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NEPC’s March Education Interview of the Month Features a Discussion About the Educational History of Harlem

BOULDER, CO (March 26, 2020) – In this month’s NEPC Education Interview of the Month, NEPC Researcher Christopher Saldaña interviews Ansley T. Erickson, an associate professor of history and education policy at Teachers College, Columbia University, and Ernest Morrell, the Coyle Professor in Literacy Education and director of the Center for Literacy Education at the University of Notre Dame. They are co-editors of Educating Harlem: A Century of Schooling and Resistance in a Black Community.

In Educating Harlem, a multidisciplinary group of contributors explore the educational history of Harlem from the diverse ideological and political perspectives woven into Harlem’s community. The book reveals that, despite the diversity in perspectives within Harlem, there is a persistent and enduring commitment to providing educational opportunity.

Educating Harlem showcases analyses that draw upon the histories of parents, youth, teachers, and community members. It provides a richly detailed account of how these contributors offered hope and opportunity by drawing upon and helping strengthen Harlem’s many assets. Erickson and Morrell explain how at times ideological and political diversity led to tensions and community conflicts, such as those between labor organizations and community members, but out of these conflicts sprung new ideas, programs, and organizations, such as the Harlem Youth Unlimited Opportunities youth program, the paraprofessional program, the small schools movement, and the Harlem Children’s Zone.

Erickson and Morrell explain that Educating Harlem, along with projects such as the Harlem Educational History Project, is part of a broader effort to include community and youth voices in critical histories of communities.  Drs. Erickson and Morrell argue that history can be a powerful tool for communities, both to remember what has been accomplished and to imagine what is possible.

A new NEPC Education Interview of the Month, hosted by NEPC Researcher Christopher Saldaña, will be released each month from September through May. 

Don’t worry if you miss a month. All NEPC Education Interview of the Month podcasts are archived on the NEPC website and can be found here.

Coming Next Month

In April, Chris will be speaking with Dr. Frank Adamson, an assistant professor of education at the California State University of Sacramento. Dr. Adamson is an expert in the privatization of public education in international contexts. He has more recently begun to examine the emergence and growth of these privatization policies in public education in the United States. *Note: this scheduling was changed to due the pandemic. Dr. Adamson is scheduled for May.

Stay tuned in to NEPC for smart, engaging conversations about education policy.

The National Education Policy Center (NEPC), a university research center housed at the University of Colorado Boulder School of Education, produces and disseminates high-quality, peer-reviewed research to inform education policy discussions. Visit us at: