There is mounting evidence that curriculum and teaching with a social justice focus can benefit students long-term. For instance, from research on a high school social justice course:
Black alumni of the class, many years after graduating, uniformly credited the social-justice course for provoking a process of self-exploration that altered their sense of justice and influenced their self-identity.
Makes total sense to me. Common sense, actually. Yet, emphasis on things like “self-exploration” and “sense of justice” would likely tip off a debate on the goals of education. Education reform adherents explicitly emphasize the role of schooling as preparation for “college and careers,” or workforce participation. Excessive attention to measurable skills will inevitably lead to a de-emphasis of other potential outcomes, namely the soft skills that elude objective measurement.
I feel like a broken record here, do I really have to keep repeating this? Do we have to keep repeating this?
You rob Peter to pay Paul.
I’m not sure senses of justice and equity could be measured, and even if you could narrow them down to a metric, would you not be taking something away from them? Nevertheless, if the hard, measurable skills are necessary, then anyone writing curriculum for the hard stuff should take note. If students are learning to read or practicing reading strategies, for example, then they might as well be reading and reviewing materials that promote or encourage social justice outcomes. Why spend a month or two reading about, I don’t know, generic community “helpers” when you can examine the real and actual makeup of the current community in which students reside? Explore some tough questions about why certain businesses or resources do and don’t exist, and what is or isn’t available elsewhere?
Makes sense to me.