Notes on:  Mensah, F & Jackson I (2018). Whiteness as Property in Science Teacher Education. Teachers College Record DOI: 10.1177/016146811812000108.

[Long, repetitive. Data on how trainee teachers feeal uneases at teaching science, poorly connected to CRT and themes of Whiteness as property]

There is a problem with the retention of teachers of colour (TOC) especially in science. This study is on the experiences of those in preservice courses 'as they gain access to science as White property' and tried to engage in science as learners and teachers. They use surveys, observation journals, course papers and post course questionnaire and CRT ['utilising constructivist grounded ? during the initial phase of analysis and themes'] claiming that their 'unique voices of colour and positionalities enabled suitable interpretation. Representations of POC must be increased and science teacher education transformed. Structural forms of race and racism must be revealed through an examination of curriculum structure and pedagogy.

Disparities between the race and ethnicity of teachers and students is expected to increase with increasing diversity, for example with increased enrolments for Blacks and Hispanics and other ethnic minorities, and students of colour will 'surpass enrolment of White children by 2023. The biggest increases might be found in Hispanics and Asians/Pacific Islanders. Black students make up 15%. Teacher diversity is important. Many TOC want to teach in diverse and urban settings so the way in which they become multicultural educators is important — maybe they need programs that specifically include a multicultural approach although this is seldom found. Instead, it is more common to experience isolation and marginalisation in preparation and in schools and classrooms. Thus there is a 'high national turnover rate'(2), although other factors include school variables, low incomes, problems of low cultural and otherkinds of capital in schools.

The problem becomes particularly serious when looking at science teaching. The candidate pool of science teachers is already diminished, partly because fewer SOC major in STEM-CS [computer science], and those that do often leave or change majors — 48% of bachelor degree students had left by spring 2009. Although 'twice as many Asian as White Black or Hispanic students enter STEM-CS fields… Completion rates are lowest for Black and Hispanic students with only 16% of those in each of those groups… Earning bachelor's degrees' (3). The majority of POC college graduates do not enter teaching — only 15% of the workforce are Black or Latin@, and in some states there is a low diversity index.

TOC can build positive relationships and enrich science learning when interacting with SOC, and increase 'recruitment retention and professional development', although more research is required. Traditional methods of preparing to teach science 'are not overtly culturally relevant for SOC', because science is 'rooted in positivist thinking that restricts ways of knowing to a Western conception of knowledge… Learning environments are typically teacher centred and lecture-based, and curriculum and content generally devoid of multiple perspectives'. This has been seen as Eurocentric, with other ways of knowing and doing science as deficient, exposing the '"epistemological deficiencies"' of non-Western scientific ideas. These elements are found in the notion of '"good science education"' and must be contended with. Students must also 'confront an ideology of Whiteness applied to science… Views of science as a privilege and benefit for some and exclusionary for others'. Teacher education supports the status quo and the way it grants or denies access to content of knowledge and by 'not critiquing teacher education curriculum, knowledge or pedagogy to make them more relevant to students and TOC' (4).

There is a need to emphasise teacher education curriculum and pedagogy and also to understand the experiences of TOC, especially preservice ones (PTOC). Their experiences should be analysed. CRT can be a theoretical framework which centralises experiential knowledge 'and the unique voice of colour'. It also suggests 'the tenet of Whiteness as property as a lens to provide an historical racial analysis of the experiences of the 7 PTOC' as they discuss their past experiences in terms of race and racism and their current experiences, how they gain access to science learning and teaching. Overall, the theoretical framework suggests the notion of '"science as White property"'. (5)

Teacher preparation and science education lacks much theoretical grounding when examining diversity race and racism, and sySTEM-CSic racial inequities are often ignored. This leads many to 'subscribe to unspoken norms of Whiteness' and neglect the experiences of TOC and the impact racism has had on them. CRT offers one approach to seek this deeper theoretical understanding.

[CRT is summarised — legal studies and radical feminism, disillusioned with civil rights law, early activism, a summary of the central tenets from several sources { Solorzano, Zamudio et al, Del;gad and Stefancic} cf Arday2022. Zamudio et al further developed these into concepts or tools CRT to get a sharper focus within education and Delgado and Stefancic have pursued more analysis, so there are overlapping themes and concepts. Zamudio particularly stresses the importance of praxis to struggle for social justice.

Here they develop the experiences of their seven respondents as counter stories and develop themes of Whiteness as property to contextualise their experiences. This theme 'asserts that there are tangible aspects of life that White people claim as their own' (7) and thus can deny access to them. It was based on claims to land and labour as in Harris, and rights to use transfer and enjoyment were claimed in addition, leading to exclusivity as the core value. 'Over time' other concepts 'such as time, creativity and benefits of education' have become associated with property as in Ladson Billings and Tate on affluent neighbourhoods and unequal school funding, or tracking within schools. Any educational practices that 'continue to restrict or deny access for SOC or TOC' can be seen through the same lens — hence 'the phrase "science as White property"' [quite a leap here].

'Traditional, Eurocentric positivist teachings of science reified a White, male ownership of science' [almost a tautology] (9). There is a lack of representation of scientists of colour, and overrepresentation of White middle-class male scientists and this is 'consistent with Whiteness as property' this limits the teaching and learning of science as a right for SOC and other marginalised groups — 'women, students of poverty and students in low resourced urban and rural areas'. The right to use and enjoy science has historically only meant a 'disregarded and exclusionary view of science' rejecting indigenous knowledge and cultural frames of reference, excluding marginalised groups who were 'not allowed to make contributions, or not recognised for their contributions'. This is 'analogous to the property function of Whiteness'. The culture of science is one for the privileged, closed, foreign to the vast majority of student, and when it is made accessible pedagogy curriculum and content often discourage SOC because pedagogical practices 'still maintain the White status quo and cultural of power of Western modern science' this carries over into science teacher education.

Solorzano and Yosso have used CRT to look at teacher education. Others have noticed that preparation programs 'are most often designed to meet the needs of White female middle-class teachers' while TOC are left out. Even recommendations for diverse texts or teaching diverse students assume White teachers [but we know that most of them are White] this 'communicates that teacher education is the property of Whiteness and PTOC are excluded or not given much attention' (10).

PTOC often draw upon their own negative experiences of 'a smart non-emotional White male wearing glasses and a White laboratory coat'. They have often felt excluded or marginalised. So they 'lived within a perpetual cycle of alienation exclusion and inequity' including 'finding themselves in teacher education programs as White property'. The scenario illustrates: [a scenario? a kind of composite counterstory?]

As SOC at school they were alienated or did not have 'rich science learning experiences', maybe science is not even taught for they were taught by teachers who would not scientists and they were only offered the chance to complete worksheets, making science 'an interesting and unnecessarily challenging'. Where they were taught, 'the teacher was a mid to old aged White male and the learning environment was not engaging, the science content was boring and irrelevant, and the pedagogy was predominantly lecture style' [Mensah 2011b seems to be quoted here]. As they graduated they were not college ready for science or science related career and did not enter college ready to major in STEM-CS-nor a desire to be science teachers [so how did they become interested?]. As elementary teacher education candidates they are being prepared to teach 'in under resourced, racially ,linguistically and ethnically diverse school settings', often similar to the ones they attended themselves, where science is still taught sporadically if at all, but 'they want to teach science and see it is important' [why? Apparently they see it as 'important for students to learn, as they did not have rich science learning experiences themselves — now that would have been interesting to explore]. School placements often do not offer science as a high priority subject area, however and often operate with particular regimes or policies that 'prevent science teaching and learning from happening'[what might these be? There is some reference to 'reform based science'just above]. Now in college, they realise they are not ready for science, they note they were not properly prepared. they have often forgotten the little science they did learn and elected to take humanities and other fields. There are 'intimidated by science', then enter a teacher education which neglects science learning but are now charged with teaching a generation of learners. In the classroom 'they are less than casually committed to teaching science to their students' [not quite sure what this means — not even casually committed, or less casually committed than their own teachers were?]. Having a stronger science background would have set these teachers on a path leading to science -related careers, but as it is, 'another generation of students suffer' and lack the opportunity 'to participate in and now science connected, technologically savvy, innovatively engineered, mathematically minded, computer focused, modern world (11).

In addition to all this, 'there is a racial analysis that "presumes that racism has contributed to all contemporary manifestations of group advantage and disadvantage" (Matsuda, Lawrence, Delgado and Crenshaw 1993) that also shows up in the inequitable access to science' (12). It must result in alienation and exclusion because science is White property [it is presumed]. The cycle continues over many generations decreasing the number of students interested in science and this is a serious threat to educational equity and access. Institutional factors perpetuate race and racism and maintain inequity.

CRT wants to transform education 'to better serve the needs of all students' (12), and this means addressing the needs of PTOC in science education. Science is a civil right, and this should be a commitment to '"culturally informed pedagogies"' in science teaching. CRT can transform science teacher education by seeing race and racism are central and offering a deeper understanding of educational inequity. So the experiences of seven PTOC were analysed asking questions like: 'how does a multicultural science education calls help PTOC gain access to "science as White property"? What role did the instructor play in assisting the PTOC to gain "science as White property"?' [Well these are only going to lead to one conclusion, because they are so badly designed]. What happened to counterstories?

They studied students at a graduate level science methods course at a New York University, designed to orient PTOC to multicultural science teacher education and offer them practical applications through micro-teaching. These authors were the instructors and designers of the course and the course assistant and they also researched two semesters, citing Atkinson and Hammersley on all research being a form of participant observation [!], and acknowledging their positionalities and epistemologies as an influence [that can hardly be denied after the way the questions were framed].

They took an interdisciplinary focus on science and literacy over two semesters focusing on active engagement, collaborative and inclusive classroom learning, participation in laboratory activities, discussion of readings and teaching presentations. They tried to enhance engagement and knowledge with things like the NASA website and although they covered the content topics in the elementary curriculum they also made 'culturally relevant and interdisciplinary connections' (14). They acted as 'facilitators and active participants' joining discussions and encouraging learning from each other. They involved two partnership schools and taught 'field-based methods course' the assignment consisted of development teaching and reflection upon a lesson via micro-teaching. The trainees also wrote field-based assignments, did further micro-teaching and taught for four weeks as paired co-teachers.

[Lots of details of who they are and where ensue. There seems to have been tremendous effort to get a lot of data from the seven of them. Data analysis was similarly well over the top using 'constructivist grounded theory' (16), with everything 'read line by line and coded for emergent themes', a constant comparative method to generate a coding document, coding with interrater reliability between themselves, some triangulation and finally a post course questionnaire to clarify what they thought they found. Overall – guess what — 'there was evidence for notions of "science as White property" to be fruitful in describing' their experiences, found in all the narrative accounts and collective works, all the conversations in sessions. [The examples are much less easy to identify as indicating these themes, however — they seem to talk about various experiences of being minorities and the difficulties of identifying a science teacher, and maybe how things would have been different if they had had teachers that they could relate to, or how their earlier images held them back and how they were forced to think differently about teaching science (17)]

'The concept of Whiteness as property offered a robust way of viewing the data' after all the methodological efforts. There is still a claim that their understandings 'steered the process of data collection and analysis', although they pretty well knew what they were going to find surely? They did find that they could discuss the findings with each other and with their respondents and relate their own experiences to the findings, which enabled them 'to interpret the data from a CRT perspective. While 'our perspective also spoke to other tools of CRT, such as social construction or differential racialization due to having experiences in common, and giving attention  to antiessentialism from the centrality and intersectionality of race and racism' [?].

Positionality therefore also 'emerged as an important discovery', which implies that 'Professor positionality' is also likely to be important in gaining access to science as White property. These themes have reflected the 'theoretical and methodological lenses used in the study as a starting point' [indeed they have].

A CRT analysis was particularly helpful 'to explain the disconnect the PTOC experienced as learners of science' as they entered the course. Exampling draws this out — one felt she did often not have a voice in school and did not enjoy science and found the content unfamiliar. She was grappling to find her own '"culture of power in the field of science education in order for me to have a voice and a stance"' [pretty ambitious!]. Her views shifted over time and her positionality became stronger. She saw it as important for '"students of all backgrounds to have a shared experience with science"' (20). Shifting perspectives was also shown by other PTOC. Some questioned some taken for granted assumptions of teaching and learning, some explored the idea of science as White property, some thoughts about connections between student culture and science learning, connecting science to daily experiences through enquiry. One said that his previous experience was 'similar to the banking concept of education of Paolo Freire', and he saw the need to connect science to daily lives and interests, asking questions and challenging ideas, engaging in science.

Another PTOC transformed her thinking about access for underrepresented or marginalised groups, challenging dominant perspectives of who science was for. She realised that she was indeed a scientist and claimed her identity even though she did not feel she had yet '"the knowledge of content and executions/activities related to the content"' (21). She realised science could be enjoyable and relevant. Another was uncomfortable with teaching science at first because of her past experiences but realised that science could now encompass different things beyond the traditional notion.

All this showed that 'CRT allowed us to analyse how the PTOC struggled to claim science as White property' (22) [these are fully normal mundane reactions of anyone learning to teach science especially those who haven't done it before?]

[Then some repetition]. The PTOC had been challenged by experiencing science in the past as disconnected, uncomfortable, not addressing the questions and interests, being inaccessible, whereas new gains 'as White property' help them identify more with science teaching and feel more comfortable, even excited, gain a voice, develop personal connections, develop 'the right to use and enjoy science as White property'.

The positionality of the Prof seems important as well. They mean intersecting social variables 'such as gender, race, class, ethnicity, and religion among others' (23), which are 'multiple systems of oppression, with race fundamentally connected to them all'. The course was designed and taught by the first author, 'an African-American female who identifies as a scientist' who incorporated multicultural interdisciplinary approaches and experiential learning. She had a background in work as well as education. The second author was an African-American female doctoral student in urban education. She was not a scientist but was a course assistant placed in a partnership school. They set out to break 'the arbitrary boundaries that some students associated with science education' which, of course, 'reflected the Whiteness as property concept for science learning' (23). The instructors also showed alternatives to the normal views of science and a scientist: they were seen as 'a role model of who can do science.' (24)

They discussed 'culturally relevant teaching multicultural science education and readings by researchers of colour' (24), including some by the authors. And this was appreciated by the students. They shared personal experiences and did co-teaching. They appeared as someone that the students could relate to. They broke the stereotype. 'By her very presence, the Prof demonstrated that science was accessible and was all right for the PTOC's use and enjoyment. She enacted a critical reflexivity'.

There were ample opportunities to learn science for themselves and 'develop an identity as a science teacher' (25) and to learn from the professor's experience. Having a Black professor was unusual anyway. One participant was afraid that having Prof Mensah in front of them would actually prove the general statistics about race inequality wrong. Others thought it necessary for all teacher education peers to have a science Prof of colour.

The discussion reflects 'the language of CRT' and bangs home the two major themes — science as White property, and Prof positionaility. These are useful in 'privileging the voices of the seven PTOC' (27) and shows the need for further theorisation of CRT [with lots of  repetition]. All ends with pleas for more scientists of colour, challenging the traditional images. There is something about transformative curriculum, but this seems to amount to tinkering around with multicultural bits and trying to develop a more engaging pedagogy — we don't really tangle with the central critiques of Eurocentrism positivism after all. Not surprisingly professorial positionality looms large.

Still it goes on. Race and racism is enmeshed in American society and it is easy to overlook, but we must not do so if we are committed to social justice. White property in science is an important construct. We need further research. We must go beyond science education to interrogate and reveal race racism and power in curriculum and pedagogy generally so we need more research. Micro-teaching was very helpful, so were science days in classrooms. Above all we should consider 'not only how we prepare [teachers] but also who prepares them' (31) given 'the important role the race (among other variables) of the instructor plays in providing access'.

This fulfils the requirement in CRT for action and struggle, a whole vision to do away with inequitable social hierarchies. We must broaden the curriculum and change teacher preparation, adopt CRT as a framework to expose racism. Consider the past learning experiences PTOC and 'we have the opportunity to work toward "eliminating racial oppression as part of the broader goal of ending all forms of oppression"' by actively transforming teacher education.

[Long, repetitive and assertive. Flimsy connection between the sorts of problems that teachers face getting ready to teach a subject and their particular interest in science as a White property. Ambiguities at the level of practice as well — are they there to break the hold of Eurocentrism and positivism, or just think of more engaging ways to get people to feel at home in it? Ludicrous optimism about ending oppression through teacher education. It seems to end in a plea for more Black teachers again]