Call for Submissions—Journal of Critical Thought and Praxis: Navigating Barriers and Offering Alternative Educational Opportunities

Nov 17, 2019 · Katie Anthony

“And just because you have colleges and universities doesn't mean you have education.”
-Malcolm X

Non-traditional learners often face educational barriers—that is, multi-level obstacles inhibiting them from achieving their learning goals. Oppressive policies, financial hardships, lack of social capital, strict scheduling and expectations, Euro and androcentric curriculums in P–20 settings, and a myriad of other factors necessitate alternative educational opportunities (Kaplin, 2009). Furthermore, these barriers often lead to accessibility issues for non-traditional learners, who must navigate buildings, materials, technology, educators, social relationships, campus communities, room and board, food, and more (Bowl, 2001).

Traditional perceptions of public education in the United States center P–20 institutions regulated by federal, state, and local laws (Murnane, 2005). But this view can marginalize meaningful alternative opportunities and forms of learning that might also be considered “education” (e.g., vocational schools, adult learning, and locally offered, community based programming)—educational opportunities that are often more relevant and meaningful to non-traditional learners than offered in “traditional” P–20 contexts.

Despite these confinements, critical scholars, activists, and community organizers provide hope by offering new ways of thinking to support non-traditional learners’ educational goals. Examples include:

  • The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI), a grant-funded program that offers educational courses for all adults over the age of 
  • Central Learning Adult/Alternative School Site (C.L.A.S.S.), education geared from young through adult aging and the accessibilities necessary to be successful in all education levels
  • Innovative Educational Programs, individualized learning for each learner to apply lessons in the classroom that mirrors a workplace for long-term preparedness and success

To that end, JCTP invites scholars, community organizers, alternative education program developers, scholar activists, innovative educators working outside the traditional structures of P-20, practitioners who are engaging in these areas daily, and other stakeholders to submit to a special issue, “Navigating Barriers and Offering Alternative Learning Opportunities.” We seek formal and informal work that transcends the scope of traditional P-20 educational settings by speaking to alternative educational opportunities and new possibilities for non-traditional learners. Scholarship presented should: (a) describe a clear presentation of the barrier, obstacle, or other inaccessibility in the traditional narrative of education within the United States; (b) illuminate the alternative education program, practice, and/or new possibilities for non-traditional learners.

Manuscripts may address these central questions:

  • What alternative opportunities disrupt the traditional educational narrative?
  • How can traditional educational narratives impact alternative educational opportunities?
  • What are the goals, aims, and practices of successful alternative education programs?

Submissions can be made through JCTP's web portal.