While attending the yearly American Educational Researchers Association (AERA) meeting in Chicago last week, I learned that the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) has removed any references to social justice from its "professional standards" and replaced it with "fairness." This may seem like not a big deal, but almost all colleges of education in the country where the future teachers of America are trained are NCATE accredited or hope to be. At the same time as they were making this change they removed "sexual orientation" as an identity as well. Social justice was deemed as too radical and replaced with fairness, while their has been no real conversation about the removal of sexual orientation.
Last Monday, when Indiana's legislature decided to ensure that it was still okay to kill queer and transgender folks because of their identities, AERA was refusing to take a position on this issue citing that they only take positions on issues such as this when their is strong evidence that it is necessary and that this issue is politically complicated. Gender identity was never included. The Queer Special Interest Group of AERA that I am co-program chair of for the second year running has started a campaign to force AERA to speak out.
I want to encourage folks to contact NCATE and let them know that this issue matters. You can email NCATE at firstname.lastname@example.org, and you can reach their President, Arthur E. Wise at email@example.com. I would suggest any contact be respectful but insist that it is extremely important that "social justice" and "sexual identity" remain a part of their organization's platform.