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Social Justice Policymaking in Teacher Education from Conception to Application: Realizing Standard VI


by Leslie David Burns & sj Miller — 2017

Background/Context: This article describes the fundamental role of social justice in public education and professional teacher education.

Purpose: The purpose of this policy analysis is to explicate the theorizing, conceptualization, formalization, and implementation of the first standard for social justice teaching and teacher education in U.S. history, published by the National Council of Teachers of English and approved by the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education in November 2012.

Design: Using a policy narrative approach, the authors explicate the grassroots political processes, professional political action and advocacy, and policy procedures and scholarship undertaken to construct a successfully vetted, approved, and fully implemented national policy in one subject-area professional association (SPA). The authors demonstrate how other SPAs and affiliated groups may pursue similar policies for socially just teaching and teacher education across disciplines, fields, and contexts across education.

Conclusions: Using research to theorize responsive teaching pedagogies and using findings from social psychology research to generate a socially just orientation to teaching in public schools, the authors highlight the ways in which social justice teaching is not simply a possible orientation for professional educators to consider but a fundamental tenet and primary consideration of public education overall. The authors conclude that SPAs and public education professionals not only may but must engage in social justice policymaking for educational equity in order to succeed in attaining education reforms that truly serve the public good.

Keywords: social justice, standards, policy, teaching, teacher education, curriculum, reform



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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 119 Number 2, 2017, p. 1-38
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 21682, Date Accessed: 12/16/2017 3:49:58 PM

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About the Author
  • Leslie Burns
    University of Kentucky
    E-mail Author
    LESLIE BURNS is an award-winning author, educationist, and Associate Professor of Literacy in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Kentucky. He is one of seven authors of the NCTE/CAEP National Standards for the Preparation of English Language Arts Teachers, Grades 7–12, and was lead author of NCTE/CAEP Standard VI for social justice. Dr. Burns served as chief curriculum consultant for the national John I. Wilson Award-winning Kentucky Model Curriculum Framework, is a winner of the Edward Fry Book Award for advancement of knowledge in Literacy, and is coeditor of Peter Lang Publishing’s Social Justice Across Contexts in Education book series. His latest book, Teach on Purpose, was published by Teachers College Press in Spring 2016.
  • sj Miller
    University of Colorado–Boulder
    E-mail Author
    sj MILLER is an award-winning author and Associate Professor of Literacy at the University of Colorado–Boulder. Dr. Miller has published widely in journals and presented at national conferences on a variety of topics related to teaching young adult literature, antibullying pedagogy, undervalued student literacies and identities, challenging the gender binary, multimodal applications of popular culture in secondary classrooms, and cultivating sociospatial justice dispositions with secondary preservice English teachers. sj’s work influenced the newly vetted NCTE/CAEP Social Justice Standard VI. Recent books include Change Matters: Critical Essays on Moving Social Justice Research from Theory to Policy and Generation BULLIED 2.0: Prevention and Intervention Strategies for Our Most Vulnerable Students. sj is a member of the Conference on English Education Executive Committee, series coeditor of Social Justice Across Contexts in Education with Peter Lang Publishers, and coeditor of English Education.
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