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Title:Un camino de conocimiento: a marimacha's meditation on an LGBTQ inclusive charter school
Author(s):Diaz-Kozlowski, Tanya
Director of Research:Mayo, Cris
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Mayo, Cris
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Brown, Ruth Nicole; Hood, Denice W.; Villenas, Sofia; Pillow, Wanda
Department / Program:Educ Policy, Orgzn & Leadrshp
Discipline:Educational Policy Studies
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQ)
Chicana feminism
Abstract:This dissertation critically examines Java High, an LGBTQ inclusive charter school, using ethnographic methods to inquire if this school creates an institutional architecture that cultivates more positive academic and non-academic outcomes for LGBTQ youth. Java High is located on the north west side of the Midwest urban city of Hatfield and was established in 2005 as a public instrumentality charter school that serves approximately 175 students who can enroll by choice or force. The vision and ultimate creation of an LGBTQ inclusive charter school is implicated in the context of educational reform efforts that have become saturated with the ideology of neoliberalism pointing to an ongoing legacy of tensions between identity and school politics. Therefore, this dissertation sits at the nexus of the relationship between schools and society and offers a perspective on the evolving role schools can play in recognizing and better serving a growing heterogeneous LGBTQ student population. At the same time this study broadens the scope of the four dominant strands of LGBTQ research in education: decreased the pathologizing of LGBTQ sexualities, increased visibility and recognition of LGBTQ people, understanding spheres of intersecting student identities, and increased attention to institutional climates and experiences of LGBTQ youth in K-12 schools by generating new knowledges (theories, practices, curriculum, and policies) about how the architecture of a school can impact academic and non-academic outcomes of LGBTQ youth in secondary schooling. I made a decision to use an interdisciplinary approach to investigate Java High using what I call a queer Chican@ feminist lens; effectively opening up possibilities for me to think about and think through conceptualizations of LGBTQ inclusivity, at-risk youth, and school connectedness which emerged as significant themes during data collection and contribute to the three significant findings of the project overall. My findings reveal the intentional creation of an LGBTQ inclusive charter school opened up possibilities for positive academic and non-academic outcomes for students who identify as LGBTQ as well as those students who do not. My findings also indicate the conceptualization of at-risk youth was mapped on to LGBTQ and students of color differently at the same time curricular attempts to connect at-risk youth to Java High broke down intermittently as the cultural frameworks that students of color brought with them to school were not bridged to academic learning. Overall my findings underscore the LGBTQ inclusivity operating within Java High produced ambiguous and diffused effects; effectively pointing to the significant challenges and tensions that arise in organizing an educational institution through a particular framework of inclusivity in order to remedy a web of inequalities marginalized youth face. Lastly, this dissertation contributes methodologically to the field of qualitative studies by theorizing about what happens in the fleeting moments the ethnographer and the ethnographic “others’” bodies, genders, and racialized sexualities intersect; bringing to the forefront the methodological dilemmas of the politics of representation and the power relations embedded within the qualitative research process. In this dissertation I tell stories through my eyes as a marimacha researcher purposefully creating new knowledges that refuse deficit tropes of at-risk youth.
Issue Date:2015-07-15
Rights Information:Copyright 2015 Tanya Diaz-Kozlowski
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-29
Date Deposited:August 201

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