“What Kind of Progressive Education? The Case of Charter Schools”: Lecture by Ann Plato Fellow Elise Castillo

Dr. Elise Castillo, the Ann Plato Post-Doctoral Fellow in the Educational Studies Program and the Public Policy & Law Program at Trinity College in 2019-20, presents her lecture on video, titled “What Kind of Progressive Education: The Case of Charter Schools.”

Summary: What is “progressive education”? Can a charter school be progressive? In this lecture, Castillo will discuss different meanings of this phrase and draw upon case-study research of three New York City charter schools to illustrate how they defined it in terms of social efficiency, often at the expense of pedagogical and political progressivism.

The fellowship is named for Ann Plato, a 19th-century author and teacher of African American and Native American descent, who lived and wrote in Hartford. She was the second woman of color in the United States to publish a book, and the first to publish a book of essays and poems, titled Essays: Including Biographies and Miscellaneous Pieces, in Prose and Poetry (1841).

Biography: Elise Castillo studies the political and social dimensions of public education policymaking, particularly regarding market-oriented education reforms, such as charter schools and other forms of school choice. She is interested in how education policies and advocacy processes related to market-based reforms impact educational equity and democracy, particularly among minoritized communities. Her recent research examines progressive and community-based charter schools, the experiences of students of color with disabilities in charter schools, and the politics surrounding policymakers’ use of research. As an educator, Elise is committed to supporting her students’ capacities to critically engage with issues related to equity, democracy, and the public good. A former middle and high school English teacher, Elise holds an MA and PhD in Education Policy from the Graduate School of Education at the University of California, Berkeley, an MS in Secondary Teaching from Pace University, and a BA in English and Creative Writing from Barnard College. Learn more at her Trinity College faculty profile and her personal web page.

Next academic year, Dr. Castillo will continue her role as a Visiting Assistant Professor of Educational Studies and Public Policy & Law at Trinity College.