyzing race in society is just one of the many layers to my research agenda and identity. Subscribing to the princ iples of CRT, I acknowledge the intersectionality of class, gender, sexual orientation, and all forms of social, ideological, and political oppression. As a female faculty of color (Pinay) and motherscholar, I continue to struggle towards social justice in all realms of our society for the hope of a better fuller humanity. I am the faculty coordinator of Research Advocacy in Critical Education (R.A.C.E.), a new think tank and support system for

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147 Coloradan researchers, activists, staff and students committed to justice and advocacy in critical education. Contact engageR.A.C.E.UCD@gmail.com for more information. http://www.ucdenver.edu/academics/colleges/SchoolOfEducation/FacultyandResearch/Pa ges/CherylMatias.aspx Omar Swartz, PhD What grounds my scholarship is my concern for social justice. I situate my research in three content areas: criti cal theory, popular culture, and legal/political systems. The vast majority of my work draws upon the philosophies of Richard Rorty, Michel Foucault, Friedrich Nietzsche, and other critical and cultural theorists to explore the intersection of structural a nd rhetorical limitations (as well as opportunities) that permeate society and which can be discerned in, among other places, popular, disciplinary, and legal cultures. Whether I am writing on the novelist Jack Kerouac or the United States Constitution, di sciplinary practices in communication or Rortys political philosophy, I am directly or indirectly applying socially engaged scholarship to critique our social practices in order to make them more sensitive to fundamental human needs. This programmatic them e to my scholarship is driven by three general questions: (1) What would a society committed to social justice look like? (2) How can the United States (among other countries) better work toward this ideal? (3) In terms of the field of communication, how c an a communication and legal perspective contribute to the construction of such a society? https://clas.ucdenver.edu/directory/faculty staff/omar swartz Shelley Zion, PhD My career in education began not in schools, but as a social worker with youth who had been adjudicated delinquent. I found myself working with amazing young people, with brilliant minds, who had never experienced success or connection in school. I realized t hat the one place that all children must come is to school, and that working to improve schools in ways that ensure the unique strengths, skills, and experience that all children bring are valued, respected, and used to facilitate their participating in so ciety was the best way to provide access for my kids. I enrolled in the Ph.D. program and the University of Colorado Denver, graduating in 2007. My work has focused on three levels: on a policy level, I work with school leaders to improve and inform the ways that schools are constructed so that they provide equitable opportunities for all students; as an educator I teach both inservice and preservi ce teachers to understand the influence of culture and class, power and privilege on the curriculum, pedagogy, and practices they employ; and finally, with students to join marginalized students in empowerment and emancipation so that students learn who t hey are, what they want, and how to get it. I taught classes in the initial teacher licensure program at CU Denver for nearly seven years, before transitioning to teaching in the Leadership for Educational Equity Doctoral Program in 2009. I also teach MA l evel coursework related to critical pedagogy and student voice, and through my work in Continuing and Professional Education am responsible for developing programs for in service teachers and school leaders to improve and expand their skills and practice.

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148 http://www.ucdenver.edu/academics/colleges/SchoolOfEducation/FacultyandResearch/Pa ges/ShelleyZion.aspx

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149 Appendix D: Socia l Sciences Institute Workshop Evaluation Form Social Sciences Institute Scale Survey Please Circle the Appropriate Day for this Survey: Monday Tuesday Thursday Friday Gender : For each item identified below, circle the number to the right that best fits your judgment of the workshop quality Survey Item Scale P o o r Good E x c e ll e n t 1. Workshop Name: 1 2 3 4 5 Comments: 2. Workshop Name: 1 2 3 4 5 Comments: 3. Workshop Name: 1 2 3 4 5 Comments: 4. Workshop Name: 1 2 3 4 5 Comments: 5. Workshop Name: 1 2 3 4 5

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150 Comments: 6. Workshop Name: 1 2 3 4 5 Comments:

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151 Appendix E : Civic Engagement in Community and Career Course Themes Course Shell Example Title: Civic Engagement in Communit y and Career Themes Time Allocation: 12 weeks of class Themes: Identity Development Civic Literacy Academic and Career Self efficacy Civic Engagement 12 Weeks Student Focused Themes Student Focused Reflections from Past Participants Week 1 Identity Development how everything she went through put things in Week 2 Identity Development Student Quote: about myself will help me Week 3 Identity Development nice being self aware of what I appreciate most Week 4 Civic Literacy how to have a courageous Week 5 Civic Literacy was very interesting and I learned how change takes

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152 Week 6 Civic Literacy and new way to think about Week 7 S elf eff icacy learned how to have a courageous Week 8 Self efficacy memorable moment was when I was asking questions to the college students about their challenges and stuff. [And] the long discussion with the professor was very e ducative and opened my Week 9 Self efficacy to hear about something I Week 10 Civic Engagement liked learning how we can come together as a community and make a Week 11 Civic Engagement enjoyed learning that I have power. I can make a difference by being a Week 12: Final Week Civic Engagement: Reflection This will be captured from the students, after the 11 week experience. Dewey no tes that reflection is the heart of intellectual organization.