SRRT’s counterparts in education – current controversy
In the area of education research and accreditation standards for primary and secondary education, there is presently a big controversy that parallels SRRT’s fight for social responsibilities in libraries.
NCATE, the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, has long had the idea of social justice embedded into its standards – the words have appeared in its standards at different levels as a way of connecting our educational system to broader humanistic goals. Also, the standards have included non-discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. In the last few years this social justice and sexual orientation language has been a target for conservative activists in NCATE, and recently the language was replaced with the word “fairness.”
The American Educational Research Association (AERA) has a close relationship with NCATE, as it represents scholars doing education research which ends up being used by NCATE. AERA had their annual meeting in early April, and the social justice question – the removal of the language from NCATE standards and its place in education – was the talk of the conference. Proponents of social justice and non-discrimination in education standards wore red to show their support throughout the conference.
Within AERA there is a special interests group called Critical Educators for Social Justice (CESJ) which is something like its SRRT group. I believe that SRRT and/or PLG should form an alliance with Critical Educators for Social Justice and support them in this fight.
CESJ’s Call to Action, which they put out prior to their conference, spells out the issues in much greater detail, and also makes reference to an earlier request that ALA, which is an NCATE organizational member, call on NCATE to return social justice and sexual orientation non-discrimination language to the accreditation standards.
The Chronicle of Higher Ed published an article about this on April 16th, which is only available to subscribers or at subscribing institutions. Look for it if you have access.
This is an important issue in an allied field and we should be paying attention to it.
NCATE’s Unit Assessment Board has just voted to reinstate social justice language into its nomenclature, as well as voting to add the statement: “Candidates should demonstrate knowledge of the effects of discrimination based on race, class, gender, and sexual orientation on students’ performance.” This decision was largely in response to letters from individuals and allied groups. Much of that response was due to CESJ’s work in bringing attention to the issue. The SRRT Action Council Coordinator, Elaine Harger, is now exploring a SRRT alliance with CESJ.
Thanks to Elaine for providing this news.