Transformation and School Success: The Politics and Culture of Educational Achievement


  • Frederick Erickson

    1. University of Pennsylvania
    Search for more papers by this author
    • 2

      Frederick Erickson is Chair of the Educational Leadership Division, Graduate School of Education, and Director, Center for Urban Ethnography, University of Pennsylvania.


Various explanations for low school achievement of minority students include those of cultural differences between teacher and student and low motivation of students because of cynicism regarding their chances in the labor market. These explanations are compared, critiqued, and reconsidered in terms of critical social theory, more especially resistance theory. The article considers the perceived legitimacy of the school and its teachers and the development of oppositional culture by students. Transformation of routine educational practice is necessary, and culturally responsive pedagogy is one means of transformation. CULTURALLY RESPONSIVE PEDAGOGY, MINORITY STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT, RESISTANCE THEORY, OPPOSITIONAL CULTURE