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Literacy for Social Justice Teacher Research Group. St. Louis, Missouri Rogers, R., Mosley, M., & Kramer, M.A. & The Literacy for Social Justice Teacher Research Group (2009). Designing Socially Just Learning Communities: Critical Literacy Across the Lifespan. NY: Routledge.

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literacy for social justice teacher research group

Literacy for Social Justice Teacher Research Group

St. Louis, Missouri

Rogers, R., Mosley, M., & Kramer, M.A. & The Literacy for Social Justice Teacher Research Group (2009). Designing Socially Just Learning Communities: Critical Literacy Across the Lifespan. NY: Routledge.

The Literacy for Social Justice Teacher Research Group is a grassroots,teacher-led professional development group committed to literacy education and advocacy as it relates to social justice in classrooms and communities.LSJTRG is committed to sustaining a group that includes a diversity of ideas, peoples and perspectives.


Provides ongoing, professional development for teachers across the lifespan focused on social justice. (2 x month)

Collaborates with multiple community groups.

Hold annual events (summer institute/curriculum fair)

grassroots volunteer teacher led
Grassroots, Volunteer/Teacher-Led
  • Our group started in 2000-2001, co-founded by Rebecca Rogers and Mary Ann Kramer
  • Intention is to provide a network for progressive educators in the St. Louis area
  • Has grown to over 250 people on our listserv and approximately 10-12 people at meetings, 200 people at annual events
  • Has received local and national attention. LSJTRG is part of TAG (Teacher Activist Group) -- a national network.
  • We rely on community based fund-raisers, do not have funding source.
professional development what is and what could be
Professional Development: What is and What could be

“What is”



University based teacher education

Periodic staff development days

“What could be”

Teacher led and long term

Valuing community experiences

Integration of research and practice

Teacher inquiry groups

Study groups

Teacher networks

School based collectives

Classrooms and communities as a site of pd

Cross traditional grade level boundaries

“One teacher can do great things, a community of teachers can move a mountain.” -Nancy Atwell,1986

popular education cycle
Popular Education Cycle
  • Pose relevant questions
  • Research
  • Bring together different perspectives
  • Plan for Action
  • Act!
  • Reflect
  • Pose relevant questions

Rogers, R., Mosley, M. & Kramer, M. & The LSJTRG. Designing Socially Just Learning Communities: A Lifespan Perspective on Critical Literacy

Chapter Topics:

  • Critical literacy and peace education with working class second graders
  • Social action within the curriculum
  • Culturally relevant pedagogy
  • Gay and lesbian issues within the context of the journalism curriculum
  • Feminist approaches to literature discussions
  • Critical literacy in a summer program with adolescents
  • Critical Literacy Lab in adult education
  • Literature discussion as social action in GED classroom
  • Popular Education, community organizing, adult literacy students
  • Cultural diversity and human origins with teacher education students
our tools social justice education
Our Tools: Social Justice Education
  • Building and Sustaining a Learning community
  • Developing Critical Stances
  • Critical Inquiry and Analysis
  • Action, Advocacy and Social Change
critical inquiry and analysis
Critical Inquiry and Analysis

Tool 1: Teacher Inquiry

Tool 2: Case Studies

Tool 3: Personal reflections, Literate Autobiographies and Positionalities

Tool 4: Reflecting on Group Processes and Dynamics

teacher inquiry as stance
Teacher Inquiry as Stance

“we use the metaphor of stance to suggest both orientational and positional ideas, to carry allusions to the physical placing of the body as well as the intellectual activities and perspectives over time. In this sense, the metaphor is intended to capture the ways we see, and the lenses we see through as educators. Teaching is a complex activity that occurs within webs of social, historical, cultural, and political significance. Across the life span, an inquiry stance provides a kind of grounding within the changing cultures of school reform and competing political agendas…”

-Cochran Smith & Lytle, 2001, pp. 49-50

Developing Critical Stances

Tool 1: Reading widely and deeply

Tool 2: Making connections between local and global contexts

Tool 3: Seeking out multiple, non-dominant perspectives

Tool 4: Seeking out relationships between sources of information “connecting the dots”

example privatization of schools
Example: Privatization of Schools

We focused our inquiry on the privatization of schools and learned more about for-profit charters and state take-overs of school districts.

a public letter
A Public Letter:

Here, in St. Louis, and in other metropolitan areas, we face an ongoing assault on public education. Over the last four months, our group has been reading, researching and discussing the privatization of public schools that takes the forms of for-profit charter schools, school commercialism initiatives, performance contracting, out-sourcing of jobs and vouchers. Tuition tax credits or “vouchers” are one example of the ongoing attack on public education. We want to stress the following points:

    The Missouri Constitution prohibits using public money to support or maintain religious organizations or private schools.
  •     Tax subsidies reduce the state’s tax revenues and decrease the amount of money available for public schools.
  •     Private schools selectively admit students based on disability, gender, race and religion.

Framing the issue of public education as a “choice” is clever because for many people who do not understand the politics of schools, “choice” is hard to argue with. Here’s the fundamental reason why "choice" is bad for schools: there will always be losers. Imagine if everyone exercised their choice to transfer to a “good/choice” school; at a certain point, they would have to turn students away because they are full.


St. Louis, MO

action advocacy and social change
Action, Advocacy and Social Change

Tool 1:Taking Stock of Activist Experiences within the Group

Tool 2: Developing skills of Activism

Tool 3: Recognizing and valuing different roles within the group

Tool 4: Networking and Alliance Building

why activism and social action
Why Activism and Social Action?

“Educators need to disrupt the notion that silence is patriotic and teach students that their rights as citizens in this society carry responsibilities – of participation, voice, and protest so that this can actually become a society of, by and for all of its citizens. Students (and teachers) need to learn that social action is fundamental to the workings of their lives.”

(Hackman, 2005, pp. 106)


Tool 4: Alliance Building

Educating for Change Curriculum Fair

teacher activist groups
Teacher Activist Groups

New York, the New York Collective of Radical Educators

San Fransisco, Teachers 4 Social Justice

Chicago, Teachers for Social Justice

Oakland, California Education not Incarceration

Portland, Oregon Portland Area Rethinking Schools

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Coalition of Radical Educators

Los Angeles, California Progressive Educators for Action

Louisville, Kentucky Progressives Engaged in Struggle Support Network

St. Louis, The Literacy for Social Justice Teacher Research Group


Rethinking Schools issue 20 (2), 2005/2006

TAG/NNAT -- Teacher Activist Groups/National Network of Activist Teachers (formed in 2007)

Questions to Consider….
  • What are the pressing issues in your classrooms, schools, districts, cities, and programs?
  • Who are the stakeholders in each of these contexts, and who would you bring together to explore these problems?
  • What groups already exist in your area that you might join or build a coalition with?
For more information and to download articles about our group, visit our website: