Big Ideas: What Does It Mean to Be an Anti-Racist Educator?

Big Ideas: What Does It Mean to Be an Anti-Racist Educator?

How to Address Racism in Schools

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The ongoing pandemic has exposed the deep fault lines in our nation’s public education system. Whatever schools were doing and however they were doing it up until spring of this year will need to be reconsidered in big and innovative ways. But the reality is that a growing number of Americans are ready to address the existing inequities in this country, beginning with our K-12 schools.

Today, roughly 80 percent of the nation’s teachers, principals, and districts leaders are white, but more than half of their K-12 students are not. In a nationally representative survey, conducted the EdWeek Research Center in June, 87 percent of teachers, principals, and district leaders agreed that Black students face higher rates of school discipline than their white peers due to discrimination.

In spite of this consensus, some educators do not feel comfortable or adequately informed or prepared to address racism or racist policies that have created and then furthered academic disparities between Black and white students. In a recent, nationally representative EWRC survey, although more than 80 percent of respondents—teachers, principals, and district leaders—said they were willing to teach or support, respectively, the implementation of anti-racist curriculum, about 60 percent said they had neither the training nor the resources to do so.

The Big Ideas Summit will offer the Education Week audience opportunities to engage directly with the reporters on this project—and their guests, including possibly students, school leaders, researchers, and policymakers—to discuss proactive steps that educators, school and district leaders, educator preparation programs, policymakers and advocates can take to make a difference in the lives of our nation’s Black students.

Program is subject to change.


October 22, 2020
1-2:30 p.m. ET

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*Agenda subject to change. Check back regularly for updates.

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  • 1:00–2:30 p.m. ET | Discussions Open

    What Does America’s Public Education System Owe Black Americans?
    Moderator: Daarel Burnette II, Staff Writer, Education Week
    ‣ What should a reconciliation and reparations effort for Black Americans from the nation’s public schools look like? We explore a variety of approaches and talk with residents of one Virginia county about the community’s approach to reparations, decades after it closed its public school system for five years to evade a federal school integration order.

    The Digital Divide Is a Civil Rights Crisis. America Needs to Treat It Like One
    Moderator: Mark Lieberman, Staff Writer, Education Week
    ‣ The coronavirus pandemic continues to highlight the persistent broadband service gaps and prohibitive rate structures that leave millions of U.S. households without reliable or adequate internet service. K-12 students who can't access the internet—disproportionately low-income, and Black and brown students—miss vital educational opportunities for remote learning during school closures, as well as economic opportunities. What steps can and should be taken to provide affordable, reliable internet access? And who is already doing some of this work to connect students?
    Kim Haddow, Director, Local Solutions Support Center (LSSC)

    Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Training in Schools Is No Longer Enough
    Sarah Schwartz, Staff Writer, Education Week
    Madeline Will, Staff Writer, Education Week
    ‣ Amid national demonstrations for racial justice, some schools are rushing to diversify their curriculum, with plans to start more fully teaching about the histories, literature, knowledge, and experiences of people of color in this country. This isn't only a question of curriculum development, but of teacher preparation and professional development. How do we need to rethink what makes a teacher "qualified" in her subject? And what does it mean to be an anti-racist or abolitionist educator? What does that look like in practice?

    Are the Strained Relations Between Black Teenagers and Law Enforcement, Including School Police Officers, a Problem That Can Be Solved?
    Moderator: Corey Mitchell, Staff Writer, Education Week
    ‣ Can a new generation of youth activists push back against brutality and redefine what policing in their schools and cities should look like? To truly grapple with question, youths and law enforcement must concede that they are seeking solutions to problems that have existed for decades, if not longer.

    Principals Need Help Building Anti-Racist Schools
    Moderator: Denisa Superville, Assistant Editor, Education Week
    ‣ Even before the national protests over George Floyd’s death, principals have listed tackling inequities and building inclusive school communities among their top concerns. The problem has always been how. This conversation will give principals concrete ideas on how to build schools that are inclusive and explicitly anti-racist.

    EWRC Survey: What Do Teachers, Principals, and District Leaders Believe Is Missing From Their Preparation Programs When It Comes to Anti-Racist Training?
    Holly Kurtz, Director, EdWeek Research Center
    Sterling Lloyd, Assistant Director, EdWeek Research Center
    ‣ The EdWeek Research Center will discuss how educators feel about their ability to address racism in curriculum, policies, and practice.

Guests, Speakers, and Moderators

Daarel Burnette II
Staff Writer, Education Week

Burnette II covers school funding and finance for Education Week. He joined EPE in 2015 as a state policy reporter. He previously served as the bureau chief of Chalkbeat Tennessee, a startup news organization based in Memphis. He has worked as an education reporter at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Minneapolis Star Tribune and the Louisville Courier-Journal. He also worked as a general assignment reporter at the Chicago Tribune. He received his undergraduate degree in print journalism from Hampton University and an M.A. in politics and journalism from Columbia University.

Kim Haddow
Director, Local Solutions Support Center (LSSC)

Haddow is the director of the Local Solutions Support Center (LSSC), an organization formed to connect, coordinate and create opportunities to counter the misuse of preemption, affirm local authority and independence and promote equity. At present, LSSC is helping local governments define and expand their powers to respond and recover from the pandemic.

For the past two decades as president of Haddow Communications, Inc., Haddow has worked with a broad range of nonprofit organizations on messaging and branding, strategic campaign planning, and opposition management. Haddow also worked as the National Communications Director for the Sierra Club and at Greer, Margolis, Mitchell, Burns (GMMB), a Washington, DC- based media consulting firm, advising political, initiative, cause-related marketing, and non-profits campaigns. Haddow began her career at WWL-AM in New Orleans where she worked as a reporter, assignment editor and managed the news department.

Holly Kurtz
Director, Education Week Research Center

Kurtz directs the Education Week Research Center, which produces standalone studies as well as analyses for Education Week and special reports such as Quality Counts. She spent 11 years covering education and other topics for newspapers in Florida, Alabama, and Colorado. The Education Week Research Center also produces customized studies and analyses for a range of clients, including professional associations and leading companies in the field of education.

Mark Lieberman
Staff Writer, Education Week

Lieberman is a reporter for Education Week covering technology and digital learning. He covers issues including cybersecurity, personalized learning, the future of work, e-learning, and virtual education. He previously covered digital learning and online education in the postsecondary world for the online publication Inside Higher Ed.

Sterling C. Lloyd
Assistant Director, Education Week Research Center

Lloyd manages the development of surveys and data analyses for Quality Counts and a wide range of other research publications for the Research Center. Since joining EPE in 2005, he has coordinated research examining a diverse set of education policies and topics.

Corey Mitchell
Staff Writer, Education Week

Mitchell writes about the challenges and opportunities in teaching students with distinct needs, including English-language learners, students with disabilities, children who are homeless or incarcerated, and gifted students. A four-time winner of the National Association of Black Journalists’ Salute to Excellence Award, Mitchell’s reporting has also won awards from the Associated Press Sports Editors and the Society of Professional Journalists. Prior to joining Education Week in 2014, Mitchell worked as a Washington, D.C.-based correspondent for the Minneapolis Star Tribune. During his time covering politics and Congress, Mitchell was a 2013-14 National Press Foundation Paul Miller Washington Reporting Fellow.

Sarah Schwartz
Staff Writer, Education Week

Schwartz is a reporter for Education Week who covers curriculum and instruction. Before joining the staff, she was as an Education Week intern, covering education technology. She has also worked at a middle school in East Harlem, New York.

Denisa Superville
Staff Writer
Education Week

Superville reports on principals and school leadership at Education Week. She joined Education Week in 2014, initially as a reporter covering district news, management, and leadership. Before joining Education Week, Superville worked as a municipal reporter at The Record in Bergen County, New Jersey.

Madeline Will
Staff Writer, Education Week

Will is a reporter for Education Week who covers the teaching profession. She joined the staff in 2016, initially as the assistant editor for Education Week Teacher, a section dedicated to the firsthand perspectives of teachers. Before joining Education Week, Will was the publications fellow for a legal nonprofit, the Student Press Law Center. She graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2014 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and political science.

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