How can schools become more diverse? Why does bullying occur? Does standardized testing help level the educational playing field? Those are some of the questions that will be explored as the Martin Richard Institute for Social Justice presents two weeks of programming dubbed #edjustice. The free series, which runs from March 12 to 23, is centered on the theme of justice and injustice in the American education system.
The series is free and open to the public and features talks, film screenings and a spoken word poetry contest.
“The events we have are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to this topic,” said Dr. Kelly Brotzman, the institute’s executive director.
The series fits well into Bridgewater State’s long history of training educators, she said. The programming is “going to bring a justice perspective to debates about education in Massachusetts and beyond.”
Dr. Brotzman added that teachers and administrators also need to work to close disparities in test scores, graduation rates and other factors among people of different racial, economic and geographic backgrounds. Bridgewater State looks to reduce achievement gaps and improve access to education in the region and on campus, she said.
Discussion topics that are part of the series include how to help urban teens successfully transition to adulthood, and how perceptions about school quality drive people to specific neighborhoods.
Richard Kahlenberg, a senior fellow at The Century Foundation, will discuss during a March 22 program ways districts can create schools with racially and economically diverse student bodies. And speakers with varying perspectives on whether standardized testing helps foster justice in education will share their views at a March 13 town hall forum.
On March 23, poet Donovan Livingston, who delivered a 2016 convocation address to the Harvard Graduate School of Education that went viral, will perform. He will also judge a spoken word poetry contest that challenges participants to share experiences with justice or injustice in the American education system.
Other activities include screenings of the films Bully, a documentary that chronicles the consequences of peer-to-peer bullying, and Starving the Beast, which explores funding for public higher education.
“We were going with variety with the events,” Dr. Brotzman said. “We didn’t want just talks.”
Registration is required for some programs. For more information and a complete list of events and their times and locations, visit the institute’s Facebook page. (Story by Brian Benson, University News)