"Interrogating the Infrapolitics of College and Career Readiness: Negotiating Professionalism and Representation"
PhD candidate Miguel Abad will be presenting his research to the Education Center for Research on Teacher Development and Professional Practice (Center) on Thursday, May 17, 12:00-1:00 pm, in Education Building Room 3216: "Interrogating the Infrapolitics of College and Career Readiness: Negotiating Professionalism and Representation."
For the past two decades, the concept of college and career readiness (CCR) has provided a technocratic framework to addressing educational inequality in the United States. In this era of hyper-accountability and quantification of educational discussions and policymaking, CCR has become a generalizing principle for ameliorating educational inequality. For example the CCR framework has become entangled with disperate educational policy and practices from character development to STEM education. In this way, CCR represents a broader project to standardize and enshrine the specific types of competencies that not only index technical skills and academic ability, but also employability and character. Within this milieu, community-based youth development organizations have become essential pathways through which such interventions are delivered to young people within economically marginalized and racialized communities. This project is based upon an 18 month critical ethnographic study of a community based college and career readiness program in the context of an predominantly-immigrant community in Southern California. The program served high school aged Latinx and Vietnamese youth and was staffed mainly by first generation Latinx college graduates. Concepts such as “professionalism” and “social competence” were central to how college and career readiness were co-constructed by youth and youth workers. At the same time, the program also functioned as a site of hidden transcripts and infrapolitics where interlocutors grappled with the ideological and political implications of CCR. Some youth participants interrogated, critiqued and resisted the concepts of social competence and professionalism by highlighting the power dynamics inherent within such constructs. While youth workers also recognized these tensions, they also related social competence and professionalism in their own educational and work experiences as a means towards surviving withinin traditionally White institutional spaces.
Mr. Abad is a third year PhD in Education student specializing in Educational Policy and Social Context (EPSC). His research interests include college and career readiness, out-of-school time, community based youth organizations, respectability politics, character development and whiteness, political economy and neoliberalism, and politics of diversity and multiculturalism. He is advised by Professor Gilberto Q. Conchas.