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I’ve noticed throughout my private and public education a lack of passion for social justice and world politics-related events at schools. Often such events feel forced as if they are held to ensure the world that the institution is up to date with the public opinion, rather than a project led by someone who actually cares. I could give anecdotes for days on sub-par presentations, soulless lectures, and mandatory volunteering, but I’ll focus on the professional opinion. The National Education Association publicly advocates for change and for racial and social justice to be taught in schools, but can such large institutions and programs really have an effect? Who will this one-size-fits-all approach reach out to? Will this investment into wide-spread required programs pay off, more than perhaps investing into school counseling, one-on-one meetings, and experienced speakers.
The events that are presented by someone who really cares are always the most valuable. If the entire school is forced to attend an assembly where the principal speaks about social justice, what value does that give? The head of school does not teach English classes for the entire student body, so what reason can any inexperienced faculty give to say that they are qualified? Merrimack college says that teachers need training, that, “Teachers today need to know how to include social justice in the classroom and curriculum”.
This means that even at the top levels of education, social justice needs to be not only a thought in the student’s minds, but an article of the curriculum. If social justice is handled as it is now, as a topic anyone can get on stage and educate the masses about, it will be nothing but a nagging thought rather than an informative portion of school. If schools genuinely want to influence and inspire change, they need to start taking social justice seriously.