Our Schools/Our Selves: Winter 2008

Raising Class Consciousness: Schools, Democracy and Social Change
February 1, 2008

If we want democracy, we must educate for democracy — and we must ensure that educational institutions and educators are in a position to encourage and facilitate this objective.

This issue of Our Schools/Our Selves examines the relationship between schools, democracy and social change — and the profound dangers of ignoring that connection. A number of articles examine events and decisions that have suppressed democracy in education: the dismantling of the Halifax Regional School Board, or the ways corporatization at universities makes institutions of higher learning less efficient, less democratic, and less about learning altogether. Other articles provide very tangible evidence of how educators and students are fostering learning environments and educational resources that enhance democratic exchange and integrate social justice concepts into the classroom. What might a curriculum truly committed to a critical view of equity and multiculturalism look like — and what impact might this have on students in Ontario? How can a Civics class foster BC high school students’ participation in the democratic process? How can science curriculum also teach about social justice? What is the responsibility of the educator in taking a moral stand on contentious issues and in bringing difficult concepts such as justice, fairness, sexism, homophobia, racism and equality into the classroom? These are some of the questions our authors tackle—with humour, self-reflexivity, and passion.