Campus Reform | UC-Davis pauses teacher education program to incorporate social justice

UC-Davis pauses teacher education program to incorporate social justice

UC Davis wanted to pause its teacher education program to reconstruct the curriculum around social justice.

Although local teachers supported the new social justice lens, they asked UC Davis to continue the program, to which UC Davis agreed.

However, a university spokeswoman told Campus Reform it will still move forward with the change eventually.

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After administrators at the University of California-Davis considered pausing their teacher’s education master’s degree for the purpose of revamping the curriculum with a social justice lens, the university faced backlash from local teachers.

In a statement, UC Davis School of Education Dean Lauren Lindstrom explained that the school is “proud of our program as it exists now, but at the same time, educational priorities are constantly evolving and teacher preparation programs need to be responsive.”

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The university “received input from alumni, students and faculty that we need to do more to prepare our students to address institutional racism, meet the needs of LGBTQ students, bilingual students and students with disabilities, and use digital tools to promote learning.”

However, local teachers expressed concern about the low supply of new teachers that would result from the program’s suspension.

A petition signed by over 4,000 educators stated that the losses associated with a teacher shortage would be “devastating as our schools reel from a pandemic-induced recession.”

“We agree that the values of research-informed practice, technology-infused classrooms, and social justice are vital to the wellbeing of strong classrooms; dismissing lecturers is socially unjust and undermines the instruction of best classroom practice,” continued the petition, which also noted the university’s “inexplicable timing and opaque communication.”

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Educators were notified of the program’s pause on October 9. UC Davis reversed the pause on October 16.

UC Davis will “engage in a deliberative and collaborative process for deciding if admissions need to be suspended during the redesign process, or if there are satisfactory alternative approaches.”

UC Davis undergraduate Jenna DiCarlo told Campus Reform that it is not appropriate for a political view to be pushed on students in K-12, calling it “highly inappropriate to push any sort of political view in K-12 classrooms, especially in elementary schools where young children are the most impacted." She added it is “dangerous to be imposing radical, far-left views that tell kids that they’re inherently racist, sexist, [and] homophobic.”

She also noted that “UC Davis claims to admire its excellence in ‘diversity,’ but does little to encourage diversity of thought. By helping K-12 educators preach these views, they’re ensuring that diversity of thought ceases long before kids reach college.”

UC Davis spokeswoman Melissa Blouin confirmed to Campus Reform that “the university will be figuring out how to incorporate social justice into the curriculum as part of the redesign.”

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @BenZeisloft