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It’s Non-Negotiable. We Have to Teach Social Justice in Our Schools.

By Zachary Wright ~ Education Post

In a recent article, J. Martin Rochester, a professor of political science at the University of St. Louis-Missouri, raised concerns about teaching social justice in schools. Rochester’s problem with teaching social justice in schools is focused on two simultaneous axes. One, he thinks that social justice exists outside the jurisdiction of school curricula, and second that those who would teach social justice approach it only from a liberal perspective.

As an educator who includes social justice as a necessary part of my classroom practice, I think Rochester got some some things right but a lot of things wrong.

EDUCATION HAS ALWAYS BEEN POLITICAL

Rochester’s first insinuation is that schools ought to focus on the traditional curricula of reading, writing, mathematics, sciences, etc. Schools ought not to, in Rochester’s words, “aspire to be churches or social work agencies.”

What this overlooks, however, is that education has always been political. When a nation has within its DNA laws regulating who can learn, with whom one can learn, and where one can learn, then the idea that a school ought not engage in the political realm reeks of forced naïveté.

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