Rutgers GSE Launches The Urban Social Justice Teacher Preparation Program

Contact: Afsheen A. Shamsi
Telephone Number: 848-932-0619; 914-217-0983
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Rutgers GSE Launches The Urban Social Justice Teacher Preparation Program

 New Brunswick, NJ (October 11, 2017) – September 2017 marked the launch of the Rutgers GraduateSchool of Education (GSE) Urban Social Justice Teacher Preparation Program. The GSE’s Urban Social Justice Teacher Preparation Program aims to develop a generation of teachers with the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to teach and advocate for all students and learn from the communities they serve. It prepares teacher candidates to effectively teach diverse learners by fostering a deep understanding of students from historically marginalized linguistic, economic, and cultural backgrounds and communities. Central to the Program’s commitment to developing a cadre of skilled educators and change agents is the GSE Community School Partnership Network (GSE-CSPN), a collaborative effort between the GSE and several local school districts designed to support the education of P-12 students, provide professional development to partner districts, and advance the preparation of high quality teacher candidates.

The importance of educators as change agents has become even more relevant within today’s dynamic social and educational landscape. In 2014, our nation’s education system hit a major milestone when, for the first timeever, the number of students from underserved groups surpassed that of non-Hispanic white students in theUnited States Public School System. However, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, largegaps still remain between minority group education attainment and outcomes compared to that of non-Hispanicwhite Americans. African-American and Latino students, for instance, are more likely to attend schools in high-poverty areas, and low-income and poverty-stricken students are seven times more likely to drop out of schoolthan those from families with more sustainable incomes. As The State University of New Jersey, the GSE recognizes that these findings are especially relevant in a uniquely diverse and urban state like New Jersey, reinforcing the importance of preparing professionals committed to excellence, equity, and social justice in their teaching practice.

The GSE’s Urban Social Justice Teacher Preparation Program seeks to empower its teacher candidates to address instances of educational inequality while maintaining the highest quality of pedagogical and contentpreparation.  Candidates learn to adapt innovative, research-based best practices, and balance constructive,student-centered approaches with explicit instruction and scaffolding. Teacher candidates also learn to becaring, competent and reflective practitioners who are able to identify and disrupt instances and patterns ofdiscrimination and marginalization, and develop their students’ active citizenship capacities.

Much of the Urban Social Justice Teacher Preparation Program’s community engagement is realized throughthe GSE-CSPN’s Clinical Partner Districts: Bound Brook, Franklin Township, Highland Park, New Brunswick,North Brunswick, Neptune Township, and Rahway. All GSE-CSPN partners have a shared commitment topromoting high-quality teacher preparation and renewing the responsibility of the profession to advancingexcellence and equity in education.

See how the GSE-CSPN and the Urban Social Justice Teacher Preparation Program are changing the lives ofstudents, parents, current and future educators, and the wider community in New Jersey and beyond in these two short videos:

Urban Social Justice Teacher Preparation Program:


“It is our vision to prepare educators so that they are able to educate and engage with any student regardlessof their background. Our goal is to empower GSE teachers to be change agents who foster learning andinfluence the educational experience of students and families in positive ways,” stated Dr. Nora Hyland,Interim Faculty Director of Teacher Education and Associate Professor in the Department of Learning andTeaching at the Rutgers Graduate School of Education. “As a state university, we have a responsibility toleverage our resources to improve New Jersey schools.”

The GSE is committed to advancing excellence and equity in education, and for the last 95 years has been anational leader in preparing educators and researchers who create effective and equitable learningopportunities for diverse learners.