Being nice is difficult to critique. Niceness is almost always portrayed and felt as a positive quality. In schools, nice teachers are popular among students, parents, and administrators. And yet Niceness, as a distinct set of practices and discourses, is not actually good for individuals, institutions, or communities because of the way it maintains and reinforces educational inequity.
In The Price of Nice, an interdisciplinary group of scholars explores Niceness in educational spaces from elementary schools through higher education to highlight how this seemingly benign quality reinforces structural inequalities. Grounded in data, personal narrative, and theory, the chapters show that Niceness, as a raced, gendered, and classed set of behaviors, functions both as a shield to save educators from having to do the hard work of dismantling inequity and as a disciplining agent for those who attempt or even consider disrupting structures and ideologies of dominance.
Contributors: Sarah Abuwandi, Arizona State U; Colin Ben, U of Utah; Nicholas Bustamante, Arizona State U; Aidan/Amanda J. Charles, Northern Arizona U; Jeremiah Chin, Arizona State U; Sally Campbell Galman, U of Massachusetts; Frederick Gooding Jr., Texas Christian U; Deirdre Judge, Tufts U; Katie A. Lazdowski; Román Liera, U of Southern California; Sylvia Mac, U of La Verne; Lindsey Malcolm-Piqueux, California Institute of Technology; Giselle Martinez Negrette, U of Wisconsin–Madison; Amber Poleviyuma, Arizona State U; Alexus Richmond, Arizona State U; Frances J. Riemer, Northern Arizona U; Jessica Sierk, St. Lawrence U; Bailey B. Smolarek, U of Wisconsin–Madison; Jessica Solyom, Arizona State U; Megan Tom, Arizona State U; Sabina Vaught, U of Oklahoma; Cynthia Diana Villarreal, U of Southern California; Kristine T. Weatherston, Temple U; Joseph C. Wegwert, Northern Arizona U; Marguerite Anne Fillion Wilson, Binghamton U; Jia-Hui Stefanie Wong, Trinity College; Denise Gray Yull, Binghamton U.
Castagno, A.E. (Ed.) (2019). The price of nice: How good intentions maintain educational inequity. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.