Teachers for Social Justice is a group of educators and allies dedicated to creating a just, democratic, sustainable and caring society through education, solidarity and social action.
- To support democratic schooling through the development of social justice curricula that promote themes and ideas important to diverse groups of students.
- To promote teacher’s voices on issues of educational equity within schools and other public forums.
- To use exemplary methods of research and inquiry to provide teachers and the wider community with knowledge of educational topics related to issues of social justice.
- To strengthen the bonds of neighborhoods and school communities through outreach to individuals, groups and organizations.
Richmond Teachers for Social Justice (RTSJ) began meeting in March of 2010. That meeting brought together over 50 people from a variety of educational settings (PK-12 Teachers, Pre-Service Teachers, University Faculty, Adult Educators, Community Organizers, and Parents) interested in making our schools more just and equitable institutions. That meeting produced a list of ideas for possible activities, actions and projects on which an organization of social justice educators could work. Click here to see that list.
Since then Richmond TSJ has met regularly to develop its organizational identity, to dialogue about education and social justice, and to begin taking action on some the ideas that have emerged along the way. To this end we have drafted an organizational mission and vision (see below) and begun developing action groups to tackle specific issues. We have also participated in organizing several events including:
- A program cosponsored with the National Art Education Student Association called “Versions of History: Politics and Racism in the Classroom” with Delegate Ken Plum. Delegate Plum spoke about his experiences teaching history during the Civil Rights era in the time of the Virginia History and Textbook Commission;
- A pot luck lunch reception with the DREAM Walkers – Felipe Matos, Gaby Pacheco, Carlos Roa, and Juan Rodriguez – four undocumented students who walked from Florida to Washington in support of the DREAM act;
- A program cosponsored with The Virginia Center for the Teaching of International Studies that brought Jim Loewen to VCU. Lowen, author of Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your High School History Textbook Got Wrong and Lies Across America: What Our Historic Sites Get Wrong;
- A Charter School Forum cosponsored with the Richmond Education Association and VCU’s Department of Foundations of Education that brought together a panel of speakers representing a diversity of perspectives – including state government, the VEA and local charter school organizers – to present their views, engage in a productive dialogue, and answer questions from the public;
- A screening and discussion of the film 9500 Liberty, a documentary that explores the issue of immigration in Prince William County, Virginia.
- A public forum on High Stakes testing, attended by almost fifty teachers, students and parents–since followed with several smaller meetings on that issue at individual schools in both Richmond and Chesterfield county.
Our plan is to continue to grow and expand this work through the coming school year.