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A Good Investment?Philanthropy and the Marketing of Race in an Urban Public School$
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Amy Brown

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780816691128

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816691128.001.0001

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Walk the Walk, Talk the Talk

Walk the Walk, Talk the Talk

Professionalism at College Prep

Chapter:
(p.62) 3 Walk the Walk, Talk the Talk
Source:
A Good Investment?
Author(s):

Amy Brown

Publisher:
University of Minnesota Press
DOI:10.5749/minnesota/9780816691128.003.0004

College Preparatory Academy teachers evaluate and grade students on their “professionalism” in each class using a point-based metric. This chapter examines how the school normalizes the discourse of professionalism to make college-bound students more marketable. It analyzes how the agency of College Preparatory Academy community members furthers or contests the school’s public image, and look at the school’s discourse of professionalism through the lens of the “political spectacle” of education policy (Edelman 1988; Smith et al. 2004). Based on school discipline records, as well as extensive participant observation, a student questionnaire, and interview data, this chapter centralizes the voices of students who resist the school’s version of performed professionalism. The chapter analyzes the race, gender, and class implications of College Preparatory Academy professionalism, and looks at the ways some students and staff members enact a critique. It places the curricula of professionalism into the context of the school’s image management project by arguing that professionalism silences critical conversations about racism, classism, or sexism because it furthers a meritocratic ideology that is grounded both in color blindness and in a deficit view of students. The chapter concludes by suggesting an alternative curricular model of professionalism, inspired by student and staff resistance.

Keywords:   College Preparatory Academy, professionalism, marketable, public image, “political spectacle”, voices of students, resist, silences, resistance, alternative curricular model

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