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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

Teaching ‘social justice’ — or propaganda?

Destiny Martin, a senior at University City High school, created this artwork for a social-justice class.

St. Louis teachers are turning their classrooms into “hubs of social justice,” reports Kristen Taketa for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. A local group called Educators for Social Justice “supports and encourages teaching that challenges students to become involved in social change and to see history and current events from the eyes of the marginalized.”

Teachers at an Oct. 1 event told Taketa they “avoid impressing their own views on students, while also bringing up points or evidence that students may have overlooked.”

“The best practice is to never agree or disagree with a position a student takes,” said Yul Amerson, a government teacher at University City High School who started teaching a social justice class this school year at his principal’s suggestion. “Not necessarily changing views — that’s never been my mission — but just to bring some truth to any situation other than the narrative that may be created by the media, or the mainstream, or the government.”

Despite talk of “diversity” and celebrating “disagreement,” Educators for Social Justice “seem to promote only a politically correct, left-leaning perspective,” writes J. Martin Rochester, a political science professor at University of Missouri at St. Louis.

“To see history and current events from the eyes of the marginalized” and “developing socially just curriculum” seem rather one-sided to me. Who is deciding who is marginalized and what is socially just? Is that allowing our students to learn to think for themselves?

Teachers should expose students to a wide range of views, he writes.

What are the chances they would have their students read analyses about poverty and race written by conservative writers such as Charles Murray (Coming Apart), Thomas Sowell (Wealth, Poverty, and Politics), and Walter Williams (Race and Economics) or—relating to the Stockley verdict and policing—the scholarly work of Heather MacDonald (The War on Cops), which shows “systemic police brutality” to be a false narrative?

Empirical, scientific research reported by both liberal and conservative think tanks, such as the Brookings Institution and Heritage Foundation,” shows that more than 90 percent of young people will escape poverty if they “get a high school diploma, get a job, get married, and only then have kids,” Rochester writes. Do Educators for Social Justice teach the “success sequence?” He doubts it.

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