Panel on School and Justice

Monday, March 6, 1 p.m. – 2:30 p.m., CS 101

Potvin, L, “More than Pink Shirts and Posters: Straight Allies in Schools”

The role of allies in social movements is an area of social justice activism that is at times celebrated and at others, contested. This paper presentation focuses on the ways that straight teacher allies contribute to equity movements in their workplaces, which generally amount to taking individual actions against oppression, but may falter in taking systemic actions. Through analysis of the stories of straight teacher ally activists in Ontario schools, I explore ways to transform what it means to be an ally, to encourage allies to hold themselves accountable to the social movement they serve. Allies who are willing to sit in the discomfort that self-reflexivity brings are better situated to work alongside marginalized people; this mindset offsets the space that can be taken up by privilege. In terms of LGBTQ equity in schools, I argue here that straight allies must acknowledge straight privilege (their own and others) as a way of confronting not only one-off instances of homophobia, but also systemic heterosexism and heteronormativity.

Tulk, J “Aboriginal Educational Pathways, Definitions of Success, and Promising “Indigenization” Practices in Canada”

This presentation will summarize recent research on Aboriginal educational pathways and definitions of success, and identify promising practices in institutions across Canada. It will demonstrate how a life-course perspective when determining educational policies and structures for Indigenous peoples (Cooke and McWhirter 2011; Kirby 2009) can lead to indigenized institutions, not only in terms of course content and student support, but more deeply through altered perspectives on the goals of post-secondary education and the very definition of success.