Teaching Race in the West
Moderated by Dean Pedro Noguera of USC Rossier School of Education, education advocate Dr. James Whitfield and political scientist Dr. Jeffrey Sachs will discuss the contentious political and pedagogical issues and climates of the K-12 curriculum (particularly the teaching of American history and ethnic studies) and help us think about how we might move forward from here.
This topic has taken center stage in political debates, on school boards, and within state legislatures in recent years. These disputes are unfolding quite differently across western states and locales. In Texas, for example, legislators passed SB3 at the end of 2021, designed to keep "critical race theory" out of Texas classrooms. At the same time, California lawmakers approved requiring an ethnic studies course for high school graduation. How do and how will these divergent approaches shape the study of race, ethnicity, and the past?
Pedro Noguera is Dean of the USC Rossier School of Education and a Distinguished Professor of Education. Dr. Noguera is an elected member of the National Academy of Education, the Phi Delta Kappa honor society, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. A sociologist, his research focuses on the ways schools are influenced by social and economic conditions, as well as by demographic trends in local, regional, and global contexts.
Dr. James Whitfield is an education advocate centered on creating safe, nurturing, and equitable learning environments which, in turn, help transform communities. His passion includes sharing insightful stories of the power of education, leading with love, integrity, and dignity, overcoming adversity, and fighting with purpose and conviction for truth and justice. Dr. Whitfield is skilled in building positive culture, creating sustainable change, innovation, and dynamic coaching to build excellent and equitable learning environments for all students. Education changed the course of his life and he's driven by a deep sense of purpose to ensure every student feels seen, heard, valued, and has access to an excellent and equitable educational experience.
Dr. Jeffrey Sachs is a political scientist at Acadia University, where he specializes in judicial politics, academic freedom, and the Middle East. He has written widely on the topics of campus free speech and Education Gag Orders (aka "anti-CRT laws"), and is currently a consultant for PEN America's Free Expression and Education Program.