In Baltimore, a group of teacher activists have formed a social justice caucus within the Baltimore Teachers Union in an attempt to balance “bread and butter” issues with working to create equity and keep public schools in the hands of communities. This caucus is called BMORE (Baltimore Movement of Rank-and-File Educators) and is part of a national movement of social justice caucuses working to increase teacher participation in the union to fight for schools Baltimore students deserve by working with parents and communities.
Culturally Responsive Pedagogy or Social Justice Curriculum is not just about a set of content. It is about children and adults questioning what school is for in an unequal society with a history of racism. It means that what we know to be true in our lives and in our experience fits in some way with what we are learning, so we don’t have to doubt ourselves and our families in order to be “good” in school.
The most accurate predictor of a student's achievement in school is not income or social status, but the extent to which that student's family is able to create a home environment that encourages learning; express high and realistic expectations for their children's achievement and future careers; and become involved in their children's education at school and in the community. (Henderson and Berla, 1994. P. 160)
The overarching problem with the zero tolerance style of discipline is that over the past 40 years, more and more students have been exposed to a range of traumas, including: loss of family members to death and imprisonment; hunger; homelessness; fewer stable community based supports for families and children and other serious issues stemming from a disinvestment in Black cities and neighborhoods. If a child’s misbehavior stems from trauma, it often keeps getting expressed until the crisis is recognized and somehow addressed. Schools need more resources (social workers, parent liaisons, therapists, counsellors) to address these issues.