Defining Social Justice
One of the important themes in the MAECEL program is social justice. If you do an internet search, you will find many definitions for social justice. However, within each definition it should be clear that each has one thing in common; equity. Have you ever thought about what the word equity means, specifically as it relates to children? What about equity in education? As you will read this week, the achievement gap that exists in education today has a direct and important relationship to social justice. As leaders in the field of early childhood education, you are charged with the care and education of this nation’s children, and as such, social justice should be at the forefront of your learning. The aim of your educational journey throughout this program is not to simply help you be touched by the importance of social justice, but rather to be moved by it. Taylor (n.d.) states that to be touched by social justice is simply to be a “sympathetic observer”, but to be truly moved by social justice is “something entirely different” (para. 14). Determining that difference and your role in the transformation of education is the aim of this discussion this week.
To prepare for this discussion, read the articles Leadership for Social Justice: Envisioning an End to the Racial Achievement Gap (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. and Strategies for Closing the Achievement Gaps (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site..
After reading the article by Taylor, reflect on the following:
According to Adams (2000), “Being moved requires taking a critical, systemic, and action oriented approach that not only interrogates social hierarchies but shows “how we might take action in our own lives and in coalition with others to effect positive social change” (as cited in Taylor, n.d., para. 14).
For your initial post:
- Explain in your own words what equity in education means to you.
- Identify the “critical, systematic and action oriented” strategies you can use in your own classroom, school or center that would take you from being simply “touched” by social justice to being “moved” by social justice. Support this portion of your discussion with your course text and at least one scholarly resource (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site..
- Defend how your strategies will help to close the achievement gap that “has profound consequences for our nation’s future and its ability to compete in a global, highly technological society” (Bredekamp, 2017, p. 25). Support this portion of your post with your text and at least one additional scholarly resource (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. (it can be the same resource as used previously).
- Compose a social justice mission statement. Your mission statement can be your personal mission statement (for your classroom), or a mission statement for a center or school. Your mission statement should be a minimum of five sentences in length and should touch on each of the following points: equity, achievement, diversity, advocacy, and action.
Hyland, N. E. (2010). Social justice in early childhood classrooms: What the research tells us (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. [PDF file]. Young Children. Retrieved from http://ececompsat.org/
- This article covers topics related to social justice for young children. Topics such as equity pedagogies in early childhood classrooms and culturally relevant teaching are discussed.
Kuby, C. R. (2013). Critical inquiry in early childhood education: A teacher’s exploration.
- This article provides a comprehensive discussion on social justice in early childhood education from the perspective of a professional, within the critical inquiry framework.
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