The Collaborative for Equity and Justice in Education is a collaborative of faculty members and graduate students and community advisors/partners. We produce research that supports engagement and advocacy of school communities toward equity and justice in public schools. CEJE works in partnership with parents, students, teachers, and community organizations to conduct research and policy analysis, produce policy reports, and engage public discussions of education policy. Our work aims to strengthen public education and support public school teachers, democratic teacher unions, parents and students toward schools that provide all children with an equitable public education that is academically rigorous, rich in the arts and physical development, socially and emotionally supportive, grounded in students’ communities and cultures, and that prepares children and youth to participate critically in democratic public life.
In the current educational climate, many local, state, and national education policies work in the opposite direction. Unsupported by sound educational research, they are aligned more with business interests and corporate agendas than education goals. These policies focus on U.S. corporate competitiveness, privatization of public education, reigning in teacher unions and controlling teaching, and running schools like businesses. They exclude those most knowledgeable about and committed to public education – parents, teachers and school staff, students, and community members. Evidence indicates inequities in educational opportunities and outcomes have increased under these policies, particularly in urban school districts. Chicago has been a laboratory for these policies. Here they have produced disinvestment and destabilization of schools in African American and Latino low-income communities, public school closings coupled with expansion of privately operated charter schools, and the demoralization and de-professionalization of the teaching force. Students in these communities are increasingly treated as products in the education market and teachers as testing managers. CEJE hopes our research will contribute to a shift in direction.
The Collaborative for Equity and Justice in Education (CEJE) is committed to community-based, democratic public schools that enrich and develop the full potential of all children and adults. Our collaborative research and engagement with school-community members is the basis for our policy reports and participation in public policy discussions about urban education. A hallmark of CEJE collaborations is the value we place on the multiple forms of knowledge necessary to inform the transformation of public education, particularly for those students least well-served by public schools. In all aspects of CEJE work, we strive to draw on the expert knowledge and wisdom of teachers and school based staff, children and youth, and families and community members, as well as academic research.