Northern Illinois University is hosting a “social justice summer camp” next week for educators across the country.
According to the event website, the intensive camp will “bring together teams of educators to investigate multicultural and social justice education. Campers will have significant opportunities to discuss social justice issues, both general and specific to their schools, with experts and colleagues, as well as time for individual reflection.”
The camp will also present a “candid and nonjudgmental exploration of multiculturalism, privilege, identity, oppression and more.”
Attendees — who paid upward of $500 to attend the camp — will stay at the residence halls on campus.
The camp will focus on addressing “the historic development of multicultural and social justice education and key ideas; the nature of privilege across identities and how privilege impacts policy and practice in schools, and the ways in which school policies foster inequity and how to reform such policies.”
Dr. Joseph Flynn, who pushed for the establishment of the camp, is confident that the program will be successful.
“Practicing K-12 teachers and administrators typically have the best of intentions, but it is important for them to also have experiences that can help further their understanding of various forms of oppression and social justice in general,” Flynn told NIU Newsroom.
“Regardless of what people might have to say, or whatever political stripe they may be, social justice issues are actually happening to people,” he added.
Dr. Michael Mandarin, who is one of the camp directors, stated:
“Schools are a microcosm of society. Whether it’s racism, sexism, discrimination against one’s gender identity, sexual preference or religious background—these are systemic issues. Schools, and the school system itself, really have to confront the fact that these issues are present.”
Another camp director, Dr. James Cohen, allegedly argues that educators must get past the idea that “there’s no such thing as white rule.”
“When teachers understand how white privilege plays a role in their teaching, how misogyny plays a role in their teaching, how linguistic privilege plays a role in their teaching – if they can gain that awareness, they will be teaching students multiple historical perspectives,” he told NIU Newsroom.