Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2023

Course Description

This is an upper-level Sociology elective course with a social science and power, privilege, and diversity (PPD) designation. This course is also cross listed in the Education Studies Department. Pedagogically, this course will be instructed through an interdisciplinary and intersectional lens. As such, we will explore how schools in the U.S. (from early education to post-secondary institutions) promote structural barriers and individual inequities for society’s already marginalized students while advancing others. We will center the schooling experiences and learning outcomes of BIPOC, immigrant/non-Native, and undocumented students as those are central to our understanding of the myth of meritocracy and progress of educational attainment. More specifically, we will explore how school-level processes, such as tracking, segregated learning spaces, and cultural capital, play a role in exacerbating the carceral state; a process referred to as the school-to-prison pipeline. The course begins with an overview of some key issues in education. From there, we explore how racism, sexism, ableism, classism, and gender bias become commonplace within schools. We will end the course by examining what we can do as scholars to transform educational spaces for all students across different learning contexts, changing landscapes, and varying needs through a transformative, abolition framework. NOTE: In this course, we will be tasked with engaging in personal reflection at every stage of engagement with the material.

Student Outcomes

  • Understand how inequalities (e.g., race, gender, class, ability etc.) dwell within learning spaces of purported meritocracy and advancement
  • Dispel the myth of progress within U.S. educational institutions (from early schooling through post-secondary)
  • Explore the structural, cultural, and familial factors that shape and influence BIPOC, non-Native, and undocumented students’ learning outcomes and schooling experiences
  • Examine the utility of abolition as a framework for improving the organization of schools/learning outcomes of BIPOC, non-Native, and undocumented students