Center X and Urban Schooling Division Host Conversation on “Hope and Healing in Urban Education”

Educators and community leaders examined negative impact of violence on academic achievement.

Urban schools face many difficult challenges, not the least of which is violence in the communities they serve.

Shining a light on how educators and activists can work to reverse the negative impacts of structural violence on academic achievement, the UCLA Department of Education, its Urban Schooling division, and UCLA’s Center X hosted a community conversation, “Hope and Healing in Urban Education – How Urban Activists and Teachers are Reclaiming Matters of the Heart,” Wednesday evening at Horace Mann Middle School in South Los Angeles.

John Rogers, UCLA professor of education and faculty director of Center X. Photo by Jennifer Young
John Rogers, UCLA professor of education and faculty director of Center X. Photo by Jennifer Young

More than 100 educators and community leaders, many of them graduates of UCLA’s Graduate School of Education & Information Studies’ Teacher Education Program (TEP) and Principal Leadership Institute (PLI), attended the event at the South Los Angeles site of what will become the second UCLA Community School in the UCLA Ed & IS network of schools. The first UCLA Community School opened in 2009 in the Koreatown-Pico Union neigborhood of downtown Los Angeles.

“This gathering speaks to the potential for Horace Mann Middle School to become a center of learning for adults and young people in South Los Angeles,” says John Rogers, a professor of education at UCLA and faculty director of Center X.

The conversation focused around the findings of a new book, “Hope and Healing in Urban Education” that proposes a new movement of healing justice to repair the damage done by structural violence in urban communities. Authored by Shawn Ginwright, associate professor of education in the African Studies Department and senior research associate for the Cesar Chavez Institute for Public Policy at San Francisco State University, the book draws on ethnographic case studies from around the country to chronicle how teacher activists employ healing strategies in stressed schools and community organizations. The book highlights how teachers can work to reverse negative impacts on academic achievement and civic engagement, and in the process support their students to become powerful civic actors. “Hope and Healing in Urban Education” examines how social change can be enacted from within to restore a sense of hope to besieged communities and counteract the effects of poverty, violence, and hopelessness.

“Shawn Ginwright’s remarkable new book provides us with a powerful vision of radical healing through which teachers and community activists empower urban youth to challenge injustice and promote community health and well-being,” says Rogers. “ These are important ideas for educators to consider as we work to improve student learning in urban schools.”