Posted on April 6, 2017 · Posted in Faculty Associates News, Featured News Story, Roosevelt House

“I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” (Pledge of Allegiance, Original Version, Bellamy, 1892)

If you were to trace the evolution of the Pledge of Allegiance from its inception, you would gain insight into the shifting ideologies that have shaped our nation. Phrases that were added over time included “United States of America” (1923) and “one Nation under God” (1954).  What is noticeably absent is the mention of “equality”. Francis Bellamy pondered whether it was appropriate to add equality and fraternity, but he specifically decided against it, arguing that these two notions were still “thousands of years off in realization”. According to John Baer’s account of Bellamy’s deliberation, state superintendents of education were against equality for women and African Americans. This intentional and symbolic absence of equality from our nation’s pledge of allegiance is reflective of the absence of equity for many students in our nation’s schools.

This Special Issue of the Roosevelt House Faculty Journal examines the Issues of Equity and Justice in Education Policy through the contributions of Hunter faculty and students whose scholarship examines racial diversity, equity, poverty, trauma, teacher quality, higher education, and the intersectionality of these themes.

Although education legislation over the years has made many attempts to compensate and atone for inequities in society such as segregation (Brown vs Board of Education), poverty (Title 1, Elementary and Secondary Education Act), and disability (Education of All Handicapped Children Act), students identified as minority, poor, or disabled fare the worst due to systemic racism and exclusion.

As a follow-up to our May 2016 colloquium titled Intersections of Race and Class Special Education Policy, this special issue is designed to address some of the myriad issues that we could not adequately address in the one-day colloquium format. The interactive sessions at our colloquium facilitated collaborative problem solving across federal, state, and local education policy stakeholders, researchers, and practitioners and resulted in a policy brief. The themes that emerged from the summary recommendations in the policy brief included: 1) Intersectional Vulnerabilities, 2) Closing the Policy, Research, and Practice Gap, and 3) Need for Systemic change.

We intentionally carried these themes into a Roosevelt House Faculty Seminar Series in Fall 2016 focused on Equity and Justice in Educational Policy. It was designed to be a forum for Hunter College scholars to present research, critique policies, develop action plans, and improve practice for marginalized students through cross-disciplinary dialogue and collaboration. This special issue of the Roosevelt House Faculty Journal: Equity and Justice in Education Policy is a summary of some of the research, policy, and practice topics presented in the Faculty Seminar. Our hope is to continue to challenge the explicit and ongoing failure to promote “equality and justice for all” as part of our nation’s pledge.