Professors Amber Strong Makaiau and Patricia Halagao, in the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa College of Education (COE), are partnering with the Hanahauʻoli School Professional Development Center (PDC) to launch a new initiative to advance social justice education. A collaboration with the nationally renowned Teaching Tolerance program, the three-year, $100,000 Social Justice in Education project is aimed at growing the capacity of local educators to teach children to be active participants in a diverse democracy.
Funded by longtime supporters of Teaching Tolerance, Jana and Howard Wolff, this ambitious initiative was made possible by their generosity and forward thinking.
Under the direction of Makaiau and Halagao, the Social Justice in Education project will offer PDC coursework to both public and private school educators from across the state while carrying out the COE’s mission of “preparing educators and professionals at all levels to contribute to a just, diverse, and democratic society while developing a sense of purpose
and sense of place.”
Using Teaching Tolerance materials, participating teachers will explore the theory and research around specific practices and make connections to local social justice organizations. They will create a social justice curriculum that utilizes local resources and reflects Hawai‘i’s diverse population, including multicultural, indigenous, Asian, and Pacific-Island perspectives.
“We are honored to be a part of this important project that embodies the type of community solidarity that is necessary for supporting teachers and schools as they work to educate children and youth to be active participants in a diverse democracy,” Makaiau said.
Social Justice in Education will also provide professional development workshops focused on early childhood and social justice education. The Hanahauʻoli PDC and COE will enlist local organizations to host guest scholars who examine critical contemporary issues. These visiting scholars will speak to a wide cross-section of the community in Hawai‘i through workshops, speaking engagements in preK-12 schools, and public lectures and projects at the University of Hawai‘i.