Dr. Beverly Cross—educator and holder of the Moss Chair of Excellence in Urban Education at the University of Memphis in Memphis, Tennessee—defines social justice as an approach to education that allows students to understand their identities and how they are produced. Social justice helps students grasp the reality of social stratification and gives them the tools to rectify it. These tools are especially important in urban environments.
The goals of social justice, Dr. Cross says, help educators push beyond simply teaching to the test. There’s so much emphasis on teachers being successful in the realm of testing—but educators also need to help students think about their identities. They need to engage in practices that they may find uncomfortable, such as deconstructing and challenging the privileged parts of their own identities.
Dr. Cross talks about the research she has done on educators who are actualizing these ideals, and she discusses how the goals of social justice tie in with recent reforms such as innovation grants, Race to the Top, and Common Core Standards.
To learn more about this topic, watch the following PD 360 video segment (an expert interview with Dr. Beverly Cross). Use your PD 360 login and password to access the segment. If you do not have a login, you can follow the same link for access.