Occasional Paper Series

Call for Papers

  • Issue #52

    Issue #52: Stories from Trans Educators: A Comic Book Special Issue

    The deadline for submissions for this call has been extended to September 1, 2023. Continue reading to find out more information about submission guidelines. We look forward to receiving your proposals, and especially encourage submissions from trans women, trans femmes, and trans people of color.

    Call for Papers 52 comic

    In his 2020 essay, “Keep Yourself Alive,” Harper B. Keenan tells readers that trans people have been educating the world since long before the word “trans” existed. In this special issue of the Bank Street Occasional Paper Series, we will partner comic artists with trans educators to illustrate stories of these educators’ work with children from preschool through high school in both in-school and out-of-school settings. Through this call, we are seeking trans educators and comic artists who we will team up to create 4- to 8-page comics that tell compelling stories related to trans experiences and education.

    Trans educators are invited to tell a story that matters to them. For example, how do trans educators relate to their students and their communities? What kinds of joys and challenges do trans educators navigate as workers in schools and other educational environments? What is it like to be a trans educator in the midst of growing anti-trans hostility? We imagine that these stories might discuss what it’s like to go through a teacher education program as a trans student, experiences related to navigating administrative systems at work (e.g., accessing health benefits or transitioning on the job), or topics relating to LGBTQ+ young people, among others. Stories might also address broader themes like resistance, community, liberation, pedagogy, love, the call to teach, and more. Trans educators who are artists and wish to illustrate their own stories are also welcome and should indicate this when submitting their proposal.

    We are also looking for artists who would be excited to contribute to this project to get trans educators’ stories out to a large and global audience. We invite artists of all genders, but queer and trans artists are especially encouraged. The decision to produce this issue as a comic reflects our desire to present these stories as complex layered texts that words alone cannot describe. Comics can expand the possibilities for expression and capture not only stories but thoughts, images, embodiment, place, and time. We are thinking broadly about what constitutes a comic. Images might include collages, digital drawings, photographs, and sketches/drawings/paintings produced with various media. We want artists and writers to be bold, expressive, and innovative, and we welcome a multitude of approaches and aesthetics. Words are optional and wordless stories are also welcome.

    Deadline for Submissions: September 1, 2023

    Interested trans educators should submit a brief description of the story you want to tell by September 1, 2023. The submission should be no more than 500 words and should include the following:

    • Name (Contributors may choose to publish under a pseudonym)
    • Email
    • Educational Affiliation (if any)
    • Brief bio
    • A description (no more than 500 words) of the story you would like to tell

    Interested artists should submit the following information by September 1, 2023.

    • Name
    • Email
    • Brief bio
    • Brief description of interest in participating in this project
    • A sample of your work

    Authors and artists will be informed as to whether they have been accepted for inclusion in the issue by October 1, 2023. We will select stories that represent a range of experiences. Following selection of participants, artists will be consulted in a process of teaming an artist with an author.

    If selected for participation in the issue, contributors will be invited to a Zoom-based comic script writing workshop to support translation of the story ideas into a comic script. The workshop will be held in early October 2023 with guest editors Rachel Williams, Harper B. Keenan, and Lee Iskander. While the Bank Street Occasional Paper Series does not compensate authors for their submissions, for this issue, we will purchase one graphic novel or comic text for each participant (of their choice) to use as a model or “mentor text” to inspire their own pieces for Issue #52. We will also provide a gift certificate for dinner (courtesy of the Thomas S. Kenan Institute for the Arts).

    Submission Guidelines

    Initial scripted pencil drawings will be due to the editors by February 20, 2024. Artists and authors will work collaboratively to create the final comic, which will be due to the editors by May 20, 2024.

    The Bank Street Occasional Paper Series is a peer reviewed publication, meaning that several anonymous academics with relevant expertise provide comments on each submission that is being considered for inclusion in an issue. However, the peer review process may or may not be important to participants in this issue. This issue will use in-house review by the guest editors. If for professional reasons you would like your work to be peer reviewed, please indicate this in your submission.

    Please submit your proposals to guest editors Harper Keenan, Rachel Williams, or Lee Iskander at transeducators1@gmail.com. You are also welcome to email for more information or to discuss ideas. 

  • Issue #51

    Issue #51: Reconceptualizing Quality Early Care and Education with Equity at the Center

    Two children playing with plastic cups

    The Bank Street Occasional Paper Series is seeking manuscripts and creative works that illustrate new ways of defining and documenting quality in early care and education (ECE). This issue is committed to representing and amplifying too-often silenced voices and perspectives in ECE: racially and otherwise minoritized children, parents, educators, program leaders, policymakers, and researchers who strive to do things differently. This call particularly encourages multimedia submissions, such as children’s work and narratives, parents’ accounts, or dialogues among educators (e.g., audio recordings, photo essays, short video, and so forth).

    At its heart, this issue takes the hopeful stance that one barrier to rethinking quality in ECE is our lack of imagination—not because imaginative examples do not exist, but rather because those in decision-making positions in programs, professional organizations, and government agencies are often not aware that alternatives exist. A key corollary to this lack of awareness is an abundance of criticism but few specific recommendations for how to remake systems to support culturally, linguistically, and disabilities-affirming approaches in ECE.

    A renewed focus on quality in ECE is needed for at least two reasons. First, quality in ECE is often treated as if there is a settled, universally agreed upon definition. A central claim of many early childhood advocates today is that high-quality programming is foundational to righting inequities among young children. However, analyses of dominant approaches have not shown strong or consistent connections between prevailing quality indicators and children’s development or learning, let alone fostering equity (Burchinal et al., 2011; Guerrero-Rosada et al., 2021; Kagan, 2009; Perlman et al., 2016; Zaslow et al., 2011).

    Second, early in the global COVID-19 pandemic there was a rising chorus of voices calling for reimagining education (Souto-Manning et al., 2020; UNESCO, 2020). In a widely circulated essay, Arundhati Roy (2020) reminded us that,

    Historically, pandemics have forced humans to break with the past and imagine their world anew. This one is no different. It is a portal, a gateway between one world and the next.

    We can choose to walk through it, dragging the carcasses of our prejudice and hatred, our avarice, our data banks and dead ideas, our dead rivers and smoky skies behind us. Or we can walk through lightly, with little luggage, ready to imagine another world. And ready to fight for it. (para., 48-49)

    Her charge was taken up by the Bank Street Occasional Paper Series in Issue 46, “The Pandemic as a Portal: On Transformative Ruptures and Possible Futures for Education” (Souto-Manning et al., 2020). This issue accepts the baton handoff from the authors of Issue 46, acknowledging that while the portal may be closing, it is not yet shut.

    This issue builds on longstanding calls to reconceptualize quality in ECE (see, Dahlberg et al., 1999) and has the dual purpose of providing illustrations of possibility and recommendations for decision-makers (spanning local programs to government agencies). Towards this aspiration, submissions may address:

    1. Core problems-in-practice from different vantage points, such as:
      1. Discussions of conceptual problems and how they impact practice—quality and equity according to whom?
      2. Limitations in current measurement and the field’s deep desire for quantification (Labaree, 2011)
      3. The pressures to scale up (Tobin, 2005b)
      4. Teachers’ experiences of being surveilled (repeatedly)
    2. Illustrations of alternate practices and exemplars of possibility, including from transnational contexts
      1. Justice-centered measurement and other approaches to documenting quality
      2. Culturally and linguistically grounded, inclusive approaches
      3. Centering children’s, families’, and other local perspectives (Hallam et al., 2009; Tobin, 2005a, 2005b)
      4. Reconstituting the relationships between researchers, educators, and policy practitioners; (e.g., Coburn et al., 2013; Yelland & Franz Bentley, 2018)
      5. Movement-building for equitable ECE systems (advocating for new policies and practices; e.g., Nagasawa et al., 2023)

    Manuscripts Due: June 1, 2023

    We are seeking essays ranging from 3,000 to 5,000 words, double spaced, and formatted in APA 7th edition style. Papers lacking APA formatting will not be reviewed. We welcome submissions from children and young people, researchers, teachers, school administrators, and others. We are also interested in short films, audio essays, photo essays, and small-scale artistic products. Only unpublished pieces that are not under review by other publications are eligible for consideration. For more information or if you would like to discuss ideas, please contact guest editor Mark Nagasawa at mnagasawa@bankstreet.edu and Cristina Medellin-Paz at cmedellin@bankstreet.edu.

    Submission Guidelines


    Burchinal, M. R., Kainz, K., & Cai, Y. (2011). How well are our measures of quality predicting to child outcomes: A meta-analysis and coordinated analyses of data from large scale studies of early childhood settings. In M. Zaslow, I. Martinez-Beck, K. Tout & T. Halle (Eds.), Measuring quality in early childhood settings (pp. 11-31). Brookes Publishing.

    Coburn, C. E., Penuel, W., & Geil, K. E. (2013). Research-practice partnerships: A strategy for leveraging research for educational improvement in school districts. William T. Grant Foundation.

    Dahlberg, G., Moss, P., & Pence, A. (1999). Beyond quality in early childhood education and care: Postmodern perspectives. Routledge.

    Guerrero-Rosada, P., Weiland, C., McCormick, M., Hsueh, J., Sachs, J., Snow, C., & Maier, M. (2021). Null relations between CLASS scores and gains in children’s language, math, and executive function skills: A replication and extension study. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 54(1), 1-12.

    Hallam, R., Fouts, H., Bargreen, K., & Caudle, L. (2009). Quality from a toddler’s perspective: A bottom-up examination of classroom experiences. Early Childhood Research & Practice, 11(2), https://ecrp.illinois.edu/v11n2/hallam.html

    Kagan, S.L. (2009, April). American early childhood education: Preventing or perpetuating inequity? Equity Matters: Research Review No. 3. Campaign for Educational Equity.

    Labaree, D.F. (2011). The lure of statistics for educational researchers. Educational Theory, 61(6), 621-632.

    Nagasawa, M. K., Peters, L. Bloch, M. N., & Swadener, B. B. (Eds.) (2023). Transforming early years policy in the U.S.: A call to action. Teachers College Press.

    Perlman, M., Falenchuk, O., Fletcher, B., McMullen, E., Beyene, J., Shah, P.S. (2016). A systematic review and meta-analysis of a measure of staff/child interaction quality (the Classroom Assessment Scoring System) in early childhood education and care settings and child outcomes. PLoS ONE 11(12): e0167660. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0167660

    Roy, A. (2020, April 3). The pandemic is a portal. Financial Times. https://www.ft.com/content/10d8f5e8-74eb-11ea-95fe-fcd274e920ca

    Souto-Manning, M. et al. (2020). The Pandemic as a Portal: On Transformative Ruptures and Possible Futures for Education. Bank Street Occasional Paper Series, 46. https://www.bankstreet.edu/research-publications-policy/occasional-paper-series/archive/ops-46/

    Tobin, J. J. (2005a). Quality in early childhood education: An anthropologist’s perspective. Early Education & Development, 16, 421-434.

    Tobin J. J. (2005b) Scaling up as catachresis. International Journal of Research & Method in Education, 28(1), 23–32.

    Yelland, N., & Franz Bentley, D. (2018). Found in translation: Connecting reconceptualist thinking with early childhood education practices. Routledge.

    Zaslow, M. J., Tout, K., & Halle, T. (Eds.). (2011). Quality measurement in early childhood settings. Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co.