Extraordinary Lives of Ordinary People: Oral Histories of (Mis)Educational Opportunities in Challenging Notions of Achievement

Yoon K. Pak, Suzanne M. Reilly and LaTasha Louise Nesbitt (eds)

Published by Diversity in Organizations, Communities & Nations, a book imprint by Common Ground Publishing

Format Price
Book: Print $US40.00
Book: Electronic $US15.00

In this edited collection, we privilege the use of oral histories to grapple with the complexities of the patterns and legacies of educational (under)achievement. The oral histories featured underscore the power of missed or stolen opportunities as marked by one’s race, gender, and socioeconomic class. As historical subjects shaped by the particular time and place of their early childhood and adult experiences (such as Jim Crow segregation in the South, Cold War, civil rights, and women’s movement in the United States and Australia), they note the strict racial language and gendered codes that inhibited the full range of not only their educational potential, but their full human potential. In spite of such structural means aimed at failure, the narrators also reveal a pattern of educational and community achievement, broadly conceived, to pave future legacies for success. Where quantitative studies fall short, these histories necessarily embed the rich layers of the processes by which we live and through stories. Stories mark our past, present, and future. Insomuch as they create the sum of all our parts, it also provides important placeholders to understsand the context of who and why we are.

Keywords: Educational Achievement, Oral History and Education, Achievement Gap, Educational Opportunity, Oral History Methods, Race, Class, Gender

Book: Print (Hardback). Book: Electronic (PDF File; 4.412MB). Published by Diversity in Organizations, Communities & Nations, a book imprint by Common Ground Publishing.

Dr. Yoon K. Pak

Yoon K. Pak, PhD, is an associate professor in the Department of Education Policy, Organizaton and Leadership and Core Faculty in the Department of Asian American Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She specializes in the history of education, higher education, and Asian American Studies.

Dr. Suzanne M. Reilly

Suzanne M. Reilly, PhD, is a faculty member in the Social Sciences Division at Green River College. She specializes in the history of education.

Dr. LaTasha Louise Nesbitt

LaTasha Nesbitt, PhD, is a leading motivational public speaker in the areas of education and personal development. She is the author of "Unfinished Business: Tragedy, Truth, and Triumph: A Life Application Memoir."


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