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The Community-based Research on Equity, Activism, and Transformative Education (CREATE)

Primary Investigator(s): Camille Wilson

Funding Agency: Spencer Foundation

Period: 6/1/2016 - 5/31/2017

Community-based Research on Equity, Activism, and Transformative Education (CREATE) study will be a multiple case study that incorporates ethnographic and participatory action research methods. The study aims to examine the approaches and influence of a community-based organization’s (CBO) educational activism. The CBO works to mobilize families and community members to advance equity oriented, public school reform in Detroit, Michigan. It was founded and now led by community organizers and aims to increase “educational justice.” It also partners with other non-profit organizations in Detroit and regularly engages approximately 200 low-income and ethnically diverse parent, youth, and community activists. The CBO has a broad communal reach. It is an active partner of a city-wide reform coalition and visible in the state-level educational policy arena. Community organizing spaces have the potential to be powerful, democratic sites of learning that facilitate civic capacity building and the enactment of citizenship rights for marginalized citizens (Ishimaru, 2014; Mediratta, 2007; Rusch, 2010; Shirley, 2009). This study aims to understand if and how this is so for members of the Detroit CBO and then suggest important implications for community-based educational reform efforts in other urban locales. Data sources will include approximately 40 interviews, 40 multiple-hour observations, documents, and artifacts.