Excavating Community Knowledge

How can you empower racially, ethnically, and linguistically marginalized kids? By teaching them how to research compelling questions in their own communities, says educational studies professor Brian Lozenski.

For five years, Lozenski has been working with youth at a community organization called Network for the Development of Children of African Descent. Each year through a NdCAD program called the Uhuru Youth Scholars Program, about a dozen high school juniors and seniors receive academic credit for conducting research on issues prevalent in their communities.

This semester, for instance, the high school researchers—along with several Macalester Bonner scholars—are exploring ethnic studies programs in Twin Cities schools. Past projects have included policy briefs sent to school districts detailing ways in which they could educate guidance counselors about historically black colleges, and a youth summit looking at the experiences of African American students in Twin Cities schools.

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