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THE PURPOSE OF VINE R&D 

Since its founding in 2018, Denver Journal of Education and Community (DJEC; the Journal) has utilized a partnership approach to ensure sustainability, cost management, By taking on a dual role of providing a hub for regional education data and a resource for family, student, and community-based education research in the region, DJEC will fill a standing and necessary gap in information equity in the region. Taking this step represents two driving agendas: a) centralizing data about education in the region and b) conducting research driven by questions provoked by the context, extant data, and at-large community.


VINE’S RESEARCH INTEREST 

The lack of data representing equity, more broadly understood, means that families are informed by views of education quality informed by values likely different from their own.

The field of education research has a long history, reflecting emphases in academic and behavioral outcomes, most often pointing fingers at students and their families and representing deficit views of identity (race, class, ethnicity) diversity in public education. For instance, young people in low-income communities and communities of color are growing in a context of disinvestment from public neighborhood schools, increasing residential segregation, political scapegoating, and the cumulative consequences for housing, employment, food access, and emotional well-being. School closures, immigration enforcement, mass incarceration, gentrification, disparate access to transit, food, shelter – all of these represent forces that are displacing and disrupting marginalized people and their neighborhoods (Gonzalez, 2012; Lipman, 2007). Although different in their particulars, we view these challenges as sharing the common challenge of displacement, an often overlooked consequence of public education practice.

As if such broad circuits of dispossession were not damaging enough, their consequences for the educational experiences of affected children and youth are exacerbated by a relative lack of attention in education research. What are the consequences, for example, for children’s readiness to learn when they fear that a family member will be deported while they are at school, or that they need to be ready to move in case immigration enforcement becomes more active in their region? What about students who experience multiple school closures, and must adapt to new school environments and navigate new routes to school? How do we (practitioners, educators, communities, researchers) make sense of education outcome data outside of the critically important context in which these outcomes are produced? It is questions like these that Denver/metro community members have presented throughout DJEC’s first two years of operation– questions we believe deserve answers.

Together, these considerations lead to important questions about what are the right data for families and educators in the Denver region.


ORIGINAL RESEARCH 

To these centralized data, DJEC will originate information about how families and children are experiencing schools in the Denver metro area. This will be accomplished through interviews, group interviews, community surveys, and site observations, and guided by questions informed by extant data (described above) and the local community. The addition of qualitative data will help to provide a more well-informed view of schools in the area, providing information of value to families in the region, and will be a new and compelling addition to the local education landscape of public schooling.

Deepening a focus on research into The Denver Journal of Education and Community extends DJEC’s commitment to community-informed education decision-making in the Denver metro region. Building upon the Journal’s efforts to discover and learn from the experiences of historically-marginalized persons and communities, DJEC’s research strategy broadens the scope of information available to families about schools in the metro Denver region guided by key and critical questions that emerge from the extant data and informed by the local community context.

The types of questions that DJEC will represent the input and experiences of diverse (read: Brown, Black, Indigenous, People of Color, and Lower-Income) families and communities in the region. Many in the region are curious about how schools work, and how families and children experience schools in the area. There is no central location to which families may look for information about schools, outside of centralized (but subjective, not systematized, and increasingly marginalizing) sources such as GreatSchools.org and other Real Estate sources (see discussion above), which prioritize new resident school selection instead of sustaining and supporting current families in the region.

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