Maintaining a Socially Just Classroom: Ethical Decision-Making for Student Engagement as Positive Outcome
Jose Lalas and Joanna Linda Lalas
This chapter presents an ethical decision-making for student engagement from a social justice perspective. It discusses what social justice means by presenting some principles gathered from existing related research literature supported by teacher voices that are gathered from written survey. Student engagement and the factors that influence it are discussed highlighting them from a socially and culturally situated perspective. Motivational and sociocultural factors such as funds of knowledge, race, social capital, and cultural capital are presented to demonstrate why mere access is not enough as an ethical and equitable way of engaging student to achieve positive outcomes. Access must be activated by providing students ample opportunities to experience a sense of belonging, teacher trust that they are competent learners, recognition of their identities and interests, and meaningful engagements.
Brian Charles Charest
In this chapter the author argues that those concerned with the “the way it's going” in public education can learn much from post-colonial theory about the relationship between education research and assessment technologies and education reform policy, curriculum development, and knowledge formation. The author argues that current neoliberal education reform in the US can best be understood through the frame of neocolonialism, where schools and communities take the shape of internal colonies, where teachers, students, and parents have little or no say about the technologies, curricula, and standardized examinations foisted upon them. Education research that supports the current policy paradigm largely benefits researchers, corporations, and policy makers, while ignoring the effects of such policies on students, teachers, and local communities. Such practices, the author suggests, are rooted in a type of colonial thinking and acting that have been rearticulated through the prevailing logic of neoliberalism.
Kitty Fortner and Jose Lalas
School, parent involvement, and at-risk students do not always make a winning combination. However, for the students at Mountain View High School, things were different. Strategies used by the Mountain View Parent Advisory Group helped to transform education for students of color who participated in their program. This chapter follows a study at a high school located in an upper/upper middle-class neighborhood where barriers to academic growth were considered addressed. However, there was a pocket of students of color who were not being successful academically. Strategies used by a parent group to help re-engage at-risk students, raise their GPAs, and redirect their future towards success are highlighted. Understanding that these strategies can be initiated by any group of parents or teachers provides promise for at-risk students, parents, and schools.