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Stuck in the Shallow End: Education, Race, and Computing

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Overview

The number of African Americans and Latino/as receiving undergraduate and advanced degrees in computer science is disproportionately low, according to recent surveys. And relatively few African American and Latino/a high school students receive the kind of institutional encouragement, educational opportunities, and preparation needed for them to choose computer science as a field of study and profession. In Stuck in the Shallow End, Jane Margolis looks at the daily experiences of students and teachers in three Los Angeles public high schools: an overcrowded urban high school, a math and science magnet school, and a well-funded school in an affluent neighborhood. She finds an insidious "virtual segregation" that maintains inequality. Two of the three schools studied offer only low-level, how-to (keyboarding, cutting and pasting) introductory computing classes. The third and wealthiest school offers advanced courses, but very few students of color enroll in them. The race gap in computer science, Margolis finds,
is one example of the way students of color are denied a wide range of occupational and educational futures. Margolis traces the interplay of school structures (such factors as course offerings and student-to-counselor ratios) and belief systems --
including teachers' assumptions about their students and students' assumptions about themselves. Stuck in the Shallow End is a story of how inequality is reproduced in
America -- and how students and teachers, given the necessary tools, can change the system.

The MIT Press

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Students of color may be stuck on the educational 'shallow end' now,
[Margolis] writes, but it is possible to end their segregation through systemic reform." Education Week

The MIT Press

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780262514040
  • Publisher: MIT Press
  • Publication date: 4/30/2010
  • Pages: 216
  • Sales rank: 182,277
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 8.70 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Jane Margolis is Senior Researcher at UCLA Center X at UCLA's Graduate School of
Education and Information Studies. She is the coauthor of Unlocking the
Clubhouse: Women in Computing
(MIT Press, 2002).
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Table of Contents

Foreword Shirley Malcom Malcom, Shirley

Introduction The Myth of Technology as the "Great Equalizer" 1

1 An Unlikely Metaphor: The Color Line in Swimming and Computer Science 17

2 Technology Rich, But Curriculum Poor 27

3 Normalizing the Racial Divide in High School Computer Science 51

4 Claimed Spaces: "Preparatory Privilege" and High School Computer Science 71

5 Teachers as Potential Change Agents: Balancing Equity Reform and Systemic Change 97

6 Technology Policy Illusions 117

Conclusion: "The Best and the Brightest"? 133

Afterword Richard Tapia Tapia, Richard 141

Appendix A Methodology: Process and Reflections 145

References 179

Index 195

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