Mandatory Social Justice
The Long-Term Effects of Social-Justice Education on Black Students
by Melinda D. Anderson
The Atlantic, July 19, 2016
The present political and social landscape in America calls on schools to embed social justice education into curricula, and independent schools should have the will and flexibility to take a lead in this direction. Transformative social-justice education is a path towards school and social equity with proven, positive, long-term effects, especially on black adolescents. Transformative social-justice education addresses social justice issues intellectually, communally, and emotionally. Similar to transformative social change, it is a philosophical, practical, and strategic approach to social equity and justice. Research shows that the benefits of mandatory social-justice class in schools extends well beyond adulthood regardless of the race or ethnicity of the teacher. Such a class can unravel socioeconomic issues among black students, while also elevating the capacity of the teacher to connect with the students and have an impact on their identities. At a time when current events exert much mental toll on our students, our ability as teachers to connect emotionally with them and help them process their experiences in healthy ways is crucial to protecting them and preserving the American democracy.