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Conference Aims To Promote Education As A Tool for Justice

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More than 1,000 teachers, researchers, community activists, parents, and students are expected to attend the Free Minds, Free People conference in Chicago July 11 to July 14 to promote education as an instrument to seek social justice.

The conference is hosted every two years by the Education for Liberation Network, a national coalition, which advocates teaching young people—particularly low-income minority students—to understand the root causes of inequality. Those students also need to learn how to take action to dismantle those inequalities, Tara Mack, director of the Education for Liberation Network, said.

The Education for Liberation Network began as a listserv in 1999. Community-based educators, classroom teachers, and researchers working on social justice issues sometimes feel they are working in isolation, Mack said. The Chicago-based organization, which has grown to include parents and students, aims to promote the sharing of strategies and resources.

"It's important to have a space that brings these strands of education justice together—what's taking place in the classroom and what's taking place outside the classrooms," Mack said.

This year's conference is intended to serve as a catalyst to spur and sustain social movements around education for liberation. Among those expected to attend are opponents of the planned closure of 49 Chicago public schools and Teach for America alumni who are questioning the political direction of the program.

See our full coverage of parent empowerment issues.

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