Note to Educators: Hope Required When Growing Roses in Concrete
Jeffrey Duncan–Andrade, Ph.D.
What are the material conditions that effect urban youth before they even step foot in our classrooms? What does it mean to develop educational environments that are relevant and responsive to these conditions? How should these educational spaces define success for students and teachers?
This session focuses on developing educators that are better equipped to create educational environments that understand and respond to the social toxins that emerge from racism and poverty. The session closely examines the types of social toxins that young people face in the broader society and discusses the impact of these conditions on student identities. Inside of this framing, Dr. Duncan-Andrade draws from his 20 years as an urban educator to explore the concept of hope, as essential for nurturing urban youth. He first identifies three forms of false hope—hokey hope, mythical hope, and hope deferred—pervasive in and peddled by many urban schools. Discussion of these false hopes then gives way to Duncan-Andrade’s conception of critical hope, explained through the description of three necessary elements of educational practice that produce and sustain true hope. Through the voices of young people and their teachers, and the invocation of powerful metaphor and imagery, Duncan-Andrade proclaims critical hope’s significance for an education that relieves undeserved suffering in communities.