Case Studies

    From the ethics of pandering to how teachers should engage the 2016 election, these normative case studies provide teachers, school leaders, and policy makers the chance to discuss the difficult ethical questions they face every day. Please click on any of the links to the right to explore case studies crafted by the Justice in Schools team.

    For a complete list of all our case studies, please click here.

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    Educators are often motivated by an admirable but frankly rather vague commitment to “social justice.”  They are passionate about achieving social justice both through their own efforts—say, by helping traditionally underserved students gain the academic skills needed to gain admission to college, or by revising discipline policies that disproportionately punish black boys—and by teaching their students to fight for social justice on their own behalves.  But what “social justice” means in general, and how...

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    Justice in Schools began in 2012, and will likely be actively under development until at least 2017.  It is organized around a set of intensively-researched, normative case studies of classroom-level, school-level, and district-level decisions about everyday choices regarding curriculum design, parent outreach, discipline, school culture, grading, teacher hiring and retention, assessment and evaluation, and teaching justice to students (among other potential topics).  They will be chosen both for their representativeness (they...

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    Would you like to hear when we:

    • post a new case for discussion?
    • are conducting a focus group or workshop in your area?
    • have new resources to share?

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    Radcliffe Institute Workshop

    If you participated in the June 5-6, 2014 Justice in Schools Workshop at Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, please click here to access the materials. Note that this is a closed portion of the website, accessible only to Radcliffe Workshop participants, because it contains works-in-progress and other draft and confidential materials. Thank you.

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    About JiS

    Justice in Schools (JiS) is designed to affirm that ethics matter, and then to help educators and policymakers reason through the ethical dilemmas they face. JiS doesn’t necessarily provide answers. Rather, Justice in Schools helps educators and policy makers ask the right questions, offers shared language to talk about the ethical choices they face, and provides frameworks and heuristics through which they can understand others’ points of view.

    Moral, political, and educational theory serve as important sources of shared language and ethical frameworks....

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    Justice in Schools has six goals:

    1. Help educators develop an “ethical repertoire” that helps them identify and respond to dilemmas of justice, just as they have a pedagogical repertoire that helps them respond to instructional challenges.

    2. Illuminate for both educators and philosophers that children learn about justice through adults' everyday enactments of (in)justice, regardless of whether that is their intent.  ...

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    2016 Presidential Election

    Donald TrumpThe 2016 Presidential Election was marked by, among other things, particularly vicious political discourse. Teachers across the country struggled to stay true to their desire to teach their students to engage in politics respectfully while simultaneously staying nonpartisan.

    As described by...

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    Five New Case Studies!


    The Justice in Schools team has produced five new case studies exploring issues ranging from mandated reporting to sex education.  Written by students from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, these cases center on dilemmas that can challenge both new teachers as well as veterans.

    Please click on...

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    Model Syllabi

    One of the goals of Justice in Schools is to promote the use of normative case studies as a powerful tool for teaching about and reflecting on challenge ethical dilemmas in the practice of education. The following collection of syllabi come from professors - both in schools of education and in philosophy departments - who employ case studies in their teaching on education. They are meant to demonstrate the range of ways that educators can employ the case studies approach in both undergraduate and graduate level coursework. If you have a syllabus you would like to share with us,...

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    Contact Us

    To share a dilemma of justice that you are wrestling with now, or have confronted in the past, please click here.

    To sign up for our listserv and receive updates about new case development, focus groups or workshops in your area, or new resources, please click here.

    To e-mail the Justice in Schools team for some...

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    Levinson, M. and Fay, J. eds. (2016). "Dilemmas of Educational Ethics: Cases and Commentaries". Cambridge: Harvard Education Press. Publisher Link.

    Levinson, M. (June 2015).  “Moral Injury and the Ethics of Educational Injustice.” Harvard Educational Review 85 (2) (June): 203–228. doi:10.17763/...

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    The following hotels have agreed to offer conference rates for Educational Ethics: A Field-Launching Conference. 

    Harvard Square Hotel
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