Registered student organization advocates for educational equity

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Advocates for Justice in Education members pose at MainStage in August 2017.

Advocates for Justice in Education members seek to raise awareness about issues people face in the education system and become better advocates for students, teachers, families and others involved in schools. 

AJE is in its third year as a registered student organization. This semester, the group has mostly been discussion based on how to approach and deal with these issues. 

The RSO is not limited to students that are studying education — it is open to any students that are interested in advocating. AJE adviser and teacher education faculty member Kevin Cunningham describes what the RSO does in four steps: learning in relation to justice in education, helping others to understand the issues, playing the role of advocates and working to improve the RSO.

Cunningham said the issues the RSO addresses are important for a variety of reasons. 

“First, the kinds of things that we are focused on (are important). This issue of justice —particularly for our most vulnerable population, children and their families that are in difficult situations,” Cunningham said. “The second (important thing) being that these topics aren’t talked about in college settings because they are sensitive.”

Cunningham wants to be able to give the students within the RSO opportunities, including advocating and doing projects so students can learn and have experience under their belts.

Current AJE president Kayla Harlow said even though there are teachers advocating for children, there are not many people advocating for teachers.

General member Jessica MacDonald said AJE has made her more aware.

“Coming from Mount Pleasant, you see those injustices but you don’t see a great quantity of them,” MacDonald said.

The group started three years ago in the Fall of 2015, and was created by a student named Chantel Graves. Graves now teaches special education at Mount Pleasant Middle School. The group was started because during one of Cunningham’s class there was a group of students who were particularly interested in inequality in education.

On Monday, Nov. 27, AJE will be teaming up with Pack Your Back to decorate and stuff Christmas stockings for children. This event will be held at 7:30 p.m. in room 422 of the Education and Human Services Building.

Students interested in learning more about AJE can find the organization on Twitter and Instagram: @AJE_CMU. The RSO meets at 7:30 p.m. every Monday in room 422 of the EHS Building.