Please note: All keynotes and workshops can be tailored to your particular event and audience. We will work with your team to develop a workshop that meets the needs of your event and school community.
Education for a Changing Society
Since the founding of the American republic differences related to race and ethnicity have been regarded as a challenge and in many cases, an obstacle to the formation of a cohesive, democratic society. To a large degree, the challenge posed by diversity is rooted in the fact that the forging of the new nation was never merely a matter of mixing and combining peoples from different lands, cultures, languages and “races”. Instead, from the beginning, the mixing and intermingling occurred within the context of profound inequities in power and status and in the context of slavery and colonization. The emergent social hierarchy that placed certain groups in superior positions or strata over others is a legacy we continue to live with today.
This presentation will examine the ways in which diversity related to race, language, culture and language continue to influence patterns of inequality and social relations in American society. For the past twenty years, American policymakers have chosen to rely almost exclusively on schools to address the issue of racial inequality and demographic change. However, educators have been provided with relatively little guidance in how to do this work. In this presentation I will describe strategies that could be pursued to counter and reduce racial inequality and improve relationships across social boundaries.
Education and Civil Rights in the 21st Century
Education is frequently described as the civil rights issue of the 21st century. This is particularly true for politicians when they are calling for policy changes and reform. However, the most important civil rights issue involving education in the 20th century, school segregation, remains largely unresolved, and despite the controversy it once generated, it is rarely mentioned as an important social issue that should be addressed. In this presentation we will analyze the current reform agenda being promoted by states, the federal government and various advocacy groups. We will also explore why issues pertaining to racial segregation and social inequality are no longer considered central to school change initiatives and the implication of allowing these issues to be ignored. Finally, we will consider the possibilities for change that exist in the current period given the constraints confronting public schools.
Equity and Deeper Learning
While the movement for standards and accountability has largely succeeded in bringing greater attention to the issues surrounding student achievement (i.e. the fact that poor students, students of color, English language learners and students with special needs are consistently performing at lower levels), surprisingly little attention has been given to the strategies and conditions that are necessary to make achievement more likely. Missing from much of the policy debate related to achievement is how to support and cultivate effective teaching in schools and how to motivate and engage students. This presentation will describe strategies that have proven effective elsewhere at supporting teaching and learning for all types of students. It will also explore how schools can develop strategies to support teachers in their efforts to raise achievement.
The Limits and Possibilities of Schooling in an Unequal Society
As social inequality increases the pressure on schools to do more to meet the needs of impoverished children grows. Pervasive school failure in poor communities serves as proof to some that schools can never succeed unless or until inequality is addressed. However, a small number of schools and communities are demonstrating that even under adverse conditions progress can be made in creating schools that meet the needs of students. Drawing upon research in poor communities in the US and several other nations, this presentation will examine the work of these schools and the role of agency in countering oppressive conditions including the political mandates that often obstruct progress. The presentation will also consider what role educational researchers should play in the effort to create just schools during unjust times.
The Role of Leadership in Promoting Equity and Countering Racial Inequality in Education
Education has long been regarded as one of the most effective means to insure social mobility. However, in too many cases, educational institutions have functioned in ways that reinforce and reproduce existing patterns of inequality rather than ameliorating them. This is particularly true in schools and districts that serve high concentrations of low-income, minority students. However, similar patterns are also evident in more diverse settings where race and class tend to predict academic outcomes and performance. Drawing on research and "best practices" this presentation will examine the factors that contribute to these trends and suggest strategies that can be employed by those in leadership to counter them.
Creating School Cultures that Promote Academic Excellence
While the movement for standards and accountability has largely succeeded in bringing greater attention to the issues surrounding student achievement, surprisingly little attention has been given to what it takes to create conditions in schools that will make achievement more likely. Missing from much of the policy debate related to achievement is how to support and cultivate school cultures that promote learning and healthy social development among children. This presentation will describe strategies that have proven effective elsewhere at supporting teaching and learning and transforming school cultures. It will also explore how schools can develop effective partnerships with parents to further efforts to raise achievement and how data can be used to develop school reforms that lead to transformations in the culture and structure of schools.
Making A Difference Through Education: A Broader and Bolder Approach to School Reform
Students from low-income families typically experience a variety of pressures outside of school that influence their academic performance within school. Poor health and nutrition, concerns related to violence and crime, and housing instability, are just some of the issues that are external to schools that significantly impact the academic performance of students. Additionally, these conditions often have an impact upon the perspectives students have about their future: whether or not they see college as a realistic option, what careers they believe are possible for them, or whether or not they think they will live long enough to lead productive lives.
Given the importance of external conditions on student achievement, a growing number of schools are recognizing that they must have the ability to influence the factors that influence the development of children outside of school.
Drawing on research carried out at schools in Newark, Houston, Denver and the Eastern Cape of South Africa, this presentation will explore the types of strategies that schools have developed to form effective collaborative relationships with community-based organizations that can counter the adverse influence of poverty on student learning and child development.The presentation will lay out some of the steps that schools can take to mitigate the effects of poverty and other external constraints that can undermine academic achievement. Practical suggestions regarding actions that schools, districts, and other public agencies can take to support schools will also be presented.
Educating Immigrant Youth During a Period of Xenophobia, Hostility and Hysteria: What Educators Can do to Create Safe Havens for Youth
The ongoing political debate over immigration policy has created a hostile climate in many communities for immigrant youth and their families. Increasingly, educators are finding themselves at the center of this debate, and many are uncertain about what they can do to effectively educate and support immigrant youth. This presentation will address the present political climate and describe what educators can do to insure that immigrant youth receive the education they need and deserve. Drawing upon research and best practices from schools throughout the United States the presentation will show what schools can do to meet the needs of immigrant youth.
The Role of Leadership in Building the Capacity of Schools to Meet Student Needs
Educational leaders who succeed in serving the needs of all their students must find ways to pursue excellence and equity simultaneously, and to create conditions in schools that address the academic and non-academic needs of children (i.e. health, nutrition, safety, etc). For this to occur, leaders must have a clear sense of how to systematically build the capacity of schools to meet the needs of the students they serve. This presentation will describe how such strategies are being implemented successfully at a small number of successful schools in the United States, even in the most disadvantaged communities where the needs are great. It will also provide concrete strategies for school leaders to develop effective partnerships with community organizations and parents that can help in furthering efforts to raise achievement and transform the culture and performance of schools.
Schooling for Resilience: Educating and Supporting Young Men of Color
In recent years, policymakers and educators have increasingly embraced single sex schools as a remedy for the educational and social challenges confronting African American and Latino males. This presentation will present findings from a three-year study of seven single sex schools. While not intended to determine whether or not single sex schooling should be endorsed as solution, the study does yield interesting insights about the theory of change utilized by these educators and the strategies they employ to counter the perceived risks facing this population of students.
The Role of Parents in Raising Student Achievement
A vast body of research has identified parental support as a key factor influencing student attitudes toward school, college attendance and overall achievement. Despite this evidence, many schools have experience considerable difficulty in engaging parents as partners in the educational process. In many cases, minority and immigrant parents and parents of students who are not succeeding in school are least likely to be involved in school. This presentation will examine strategies that have proven most effective at eliciting parent involvement and developing strong partnerships between parents and schools. Drawing on research and evidence of best practice from schools and districts that have been successful, the presentation will provide practical guidance on how to create the kinds of partnerships between parents and schools that are most likely to further student academic success.
Reducing Racial Disparities in School Discipline
In response to concerns about safety and order several schools have adopted highly punitive discipline policies. Invariably, these policies result in the most disadvantaged students, and those who are furthest behind academically, being subjected to the most severe forms of discipline and being denied learning time. Moreover, these policies often fail to address the deep alienation among students and the impersonal climate in many schools that allows bullying, disruptive behavior and even violence to flourish. This presentation will examine strategies that schools can take to reduce racial disparities in school discipline, improve school safety, student achievement and academic engagement in school. Through a combination of case studies and an analysis of best practices, participants will learn about strategies that have proven effective at increasing school safety without compromising school climate.