The Policy Studies program philosophy is based on the principles of a pedagogy of empowerment that views all K-12 students from an educational benefits model. This model values and integrates the language, culture and social context of the student into the school curricula giving equal status to home, community and school experiences. In addition, the department philosophy is based on the belief that all students want to self-actualize, that students, if properly nurtured, have high expectations of themselves to realize their potential. Furthermore, the department values the transformation of schools that seek to produce students that are multiculturally, biliterately competent. The department is guided by the principles that all students have a right to:
- equal access and benefits to the core curriculum;
- equal encouragement and career options;
- multicultural/multilingual education;
- achieve the highest literacy standards to enable them to enter into critical debate about the conditions that hinder or promote the quality of life of communities and society;
- learn more effectively when the subject matter bridges theory and practice and integrates their sociocultural context;
- and democratic schooling and curricula that promotes cultural pluralism and a just and fair society.
This framework acts to produce department graduates who are equipped to be reflective practitioners and resource specialists in multicultural settings (Baker, 1997; Banks and Banks, 1997; Freire, 1972; Genesee, 1994; Gore, 1987; Nieto, 1996; Pearl & Knight, 1999; Skirt, 1995; Tollefson, 1995; Sleeter and Grant 1999, Wink, 1997). Furthermore, these educators will be prepared to work towards the transformation of schools that seek to produce students that are academically and socially competent.