The center’s main purpose is to design, refine, research and radically reimagine the teacher preparation pipeline, from university teacher preparation through veteran teacher development and support. Many have written about the gap between research and practice (Ebby, 2000), and regrettably, universities and schools/districts are often framed as oppositional to one another (Flessner, 2014). As such, one of the major goals of this center will be to support the development of strategic and deep partnerships between universities and local urban schools, districts and equity-centered community organizations that will lead to more effective and purposeful policies, practices and curricula across the teacher education continuum.
Although not the sole focus, the Center for Equity and Justice in Teacher Education will focus on teacher residencies as one way to radically reimagine teacher education. The residency approach draws on “third-space theory” with the idea that “no longer does the university’s knowledge trump that of the schools and communities nor are the customary boundaries between the roles and responsibilities of the participants in the teacher preparation process fixed” (Klein et al., 2016, p. 28). The residency approach aims to develop and support justice-oriented new and veteran educators seeking to improve student achievement and address issues of social injustice and inequity (Kretchmar & Zeichner, 2016). Given the clear benefits of residency programs on new and veteran teachers, schools, communities and universities, this center will work to sustain currently funded residency models for new teacher training and induction. They will support the research and expansion of these models as appropriate. The center will consider new policies and practices that work toward a sustained residency model that is not dependent on external (and temporary) grant funds and provides an equity-centered residency experience for all educators matriculating through the CEHD.
Adding to this, center faculty and affiliate members will work to support veteran educators’ development as social-justice educators (see “Existing Funded Projects”). This work supports veteran educators’ learning of content, pedagogical and political knowledge and prepares them to mentor new teachers emerging from local teacher residency programs supported through the center. This synergistic approach to transformative, justice-oriented education will have a powerful impact on the education of youth in Atlanta and beyond.
The Center for Equity and Justice in Teacher Education (CEJTE) invites critical advisors to act as an informal advisory board to hold us accountable to our goal to design, research and reimagine teacher education to support social justice education across all grade levels.
A critical advisor merges two concepts, a critical friend with an advisor of a social justice movement.
According to the Glossary of Education Reform, a critical friend is “someone who is encouraging and supportive, but who also provides honest and often candid feedback that may be uncomfortable or difficult to hear. In short, a critical friend is someone who agrees to speak truthfully, but constructively, about weaknesses, problems, and emotionally charged issues. The Center for Equity and Justice in Teacher Education will support the systemic transformation of education such as the Civil Rights Movement served as a catalyst for change in the social order of our nation.
“During his time as an active civil rights leader, roughly from 1955 until 1968, Martin Luther King surrounded himself with a dedicated group of advisors who helped him strategize, marched with him and who was at his side at his death.” (Ernie Suggs, AJC, “The King Generation is nearly gone; who is stepping up?”)
A Center for Equity and Justice in Teacher Education (CEJTE) Critical Advisor is someone who will:
- Provide honest and truthful feedback on issues of racial justice and educational equity to the CEJTE
- Attend meetings and engage in dialogue about educational equity and social justice issues
- Engage in community building through restorative and contemplative practices
Educator and Community Organizer in South Fulton
Executive Director of The Bob Moses Research Center for Math Literacy Through Public Education at Florida International University in Miami, Florida.