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Tag Archives: Social Justice and Education

Education Crisis

Education Crisis


You may well be aware the NUT has recently launched its ‘Stand Up For Education’ manifesto, designed to help shape the political debate about state education in the run up to the general election and beyond.

You can find a copy here ––9623-_0.pdf

The document is intended to outline some key principles and fundamental concerns, relating to:

  • Curriculum, pedagogy and assessment: ‘A wider vision of learning and achievement’ (p.4)
  • Evaluation, accountability and improvement: ‘More time for teaching, not more tests’ (p.5)
  • The teaching profession including teacher education (p.6 and 14)
  • Social justice: end child poverty (p.7)
  • Providing school places, finance, the education system and democratic governance (pp.10-13)

The campaign has emerged from the NUT’s member mobilisation, over a sustained period of time, in which concerns about pay, pensions and workload connect to a wider set of concerns about the nature and future of state education. The strategy and tactics of this campaign were recently outlined by its Deputy General Secretary Kevin Courtney, and NEC member Gawain Little, in a recent article in Forum for promoting 3-19 comprehensive education (Vol.56 No.2, 2014).

The campaign represents a concerted effort to mobilise professional and public opinion around an agenda that fundamentally challenges the trajectory of current policy, and has the potential to form an on-going campaign to shape policy beyond the election. It is clear that whatever the outcome in May 2015, the campaign for a well-funded, democratic school system based on sound pedagogical principles, not market values, will need to continue. The strategy recognises the need to win the battle of ideas, which will require an alliance of all those concerned for education.

We see this campaign as the best opportunity in a long time to mobilise on a significant scale around an alternative and much more hopeful vision of education.  That is why we believe it is important that progressive intellectual forces, within and beyond the higher education community, need to organise around the broad agenda presented in the ‘Stand Up For Education’ manifesto.

For this reason, we recently met informally with Kevin Courtney and Ian Murch (NUT Treasurer) to discuss how the academic community might best support this initiative. This was followed by a planning meeting in London involving some of the early signatories.

Our intention is not to identify a ‘one size fits all’ approach to involvement, but to develop several different forms of activity that can better fit with people’s circumstances. This could involve, for example:

  • developing a database of ‘research contacts’ for the media etc.
  • identifying relevant research
  • the use of social media
  • the development of regional and local events.

Involvement is not about having to sign up to every dot and comma of the ‘SUFE’ manifesto, and it does not have to be about formally or exclusively identifying with the NUT.  It is about recognising that we need to win the battle of ideas and that this represents one of the best initiatives in a long time for building a movement that connects ideas and activism.  Academics, researchers, teacher educators and wider public intellectuals surely have a key role to play in developing this movement. However, to make a difference, it is important that we organise.

Our aim is to explore how we might best do this.  We very much hope you will join with us. Some well-known individuals have already publicly declared support, including Robin Alexander and Tim Brighouse, and some well-known children’s authors. We have drafted a short statement at the end of this letter, which you may wish to support or alternatively write your own.

Stand Up for Education Manifesto:–9623-_0.pdf

How you can get involved:

Please let us know if you would like to add your name to this statement of support (please reply to or

As lecturers and professors of Education, we wish to express our support for Stand up for education: a manifesto for our children’s education. We urge policy makers to recognise the need for a wider vision of learning and education, which is no longer distorted and undermined by bureaucratic systems of surveillance and artificial target-setting. We call for immediate steps to end the blight of child poverty along with funding for high quality early years education and the restoration of financial support for post-16 students to stay in education.  We agree that the future development of high quality comprehensive education for all depends on a well qualified teaching profession and the principle of local democratic governance.

We will then bring you up to date on current activities, including our new blog and an invitation to prepare a short article or briefing note backing up specific recommendations in the Stand Up For Education document.

Thank you for taking the time to read this email. Please feel free to forward it to other colleagues who you think might be interested in being involved.

Howard Stevenson  

Terry Wrigley 



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Social Justice

Social Justice


Conference Theme: Social Justice Education Out of Bounds: New Frameworks and Alliances

March 1, 2014 – Sheraton Syracuse University Conference Center

Proposal Deadline: November 9, 2013
Acceptance Notification: December 13, 2013
Registration Will Open: January 15, 2014

Invited Keynotes

Conference Theme and Strands

Call for Proposals

Conference Directors:
Dr. Brad Porfilio, Lewis University; Derek Ford, Syracuse University; Dr. Julie Gorlewski, SUNY New Paltz; Dr. David Gorlewski, D’Youville College

With support by: Syracuse University School of Education; Cultural Foundations of Education


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World Crisis




Popular Education: Learning to Organize for Change is designed to build your understanding and experience in processes to lead groups in social justice education and activist organizing. If you are an educator, community organizer or worker looking for an experiential process to help you build greater consciousness in groups and lead others to act, this course could be for you.

After exploring an overview of popular education principles, you will participate in hands-on approaches and tools for; bringing groups together, creating spaces for dialogue, analysing the situation you hope to change, planning and taking action and evaluating group processes. In the final two evenings of the course, we will focus on specific feedback and problem solving to help each participant use popular education relevant to their own context. All participants will have the opportunity to present possible workshop processes, activities or dilemmas so that the group can offer their ideas and support. No experience necessary, but experience is welcome!

Dates and Times: (attendance for each day required for the certificate)
Saturday June 25th:  10:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.
Sunday June 26th:  10:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.
Wednesday June 28th:  6:00-9:00 p.m.
Thursday June 29th:  6:00-9:00 p.m.

Cost: $203.40 (Cdn). Scholarships and bursaries are available. Email to inquire.

To register:
Deadline June 21

About the Facilitator: Christine McKenzie is a popular educator who has developed and facilitated anti-oppression organizing processes with diverse groups in Canada and Central America for the past 15 years. She has led popular education trainings with groups such as the Canadian Auto Workers Union, Equitas International Centre for Human Rights Education, and the Girls Action Foundation, among others.



Saturday May 7th
10am – 1pm
Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE), Room 2-211
252 Bloor St. West

Our schools, and especially our students and their parents, are increasingly under attack. Teachers have a unique and special responsibility to ensure that our schools can be places of sanctuary where we can all create the socially just and equitable communities we expect and deserve.

Often teachers find ourselves working in isolation from our colleagues, from the communities we work in, and from the lives of our students and their families. The Sanctuary Schools Forum will be an opportunity to break this isolation, and connect teachers to each other as well as to the social movements being led by our students and their communities.

Forum topics:        
* Gender Based Violence & Supporting LGBTQ2 Youth and their Families
* Don’t Ask Don’t Tell: Keeping Students Safe from Deportation
* Protecting Students from Police in Schools
* Movement Building: Mobilizing Teachers to Resist Neo-Liberalism

Child care provided upon request.
Organized by Educators for Peace & Justice and No One Is Illegal

Register at:



April 18, 2011
7:00pm – 11:00pm
The Gladstone Hotel
1214 Queen Street West
Toronto invites you to join us in celebrating 10 years of, April 18th at the Gladstone Hotel in Toronto!

Join moderator and rabble founder Judy Rebick, and special guests for a panel discussion on the state of Canadian left politics, historical memory, and the upcoming federal election, and stay on after for a reception and party featuring Toronto’s criticaly acclaimed LAL and dancing with DJ b#!

Can’t join in person? This event will also be streamed live:


Opens Saturday, April 9

Institute for Contemporary Culture
Roloff Beny Gallery, Level 4
Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto

Ryerson Gallery and Research Centre, Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival and Scotiabank Group present Edward Burtynsky: Oil, hosted by the ROM’s Institute for Contemporary Culture. The exhibition features fifty-three beautiful and provocative large-format photographs by internationally renowned Canadian artist Edward Burtynsky. His images explore the hotly-debated effects of oil extraction, our international dependency on the substance, and with an unflinching eye, Burtynsky presents us with the reality of oil production as its role in our civilization undergoes massive transformation.

Read more about the exhibition:

Related Event at the ROM:
Downstream: The Oil Sands Industry and the Athabasca River April 13, 7-8 pm

Learn of the controversy over the role of pollution from the oil sands industry in causing cancer deaths in Fort Chipewyan on the Athabasca River in Alberta.



Friday, April 15, 2011
Faculty of Education – Althouse College
University of Western Ontario
London, ON

Featuring Keynote Speaker Dr. Jane Kenway, Monash University, Australia

We are anticipating a thought-provoking, discussion-rich day. To see more details and to register please go to:

If you are planning on coming to the event, a couple of important notes:
– We have had some technical difficulties with the registration process, but the system is now fixed. If you have already registered please do so again as we might not have received your submission.
– Once you register please mail in your cheques as soon as possible (according to the details on the website) so they we can better organize the catered lunch and drinks.
– Check out the website for more details in early April for a suggested format on how you can contribute your research in our last informal sharing session and also to read invited paper submissions (will be posted by April 8) that will be discussed during session ii of our symposium.



Thursday, April 21
7:30 pm
Reagle Beagle
335 Bloor St West (east of Spadina), back room

This forum brings together a multi-generational panel of activists who have been involved in publishing movement publications on the political left, from the older and more well-established to more recent projects. By sharing their experiences and reflecting on both the significance and challenges of this work – from political to financial – it is our hope that we can develop and expand on our analysis of the important role such publications play for advancing our struggles, as places for dialogue and debate, educating, agitating and organizing, as well as for strategizing and visioning otherwise.

– Clare O’Connor, Upping the Anti and UofT OPIRG
– Chanteal-Lee Winchester, UofT OPIRG – Action Speakers Louder
– Noaman Ali, Basics
– Paul Kellog, Former Editor of Socialist Worker
– Leo Panitch, Socialist Register
– Mick Sweetman, Linchpin

For more info:




It has been 16 long years since Mike Harris cut welfare and froze disability. McGuinty’s Liberals have been in power for half that time and done nothing to deal with poverty. In fact people are worse off today. It would take a 55% increase to bring benefits to pre-Harris levels. If benefit levels were restored to the same level of spending power as they had in 1994, a single person on Ontario Works would now be receiving $904 a month instead of the miserable $593 now being issued.

Now as the economy continues to slump and the need is greater than ever, this government is destroying the vital Special Diet Allowance that has enabled people to survive…The new Special Diet comes into affect on April 1st, 2011 and all those who are not eligible under the new program will be cut off by July 31st.

Watch the video:



TORONTO, April 8 /CNW/ – Ministers of education joined this week with Canadians to celebrate International Adult Learners’ Week (IALW 2011).

First established in 2000 by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), IALW serves to raise awareness of the importance of adult learning and its integral role in the lifelong learning process.

Read more:



By Doug Henwood, Left Business Observer

This is the text of my introduction to a panel on catastrophism that (Catastrophism and the Crisis of the Left) I MC’d at the Left Forum, March 19, 2011, at Pace University, New York.

Events in Japan have gotten me thinking about crises in general. At first, I thought that it might promote the realization that finding clean, renewable forms of energy may the most urgent task facing us today. But then I thought back a bit to other energy-related crises. One of my beefs with the peak oilers, aside from the empirical one in which I suspect that they’re just wrong about hydrocarbon production, is that impending scarcity doesn’t make people more amenable to rational argument—it inclines them to desperate measures.

Read more:



From The Bullet

A trade unionism that is able to facilitate and express the practical knowledge of its members, as workers and as citizens, is critical to the renewal of public services and for confronting a global politics of austerity. Hilary Wainwright has been at the forefront of such attempts to forge a new public sector unionism for some time. She has attempted to link the struggle over the state with the building of the popular power and democratic capacities necessary for a renewal of unionism, and also the socialist project.

We are at the beginning of what will likely prove to be a long phase of public sector struggle in Canada and the U.S. The Bullet publishes here a recent contribution by Wainwright to the debate on union renewal. There is a need for many more such interventions, from a variety of perspectives, from militants and activists in North America as part of the coming battles against the ruling classes’ attempts to forge a new ‘age of austerity’.

Read more:



By David Macdonald, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives

This study tracks 198 companies on the S&P/TSX composite from 2000 through 2009 and finds those companies—Canada’s largest corporations—are making 50% more profit and paying 20% less tax than they did a decade ago.

However, in terms of job creation, they did not keep up with the average growth of employment in the economy as a whole. From 2005 to 2010, the number of employed Canadians rose 6% while the number of jobs created by the companies in the study grew by only 5%. In essence, the largest beneficiaries of corporate tax cuts are dragging down Canadian employment growth.

Read more:



I would like to bring your attention to a newly released research paper I’ve written through my work with the Ontario Nurses’ Association, which is the RN union in Ontario. The paper is called “Health and Health Care Needs in Rural and Northern Ontario: a holistic nursing perspective.” The paper has a feminist analysis of health issues, as well as insight from front line nurses, among other elements. It can be found at:

Salimah Valiani, PhD
Policy Analyst/Economist
Communications and Government Relations Team
Ontario Nurses’ Association



Head: Peter Sawchuk
Co-ordinator: D’Arcy Martin

The Centre for the Study of Education and Work (CSEW) brings together educators from university, union, and community settings to understand and enrich the often-undervalued informal and formal learning of working people. We develop research and teaching programs at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (UofT) that strengthen feminist, anti-racist, labour movement, and working-class perspectives on learning and work.

Our major project is APCOL: Anti-Poverty Community Organizing and Learning. This five-year project (2009-2013), funded by SSHRC-CURA, brings academics and activists together in a collaborative effort to evaluate how organizations approach issues and campaigns and use popular education.

For more information about CSEW, visit:


‘I believe in the afterlife.

It starts tomorrow,

When I go to work’

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