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Just Economics? What American Youth Learn About Economic Inequality and Poverty in High School Classrooms

Professor John Rogers, UC Los Angeles

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Feb 23, 2017
from 12:00 PM to 01:00 PM


1130 K Street, Room LL3

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Young people are not only objects of economic and social forces; they also are potential civic agents. As adults, they will be called on to make social policy choices about taxation and the distribution of public resources, and to weigh in on a host of issues that shape and are shaped by economic inequality. Their understanding of poverty and economic inequality is essential for informed and ethical civic engagement—including participation in public debates, electoral politics, policy formation, and community mobilization. General theories of democracy and democratic education suggest that citizens should be prepared to assess evidence about contentious problems so that they can participate in consequential decisions about economic and political life. Yet, to date, there has been little empirical study about how issues of poverty and economic inequality are addressed in high school social studies classes. This presentation reports on a mixed-methods study to examine whether, how, and why U.S. high school social studies teachers address poverty and economic inequality.

John Rogers is a Professor at UCLA’s Graduate School of Education and Information Studies and Director of UCLA’s Institute for Democracy, Education, and Access (IDEA).He also serves as the Faculty Director of Center X, which houses UCLA’s Teacher Education Program, Principal Leadership Program, and professional development initiatives. Rogers studies the role of civic engagement in equity-focused school reform and civic renewal and the relationship between education and different forms of inequality. He currently is the co-principal investigator of "Leveraging Equity and Access in Democratic Education" as well as the "Learning About Inequality" project that examines how high schools across North America engage students in lessons about economic, social, and racial inequality. John Rogers is the co-author of Learning Power: Organizing for Education and Justice and co-editor of Public Engagement for Public Education: Joining Forces to Revitalize Democracy and Equalize Schools. He received his Ph.D. in Education from Stanford University and his B.A. in Public Policy and African American Studies from Princeton University.


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