Educational Justice and Reform

If we don't stand up for children, then we don't stand for much.
Marian Wright Edelman

Instead of seeing these children for the blessings that they are, we are measuring them only by the standard of whether they will be future deficits or assets for our nation's competitive needs.
Jonathan Kozol

“Unless the schools provide our children with a vision of human possibility that enlightens and empowers them with knowledge and taste, they will simply play their role in someone else's marketing schemes. Unless they understand deeply the sources of our democracy, they will take it for granted and fail to exercise their rights and responsibilities.”
Diane Ravitch

As our countries and educational systems face many formidable challenges which may negatively affect the quality and depth of the how teach and learn and where ‘reforms’ have been bandied about for decades – some implemented, some not – how can we do it better when it comes to ensuring   each child or young person – regardless of orientation, disability, race, gender and economic status – can learn. How do we as a nation of people – and just not educators – provide the necessary conditions where learning – in the words of bell hooks – can most deeply and intimately begin, where diversity in the classroom is acknowledged and respected? Some educators call for educational justice or educational equity or a progressive, holistic education that is engaged pedagogy. Others call for a paradigm shift to a model of caring and while others confront funding inequities, poverty, racism and cultural hegemony. Some educators are unapologetic about their goals – that the main aim of education should be to produce competent, caring, loving and lovable people.

At a time when privatization, vouchers and a weakening of the K-12 public education system may be taking place in the United States, how are we to respond?  We are interested in hearing your voices on this important subject. We are interested in proposals from young people, traditional educational reform refugees, theorists, critical thinkers, global educators, teachers and families who have taken the bull by the horn and making change in their communities. While we are interested in all proposals which directly address and find solutions to inequities in the educational system and in the classroom, we are keenly interested in best practices and great reform models.

At our discussion, we will consider the past and present of social justice in education. How do exclusionary and oppressive practices against people with disability overlap with other forms of oppression and marginalization in schools and society? What strategies can social justice educators and activists employ to shore up public and private education institutions? Can authentic reform take place within existing institutional structures? Proposals in this topic area might look at disability oppression and resistance as they pertain to special education, inclusive education, higher education, social movements, policy and the legal system.

We are interested in the following proposals:

  • Successful educational justice initiatives which address equal access to a quality education regardless of ethnicity, socio-economic class, disabilities or race;
  • Demonstrating and sustaining new trends in education, by promoting collaborations between leaders, educators, and other stakeholders to raise student achievement and close achievement gaps, and by expanding support for high-performing public charter schools, reinvigorating math and science education, and promoting other conditions favorable to innovation and reform;
  • The ways in which national and federal funding and priorities might effect students with disabilities and low-income kids and how we – as parents, students, educators and the general public – offset its potentially negative consequences;
  • Funding inequities and allocation in school and state districts;
  • Narrowing the opportunity gap between rich and poor districts;
  • How multiple intelligences is being used in curriculum development and practice;
  • The meanings of diversity in the classroom;
  • Equal access to a quality education, regardless of race, ethnicity, disability and socio-economic status;
  • Educational supports and stability for children in juvenile justice facilities, temporary shelters and foster care;
  • Equity which requires securing children’s rights to education and through that education realize their aspirations and potential;
  • Reducing exclusion from and within educational structures and processes;
  • Holistic and engaged pedagogies.

We welcome proposals in any presentation format. Please see presentation formats on our webpage at:  http://www.pacrim.hawaii.edu/presenters/formats/. Please check the criteria for each format and ensure that you have the appropriate number of presenters for your chosen format. You may submit proposals online at: http://www.pacrim.hawaii.edu/submissions or send your proposals via email to prcall@hawaii.edu.

For more information on this topic area, please contact the PACRIM 2017 team at prcall@hawaii.edu. For general information on the conference, please contact Charmaine Crockett at cccrocke@hawaii.edu, (808) 956-7539. For registration questions please contact registration desk at prreg@hawaii.edu.