Chair researchers publish a new article on democracy and social justice

Social justice is an imperative element for democracy, not only in society, but also in schools. Social justice understood as Fraser (2000, 2008, 2012), that is, in terms of redistribution, recognition and representation/participation, involves approaching a more just and egalitarian society. A society of free citizens, capable of approaching their reality critically and ultimately, capable of transforming that reality.

However, educational professionals may find it complex to address democracy and social justice in their centers and classrooms. For this reason, we collect some of the contributions from the last article by Belavi and Murillo (2020) entitled “Democracy and Social Justice in Schools: Dimensions for Thinking and Improving Educational Practice” within the framework of the Plan Estatal I+D+i del Gobierno de España “La democracia en las escuelas como fundamento de una educación para la Justicia Social” (Ref. EDU2017- 82688-P) and published by REICE, which encourages us to work on these two components through 5 dimensions.

    • Redistribution of opportunities and benefits of education. This dimension is intrinsically related to social justice because social and school injustice cannot be defeated if there is no equitable distribution of resources among all.

    • Recognition of cultural values ​​and social diversity. The recognition supposes a critique of the dominant cultural values ​​and an acceptance, visibility and respect of all the identities and cultures represented in the educational community. This dimension is also strongly linked to social justice, but in addition, and as Keddie (2012) indicates, the lack of recognition also helps us to predict students’ low performance.

    • School governance. This dimension, although linked to social justice, is more closely related to democracy. In order to promote governance in schools, there must be a real participation of all community members in decision-making. In other words, the school must include the families, their students, teachers, etc. in the organization of the center, so that by cooperation and dialogue the school can build the common. A good way to accomplish this is, without a doubt, to put aside authoritarian governance and to make way for distributed leadership.

    • Critical and participatory curriculum. It has to do with the question: what do we want to be as a society? and, therefore, “it is an issue that involves the entire community” (Belavi and Murillo, 2020, p. 17). It is a process of shared reasoning about the problems of the school and the community that helps to awaken in the students a critical sense and empowers them.
    • Democratic school culture. It is a key dimension, as it guides the expectations, activities and assumptions of the entire educational community. Without a democratic school culture, the other dimensions will not permeate the community.

Therefore, we encourage you to read the interesting and inspiring article by Guillermina Belavi and F. Javier Murillo that you can find in REICE:

Belavi, G. y Murillo, F. J. (2020). Democracia y justicia social en las escuelas: Dimensiones para pensar y mejorar la práctica educativa. REICE. Revista Iberoamericana sobre Calidad, Eficacia y Cambio en Educación, 18(3), 5-28.