Educators Stress Solutions and Hope are Possible in Public Education

Academic success is possible for all children and should be the goal of public education. That was the message of hope, supported by in-the-trenches research and in-the-classroom solutions to the issues confronting educators and students in today’s challenging educational environment.

Jose Lalas, director of the Institute for Educational Justice at the University of Redlands who organized the sixth annual Summer Institute for Educational Justice, emphasized that as a society, “we must have the courage to speak honestly about difficult issues such as race relations, achievement gaps, and alarming dropout rates for minority youth. Without candid dialogue, the solutions will remain elusive. This forum allows educators to openly share research and programs that address these issues.”

The Institute for Educational Justice at the University of Redlands’ School of Education is sponsoring the Summer Institute to examine issues relating to social justice and democratic education in today’s schools.

The Institute featured keynote speaker Donaldo Macedo, Distinguished Professor of Liberal Arts and Education at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. He is a renowned educator in the field of multicultural education and has published more than 100 articles and books in the areas of linguistics, critical literacy and multicultural education.

Macedo delivered a powerful commentary titled “The Centrality of Social Justice to Democratic Education.” He urged the audience to mobilize themselves—to create a significant societal movement that can dramatically change current educational values and to fight back against aggressive, draconian budget cuts and anti-immigration policies.

He argued that “unless education addresses the needs of all students, it is not only unjust, it collides with democratic principles and ideals that we claim to embrace in our society.”

Educational programs trimmed or chopped during difficult economic times are often those that most help students in need and disproportionably affect those who may need more attention due to socio-economic status, minority membership or other factors, Lalas explained as he introduced the day’s presenters, which came from 10 colleges and universities.

Presenters focused on those challenges, including Mario Castaneda, Assistant Professor of Education, California State University, Los Angeles, who addressed what educators need to do to approach relations between African American and Latino Youth.

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Redlands has 12 recent Fulbright Scholar recipients.

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