There are as many ways and causes in which to get involved as there are people on this earth; recognizing our diversity, Justice by the Pen has begun its movement by focusing on seven interconnected social justice themes.
1. What is Education Justice:
Education justice is the struggle to bridge the unequal access to quality and well-rounded education within the public school system and without. This includes accessibility to knowledge that is not usually included in public school curricula, such as empathy education, media/advertizing education, learning about materialism, power dynamics, organizing tools, etc.
2. The Issues:
Issues in any particular community will vary. Therefore, local JBP groups will spend time pinpointing the issues they feel are most pertinent to address. Below are potential problems local communities may consider:
- Curriculum and Methods: Often curricula in schools today are disconnected from students’ realities. Many youth are unable to grasp the relevance of what they are learning in public schools, and struggle to connect what is being taught to what they actually need to learn to survive happily and healthily in their communities. To add to the frustration, the methods in which subjects are being taught are disengaging and do not cater to all types of learners.
- Economic Caste System: Knowledge is power, and our school systems today are funded and built in such a way to provide a better education to those who live in wealthier neighborhoods.
- School to Prison Pipeline: There is a direct correlation between the ability to read and write and propensity to be incarcerated. Additionally, schools have taken on a very retributive policy towards student infractions. This policy does not improve student behavior but instead criminalizes them from a young age. This leads to more suspensions, expulsions, and by high school, arrests, resulting in an animosity towards school and increased likelihood of dropping out.
3. Direct Actions:
Below are a few suggested starting points and direct actions. Each local youth group will identify their community’s needs and solutions. There are three levels of suggested activism; choose your ways and get involved: Learn – Advocate – Engage
Explore these websites:
Advocate: Raise awareness (connecting people with resources), research on-line, get updates, fact check and then write articles and blogs, work with the Teachers Unite Dignity in Schools campaign to advocate for more social workers and restorative justice tactics in schools rather than suspensions, expulsions and arrests.
Engage: Organize talks; produce documentaries; offer free tutoring; read to children books they wouldn’t find in school; organize classes outside of the classroom for people to learn about their history and grow intellectually by reading, watching films, and listening to speakers with new perspectives; join movements, protests, and campaigns working to improve our education systems and working conditions for teachers.