(New course.) Educators and educational policy makers regularly face challenging ethical decisions. For example, what should be done about a student with diagnosed emotional issues who frequently disrupts class, but who benefits from being mainstreamed? Should teachers resist grade inflation even if it helps their students in the college and labor market? Is it just to expand a charter school that achieves outstanding academic outcomes at the cost of high attrition rates? When school closure or teacher evaluation policies disproportionately impact low-income communities of color, is that in itself evidence of an injustice that must be addressed? These kinds of questions are often addressed as technocratic challenges of leadership, legal compliance, or accountability. This course, by contrast, addresses the ethical dimensions of educational practice and policy, with justice as our primary focus. We will engage with philosophical, theoretical, and empirical readings from a wide variety of disciplines. We will also grapple with case studies of dilemmas of educational justice from classrooms, schools, districts, and organizations in the United States and abroad. Our goals will be to deepen our own understandings of educational justice, to engage with others about complex ethical judgments across multiple lines of difference, and to learn how to enhance educators' and policymakers' capacities to make ethical decisions under challenging conditions.
This course is intended for masters and doctoral students from all concentrations and programs. Cross-registrants welcomed. Undergraduates permitted upon application to instructor.
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