Cultural Studies of Science Education

, Volume 14, Issue 2, pp 485–491 | Cite as

There is no equity in a vacuum: on the importance of historical, political, and moral considerations in science education

  • Daniel Morales-DoyleEmail author


As a response to Fortney and Atwood’s “Teaching with understanding while teaching for understanding” (this issue), this paper challenges definitions of equity that do not explicitly deal with oppression and injustice. I argue that in order to address the problem of inequity at its roots, we must re-center the historical, political, and moral dimensions of equity to disrupt dominant assumptions about the goals of science education. The justice-centered approach I advocate requires understanding inequity as one component of social injustice and necessitates that science education be linked with larger movements for social change.


Equity Social justice Sociopolitical Historicity 



  1. Anyon, J. (1980). Social class and the hidden curriculum of work. Journal of Education, 162(1), 67–92. Scholar
  2. Apple, M. W. (2004). Ideology and curriculum (3rd ed.). New York: Routledge Falmer. Scholar
  3. Bang, M., & Vossoughi, S. (2016). Participatory design research and educational justice: Studying learning and relations within social change making. Cognition and Instruction, 34(3), 173–193. Scholar
  4. Bowles, S., & Gintis, H. (1976/2011). Schooling in capitalist America: Educational reform and the contradictions of economic life. Chicago: Haymarket Books.Google Scholar
  5. Conner, C. (2005). A People’s history of science: Miners, midwives, & low mechanicks. New York: Nation Books.Google Scholar
  6. Gutierrez, R. (2018, July 17). Re(humanizing) STEM education. Plenary lecture given at the Noyce Summit in Washington D.C.Google Scholar
  7. Gutiérrez, R. (2016). Strategies for creative insubordination in mathematics teaching. Teaching for Equity & Excellence in Mathematics, 7(1), 52–60.Google Scholar
  8. Loyson, P. (2011). Chemistry in the time of the Pharaohs. Journal of Chemical Education, 88(2), 146–150. Scholar
  9. Morales-Doyle, D. (2017). Justice-centered science pedagogy: A catalyst for academic achievement and social transformation. Science Education, 101(6), 1034–1060. Scholar
  10. Morales-Doyle, D. (2018). Students as curriculum critics: Standpoints with respect to relevance, goals, and science. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 55, 749–773. Scholar
  11. Morales-Doyle, D., & Gutstein, E. (in press). Racial capitalism and STEM education in Chicago Public Schools. Race Ethnicity and Education. Google Scholar
  12. Morales-Doyle, D., Varelas, M., Segura, D., Bernal-Munera, M., & Mitchener, C. (2017). Sociopolitical understandings and the structure-agency dialectic in science teacher preparation. Paper presented at the annual international conference of NARST, San Antonio, TX.Google Scholar
  13. Spring, J. (2003). Deculturalization and the struggle for equality: A brief history of the education of dominated cultures in the United States. New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  14. Vossoughi, S., & Vakil, S. (2018). Towards what ends? A critical analysis of militarism, equity, and STEM education. In A. Ali & T. Buenavista (Eds.), Education at war: The fight for students of color in America’s public schools. New York: Fordham University Press. Scholar
  15. Watkins, W. (2001). The white architects of Black education. New York, NY: Teachers College Press.Google Scholar
  16. Watkins, W. H. (1993). Black curriculum orientations: a preliminary inquiry. Harvard Educational Review, 63, 321–338. Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Curriculum and InstructionUniversity of Illinois at ChicagoChicagoUSA

Personalised recommendations