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Presuming Incompetence: Decolonizing Epistemologies of Deficit Thinking by Rebeca Burciaga

Presuming Incompetence: Decolonizing Epistemologies of Deficit Thinking by Rebeca Burciaga Email Message from local administrator: “Hi Rebeca, […] Do you know of anyone at SJSU who is an expert on Latino issues in education maybe in the area of decolonizing epistemology?” My thoughts as I read the email: I have known this school administrator for five years and I’ve discussed my work with her on this very topic, so why was she looking for someone else? Perhaps I need to be more clear. I have “this nagging preoccupation of not being good enough.” I decided not to respond to her email immediately because I was not sure if she did not remember our conversation, or because she presumed me incompetent and wanted to speak with someone else. I am becoming more accustomed to seeing surprise when I tell people I am a faculty member – their faces convey a clear message that I am not the one they are expecting. There are assumptions people make about what professors look like – I am not a White male. A must read. Here’s a condensed bio of Dr. Burciaga: Rebeca Burciaga is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and a member of the Core Faculty for the Ed.D. in Educational Leadership in the Connie L. Lurie College of Education at San José State University. Dr. Burciaga’s research centers on understanding and challenging educational practices and structures that (re)produce social inequalities for historically marginalized communities, including/specifically Latino students.  Her research in schools and communities spans over 20 years and includes mixed-methods research on pathways from preschool to the professoriate, the experiences of students who leave high school before graduation, and the ways in which geographic regions structure inequalities. She specializes the study of qualitative research methodologies including testimonio and ethnography. Her current research and teaching is focused on cultivating asset-based mindsets in teachers and administrators that work with youth of color.  Dr. Burciaga is a co-founder and co-coordinator of the Institute for Teachers of Color Committed to Racial Justice. She has an undergraduate degree from the University of California at Santa Cruz, a master’s degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and a Ph.D. in Education from the University of California at Los Angeles.  Her research has been supported and recognized by the Spencer Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the National Institute of Health, and the American Association of University Women. Her most recent scholarship can be found in Equity & Excellence in Education, the Association of Mexican American Educators Journal, and the Educational Administration Quarterly.

November 30, 2014 November 30, 2014 deficit thinking, implicit bias

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