Brave New Teachers
Doing Social Justice Work in Neoliberal Times
Brave New Teachers is a timely investigation of democratic teacher practice in culturally diverse school systems. Based on an original study of the Urban Diversity Teacher Education Program at York University, it investigates the extent to which graduates of a teacher education program grounded in the democratic principles of equity, diversity, and social justice can hold true to these principles in a climate of conservative school culture and state-mandated educational reform that focuses on standardization and accountability. The result is a critical Canadian perspective on both the challenges and the possibilities of working for social justice in the classroom.
“Brave New Teachers helps us see the collision course that social justice education is on with neo-liberal and market-based approaches to education. However, this story is not about the train wreck; it is about the new direction that programs like Urban Diversity Teacher Education are willing and able to forge so that those of us who are struggling with the de-skilling of teaching and the lowering of students’ intellectual horizons will carry on. We carry on because we see the real light of equity, justice, and liberation at the end of the tunnel.”
Gloria Ladson-Billings, Kellner Family Chair in Urban Education and Professor of Curriculum and Educational Policy Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison
“Brave New Teachers offers a series of thought-provoking testimonials from young teachers committed to practising diversity in education. These teachers’ testimonies illustrate what it means to foster transformative practices that lead to engaging the ever-changing Canadian student population. This is a serious and compelling contribution to the praxis of education in new urban environments.”
S. Nombuso Dlamini, Jean Augustine Chair in Education in the New Urban Environment, York University
“If our schools and communities are going to have any chance at all of becoming more socially just places then we need more initiatives like the Urban Diversity Teacher Education Program, and just as important, we need to know about the struggles, successes, and failures of these programs and of their graduates. […] Those interested in pursuing social justice and equity in our schools and communities can learn a great deal from this book. This is particularly timely given an environment that is decidedly not sympathetic to these worthy causes.”