Social work education and social justice: an examination through the social justice education perspective
The Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) develops and oversees curriculum standards of social work education programs which sets the tone for what is disseminated in these programs. As a specialized accrediting agency recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation, CSWE is tasked with ensuring the education disseminated in social work education programs is of quality. Furthermore, CSWE must evaluate and assess social work education programs’ curricula to ensure the set criteria is met. CSWE uses its Educational Policies and Accreditation Standards (EPAS) to disseminate and evaluate social work education program’s curricula. Although, much is included in the curriculum of social work education, this study focuses on its approach to the construct of social justice. It is important to note that in 1979, social justice was officially recognized as a core value in social work practice by the National Association of Social Workers; however, it is unclear how this construct is addressed in social work education. This exploratory study attempts to add to this limited knowledge using accreditation manuals from CSWE at two distinct time periods to explore whether the historical and current approach of social work education toward social justice supports the Social Justice Education Perspective.