Social Justice Landing Page Graphic

Social Justice and Diversity Forum:

Leading conversations that carry significance.

Chancellor Robert Jones’ call to action for the university to research and address systemic racism and social injustice affords an opportunity for the College of Education to showcase the research, scholarship, and public engagement of our faculty, graduate students, and alumni within this space.

Since Education graduate students are particularly well-primed to play important roles in this campus-wide call to action, the College is sponsoring this forum to foster conversations and connections. The College’s Graduate Student Services Office, in conjunction with the Bureau of Educational Research, is pleased to host the Social Justice and Diversity Forum—sessions to discuss race, equity, and systemic racism.

Social Justice and Diversity Forum sessions are free and open to everyone, and feature panelist speakers and moderated discussion time. Watch and listen to these previous important conversations and check the College’s Events page for upcoming sessions.

Watch videos of previous sessions, below.


Have questions or want to suggest a particular topic for future discussion? Email the Forum series organizers.

As a researcher, my primary interest for the last 4 decades has really been on issues of educational inequality. That has a lot to do with having grown up in the south.

and having experienced real segregation and all black schools through the 12th grade and then going to a desegregated college. Those experiences fueled my curiosity and interest in trying to understand what could be done to change the pattern of inequality with regard to access to quality schooling.

 

More recently I’ve come to really appreciate the importance of high quality teachers. Growing up in a segregated system such as Richmond, VA — it wasn’t just the kids in the community were segregated, but segregation worked in such a way that my teachers became my teachers as a result of segregation.

 

My teachers were exceptional in their capabilities, competencies, and intellect. They were my teachers as a consequence of segregation. Following the desegregation of schools after the Brown decision in 1954 and after the Civil Rights Act, many of my teachers went on to teach at universities.  So we had exceptional teachers, but it was at the expense of those educators not being able to have the careers they were well prepared and capable of pursuing.

 

At one point I wrote an article about the importance of having teachers who knew me, knew my circumstances, knew my conditions, knew the challenges. Those teachers taught me to a model of achievement that prepared for a world that didn’t exist when they were teaching me that way. I’ve always appreciated teachers, and teaching and learning. My research about producing better student outcomes is informed by my understanding that teachers can do exceptional things.

 

In the 40’s, 50’s, 60’s and 70’s teaching was an honorable and a highly regarded profession. Teachers, doctors, and lawyers—that’s how we named them.  Our teachers are not less well prepared now, nor are they less capable, but society has changed in a number of ways.

 

My teachers lived in my community because of segregation. They knew our communities, they had real life experiences, knew the families, so they could reach out and exercise some social control over kids.

 

Teachers don’t have that same kind of fundamental knowledge of the communities in which they teach. In many places, especially urban environments, teachers can’t even afford to live in the same communities that the children they teach live in.  There are real challenges that teachers face in terms of having the socio-cultural knowledge of a child’s environment and context that would enable them to impact the child differently in addition to working on the child’s academic skills.

 

Gary Orfield and I and have worked together on a number of school desegregation projects.  We were having a meeting trying to design an instrument that would enable us to assess the benefits of diversity in the classrooms. Patricia Gandader, a participant in the meeting, told a story about an awards program she attended at the end of a middle school year.  Although the school was divers in terms of student population, all of the academic awards went to white students and almost none went to either Latino or African American students.  The awards that did go to them had to do with the extra curricular activities. As the program progressed, may of the parents of color began to leave. The teachers were not aware and not understanding the level of discomfort that these parents had with the program. Patricia explained to the teachers that symbolically they’d communicated that certain students were the learners and that the other students were something else.  We talked about the teacher’s sense of “this is normal.” To them, there  was nothing unusual about AA or Latino or Asian students not getting these academic awards.

 

That’s where I began to think about how common it is for us to see certain disparities and not be troubled by them because of what the media tells us, or because of what our segregated experiences allows to persist in terms of stereotypes.

 

It affects gender too so that we still don’t expect woman to be outstanding in STEM areas. We’re still struggling with those issues and topics and trying to make a difference. Trying to do the research on what will make a change there.

 

We need teachers who see these types of patterns and will look at and interrogate them rather than accept them.

 

Each of us feels more or less efficacious in different contexts and settings. As an expert witness in a school dissent case in Kansas City, a part of the data that I received was surveys they’d done of their teachers that used teacher efficacy scales. The items referenced the extent to which the individual teacher felt they were comfortable teaching low income students or students of color. I was able to associate teacher efficacy with student performance in their schools and find a meaningful and statistically significant correlation between teacher efficacy and student’s test scores. The more efficacious the teacher felt, the better the test scores.

 

We have to assess is how we go about making teachers feel more efficacious working with a much more diverse population. The US school population is going to be increasingly diverse. If we don’t’ make a substantial effort and meaningful progress in reducing poverty and improving the ability of a working family to have a living wage—we’re going to have a substantial percentage of free and reduced lunch kids in our schools. Teachers need to have a different understanding of what those kids capabilities are and their potential so that teachers actually believe that they can make a difference. 

eal segregation and all black schools through the 12th grade and then going to a desegregated college. Those experiences fueled my curiosity and interest in trying to understand what could be done to change the pattern of inequality with regard to access to quality schooling.

 

More recently I’ve come to really appreciate the importance of high quality teachers. Growing up in a segregated system such as Richmond, VA — it wasn’t just the kids in the community were segregated, but segregation worked in such a way that my teachers became my teachers as a result of segregation.

 

My teachers were exceptional in their capabilities, competencies, and intellect. They were my teachers as a consequence of segregation. Following the desegregation of schools after the Brown decision in 1954 and after the Civil Rights Act, many of my teachers went on to teach at universities.  So we had exceptional teachers, but it was at the expense of those educators not being able to have the careers they were well prepared and capable of pursuing.

 

At one point I wrote an article about the importance of having teachers who knew me, knew my circumstances, knew my conditions, knew the challenges. Those teachers taught me to a model of achievement that prepared for a world that didn’t exist when they were teaching me that way. I’ve always appreciated teachers, and teaching and learning. My research about producing better student outcomes is informed by my understanding that teachers can do exceptional things.

 

In the 40’s, 50’s, 60’s and 70’s teaching was an honorable and a highly regarded profession. Teachers, doctors, and lawyers—that’s how we named them.  Our teachers are not less well prepared now, nor are they less capable, but society has changed in a number of ways.

 

My teachers lived in my community because of segregation. They knew our communities, they had real life experiences, knew the families, so they could reach out and exercise some social control over kids.

 

Teachers don’t have that same kind of fundamental knowledge of the communities in which they teach. In many places, especially urban environments, teachers can’t even afford to live in the same communities that the children they teach live in.  There are real challenges that teachers face in terms of having the socio-cultural knowledge of a child’s environment and context that would enable them to impact the child differently in addition to working on the child’s academic skills.

 

Gary Orfield and I and have worked together on a number of school desegregation projects.  We were having a meeting trying to design an instrument that would enable us to assess the benefits of diversity in the classrooms. Patricia Gandader, a participant in the meeting, told a story about an awards program she attended at the end of a middle school year.  Although the school was divers in terms of student population, all of the academic awards went to white students and almost none went to either Latino or African American students.  The awards that did go to them had to do with the extra curricular activities. As the program progressed, may of the parents of color began to leave. The teachers were not aware and not understanding the level of discomfort that these parents had with the program. Patricia explained to the teachers that symbolically they’d communicated that certain students were the learners and that the other students were something else.  We talked about the teacher’s sense of “this is normal.” To them, there  was nothing unusual about AA or Latino or Asian students not getting these academic awards.

 

That’s where I began to think about how common it is for us to see certain disparities and not be troubled by them because of what the media tells us, or because of what our segregated experiences allows to persist in terms of stereotypes.

 

It affects gender too so that we still don’t expect woman to be outstanding in STEM areas. We’re still struggling with those issues and topics and trying to make a difference. Trying to do the research on what will make a change there.

 

We need teachers who see these types of patterns and will look at and interrogate them rather than accept them.

 

Each of us feels more or less efficacious in different contexts and settings. As an expert witness in a school dissent case in Kansas City, a part of the data that I received was surveys they’d done of their teachers that used teacher efficacy scales. The items referenced the extent to which the individual teacher felt they were comfortable teaching low income students or students of color. I was able to associate teacher efficacy with student performance in their schools and find a meaningful and statistically significant correlation between teacher efficacy and student’s test scores. The more efficacious the teacher felt, the better the test scores.

 

We have to assess is how we go about making teachers feel more efficacious working with a much more diverse population. The US school population is going to be increasingly diverse. If we don’t’ make a substantial effort and meaningful progress in reducing poverty and improving the ability of a working family to have a living wage—we’re going to have a substantial percentage of free and reduced lunch kids in our schools. Teachers need to have a different understanding of what those kids capabilities are and their potential so that teachers actually believe that they can make a difference. 

The importance of teacher efficacy in improving student outcomes

What a teacher believes students are capable of affects their performance.

Dr. William Trent is a professor in the Department of Education Policy, Organization and Leadership, as well as the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences' Department of Sociology. His professional career has included administration in higher education as an associate chancellor, leading various research and public engagement initiatives dealing with educational equity, policy, and social change.


As a researcher, what are your primary areas of interest?

My primary interest for the last four decades has really been on issues of educational inequality. That has a lot to do with having grown up in the South and having experienced real segregation and all-black schools through the 12th grade, then attending a desegregated college. Those experiences fueled my curiosity and interest in trying to understand what could be done to change the pattern of inequality with regard to access to quality schooling.

More recently, I’ve come to really appreciate the importance of high quality teachers. Growing up in a segregated area of the country like Richmond, Virginia, it wasn’t just the kids in the community that were segregated. My teachers were exceptional in their capabilities, competencies, and intellect, but they were my teachers as a consequence of segregation. Following the desegregation of schools after the Brown decision in 1954 and after the Civil Rights Act, many of them went on to teach at universities. So I had exceptional teachers, but it was at the expense of those educators not being able to have the careers they were well-prepared for and capable of pursuing.

Today, teachers don't have that same kind of fundamental knowledge of the communities in which they teach. In many places, especially in urban environments, teachers can't even afford to live in the same communities that the children they teach live in.William Trent

Read entire interview with Dr. William Trent...

As a researcher, my primary interest for the last 4 decades has really been on issues of educational inequality. That has a lot to do with having grown up in the south.

and having experienced real segregation and all black schools through the 12th grade and then going to a desegregated college. Those experiences fueled my curiosity and interest in trying to understand what could be done to change the pattern of inequality with regard to access to quality schooling.

 

More recently I’ve come to really appreciate the importance of high quality teachers. Growing up in a segregated system such as Richmond, VA — it wasn’t just the kids in the community were segregated, but segregation worked in such a way that my teachers became my teachers as a result of segregation.

 

My teachers were exceptional in their capabilities, competencies, and intellect. They were my teachers as a consequence of segregation. Following the desegregation of schools after the Brown decision in 1954 and after the Civil Rights Act, many of my teachers went on to teach at universities.  So we had exceptional teachers, but it was at the expense of those educators not being able to have the careers they were well prepared and capable of pursuing.

 

At one point I wrote an article about the importance of having teachers who knew me, knew my circumstances, knew my conditions, knew the challenges. Those teachers taught me to a model of achievement that prepared for a world that didn’t exist when they were teaching me that way. I’ve always appreciated teachers, and teaching and learning. My research about producing better student outcomes is informed by my understanding that teachers can do exceptional things.

 

In the 40’s, 50’s, 60’s and 70’s teaching was an honorable and a highly regarded profession. Teachers, doctors, and lawyers—that’s how we named them.  Our teachers are not less well prepared now, nor are they less capable, but society has changed in a number of ways.

 

My teachers lived in my community because of segregation. They knew our communities, they had real life experiences, knew the families, so they could reach out and exercise some social control over kids.

 

Teachers don’t have that same kind of fundamental knowledge of the communities in which they teach. In many places, especially urban environments, teachers can’t even afford to live in the same communities that the children they teach live in.  There are real challenges that teachers face in terms of having the socio-cultural knowledge of a child’s environment and context that would enable them to impact the child differently in addition to working on the child’s academic skills.

 

Gary Orfield and I and have worked together on a number of school desegregation projects.  We were having a meeting trying to design an instrument that would enable us to assess the benefits of diversity in the classrooms. Patricia Gandader, a participant in the meeting, told a story about an awards program she attended at the end of a middle school year.  Although the school was divers in terms of student population, all of the academic awards went to white students and almost none went to either Latino or African American students.  The awards that did go to them had to do with the extra curricular activities. As the program progressed, may of the parents of color began to leave. The teachers were not aware and not understanding the level of discomfort that these parents had with the program. Patricia explained to the teachers that symbolically they’d communicated that certain students were the learners and that the other students were something else.  We talked about the teacher’s sense of “this is normal.” To them, there  was nothing unusual about AA or Latino or Asian students not getting these academic awards.

 

That’s where I began to think about how common it is for us to see certain disparities and not be troubled by them because of what the media tells us, or because of what our segregated experiences allows to persist in terms of stereotypes.

 

It affects gender too so that we still don’t expect woman to be outstanding in STEM areas. We’re still struggling with those issues and topics and trying to make a difference. Trying to do the research on what will make a change there.

 

We need teachers who see these types of patterns and will look at and interrogate them rather than accept them.

 

Each of us feels more or less efficacious in different contexts and settings. As an expert witness in a school dissent case in Kansas City, a part of the data that I received was surveys they’d done of their teachers that used teacher efficacy scales. The items referenced the extent to which the individual teacher felt they were comfortable teaching low income students or students of color. I was able to associate teacher efficacy with student performance in their schools and find a meaningful and statistically significant correlation between teacher efficacy and student’s test scores. The more efficacious the teacher felt, the better the test scores.

 

We have to assess is how we go about making teachers feel more efficacious working with a much more diverse population. The US school population is going to be increasingly diverse. If we don’t’ make a substantial effort and meaningful progress in reducing poverty and improving the ability of a working family to have a living wage—we’re going to have a substantial percentage of free and reduced lunch kids in our schools. Teachers need to have a different understanding of what those kids capabilities are and their potential so that teachers actually believe that they can make a difference. 

eal segregation and all black schools through the 12th grade and then going to a desegregated college. Those experiences fueled my curiosity and interest in trying to understand what could be done to change the pattern of inequality with regard to access to quality schooling.

 

More recently I’ve come to really appreciate the importance of high quality teachers. Growing up in a segregated system such as Richmond, VA — it wasn’t just the kids in the community were segregated, but segregation worked in such a way that my teachers became my teachers as a result of segregation.

 

My teachers were exceptional in their capabilities, competencies, and intellect. They were my teachers as a consequence of segregation. Following the desegregation of schools after the Brown decision in 1954 and after the Civil Rights Act, many of my teachers went on to teach at universities.  So we had exceptional teachers, but it was at the expense of those educators not being able to have the careers they were well prepared and capable of pursuing.

 

At one point I wrote an article about the importance of having teachers who knew me, knew my circumstances, knew my conditions, knew the challenges. Those teachers taught me to a model of achievement that prepared for a world that didn’t exist when they were teaching me that way. I’ve always appreciated teachers, and teaching and learning. My research about producing better student outcomes is informed by my understanding that teachers can do exceptional things.

 

In the 40’s, 50’s, 60’s and 70’s teaching was an honorable and a highly regarded profession. Teachers, doctors, and lawyers—that’s how we named them.  Our teachers are not less well prepared now, nor are they less capable, but society has changed in a number of ways.

 

My teachers lived in my community because of segregation. They knew our communities, they had real life experiences, knew the families, so they could reach out and exercise some social control over kids.

 

Teachers don’t have that same kind of fundamental knowledge of the communities in which they teach. In many places, especially urban environments, teachers can’t even afford to live in the same communities that the children they teach live in.  There are real challenges that teachers face in terms of having the socio-cultural knowledge of a child’s environment and context that would enable them to impact the child differently in addition to working on the child’s academic skills.

 

Gary Orfield and I and have worked together on a number of school desegregation projects.  We were having a meeting trying to design an instrument that would enable us to assess the benefits of diversity in the classrooms. Patricia Gandader, a participant in the meeting, told a story about an awards program she attended at the end of a middle school year.  Although the school was divers in terms of student population, all of the academic awards went to white students and almost none went to either Latino or African American students.  The awards that did go to them had to do with the extra curricular activities. As the program progressed, may of the parents of color began to leave. The teachers were not aware and not understanding the level of discomfort that these parents had with the program. Patricia explained to the teachers that symbolically they’d communicated that certain students were the learners and that the other students were something else.  We talked about the teacher’s sense of “this is normal.” To them, there  was nothing unusual about AA or Latino or Asian students not getting these academic awards.

 

That’s where I began to think about how common it is for us to see certain disparities and not be troubled by them because of what the media tells us, or because of what our segregated experiences allows to persist in terms of stereotypes.

 

It affects gender too so that we still don’t expect woman to be outstanding in STEM areas. We’re still struggling with those issues and topics and trying to make a difference. Trying to do the research on what will make a change there.

 

We need teachers who see these types of patterns and will look at and interrogate them rather than accept them.

 

Each of us feels more or less efficacious in different contexts and settings. As an expert witness in a school dissent case in Kansas City, a part of the data that I received was surveys they’d done of their teachers that used teacher efficacy scales. The items referenced the extent to which the individual teacher felt they were comfortable teaching low income students or students of color. I was able to associate teacher efficacy with student performance in their schools and find a meaningful and statistically significant correlation between teacher efficacy and student’s test scores. The more efficacious the teacher felt, the better the test scores.

 

We have to assess is how we go about making teachers feel more efficacious working with a much more diverse population. The US school population is going to be increasingly diverse. If we don’t’ make a substantial effort and meaningful progress in reducing poverty and improving the ability of a working family to have a living wage—we’re going to have a substantial percentage of free and reduced lunch kids in our schools. Teachers need to have a different understanding of what those kids capabilities are and their potential so that teachers actually believe that they can make a difference. 

The importance of teacher efficacy in improving student outcomes

What a teacher believes students are capable of affects their performance.

Dr. William Trent is a professor in the Department of Education Policy, Organization and Leadership, as well as the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences' Department of Sociology. His professional career has included administration in higher education as an associate chancellor, leading various research and public engagement initiatives dealing with educational equity, policy, and social change.

 

As a researcher, what are your primary areas of interest?

My primary interest for the last four decades has really been on issues of educational inequality. That has a lot to do with having grown up in the South and having experienced real segregation and all-black schools through the 12th grade, then attending a desegregated college. Those experiences fueled my curiosity and interest in trying to understand what could be done to change the pattern of inequality with regard to access to quality schooling.

More recently, I’ve come to really appreciate the importance of high quality teachers. Growing up in a segregated area of the country such as Richmond, Virginia, it wasn’t just the kids in the community that were segregated. My teachers were exceptional in their capabilities, competencies, and intellect, but they were my teachers as a consequence of segregation. Following the desegregation of schools after the Brown decision in 1954 and after the Civil Rights Act, many of them went on to teach at universities. So I had exceptional teachers, but it was at the expense of those educators not being able to have the careers they were well-prepared for and capable of pursuing.

Today's teachers don't have that same kind of fundamental knowledge of the communities in which they teach. In many places, especially urban environments, teachers can't even afford to live in the same communities that the children they teach live in.William Trent
How did your teachers impact you?

At one point, I wrote an article about the importance of having teachers who knew me, knew my circumstances, knew my conditions, knew the challenges. Those teachers taught me a model of achievement that prepared me for a world that didn’t exist for me when they were teaching me. I’ve always appreciated teachers, and teaching and learning. My research about producing better student outcomes is informed by my understanding that teachers can do exceptional things.

How has teaching changed? 

In the 1940s, 50s, 60s, and 70s teaching was an honorable and a highly-regarded profession. Teachers, doctors, and lawyers—that’s how we listed them off. Our teachers are not less well-prepared now, nor are they less capable, but society has changed in a number of ways.

My teachers lived in my community. They knew the communities, they had real life experiences, and knew the families. They could reach out and exercise some social control over kids.

What challenges do teachers now face?

There are real challenges that teachers face in terms of gaining the socio-cultural knowledge of a child’s environment and context that would enable them to impact the child differently, in addition to working on the child’s academic skills.

Gary Orfield and I and have worked together on a number of school desegregation projects.  We got together to try and design an instrument that would enable us to assess the benefits of diversity in the classrooms. Patricia Gándara, a participant in the meeting, told a story about an awards program she attended at a middle school year. Although the school was diverse in terms of student population, all of the academic awards were presented to the white students and almost none went to either Latino or African American students. As the program progressed, may of the parents of color began to leave. The teachers at this school were not aware or understood the level of discomfort that these parents were feeling. Patricia explained that symbolically the teachers had communicated that certain students were the learners and that others were not. Gary, Patricia and I talked about the teacher’s sense of “this is normal.” To them, there was nothing unusual about African American, Latino, or Asian students not getting the academic awards.

I began to think about how common it is for us to see certain disparities and not be troubled by them because of what the media tells us, or because of what our segregated experience allows to persist.William Trent

This affects gender too, so that we still don’t expect woman to be outstanding in STEM areas. We’re still struggling with those issues and topics and trying to make a difference. 

What can teachers do to change this?

We need teachers who see these types of patterns and will interrogate them rather than accept them. Each of us feels more or less efficacious in different contexts and settings. As an expert witness in a school dissent case in Kansas City,  part of the data that I received was surveys of their teacher's efficacy.  The survey referenced the extent to which the individual teacher felt they or their colleagues were comfortable teaching low income students or students of color.

In reviewing this data, I was able to associate teacher efficacy with student performance and find a meaningful and statistically significant correlation between teacher efficacy and student’s test scores. The more efficacious the teacher felt, the better the test scores.

How can we create more efficacious teachers?

We have to assess how we go about making teachers feel more efficacious working with a much more diverse population. The U.S. school population is going to be increasingly diverse. If we don’t make a substantial effort and meaningful progress in reducing poverty and improving the ability of a working family to have a living wage—we’re going to have a substantial percentage of free and reduced lunch kids in our schools. Teachers need to have a different understanding of what those kids' capabilities are, and their potential, so that they actually believe that they can make a difference. 

Research Statement

My past research has focused on: 1) Educational Inequality: school desegregation effects (K-12, postsecondary), benefits and consequences, social organziation of school, status attainment research, co- and extracurricular activities, comparative education; 2) Race and Ethnicity: social stratification and mobility, equality of opportunity; and 3) Complex Organization/Social Change/Policy.

Research Statement

My past research has focused on: 1) Educational Inequality: school desegregation effects (K-12, postsecondary), benefits and consequences, social organziation of school, status attainment research, co- and extracurricular activities, comparative education; 2) Race and Ethnicity: social stratification and mobility, equality of opportunity; and 3) Complex Organization/Social Change/Policy.

Community colleges are "game changers"

Eboni Zamani-Gallaher specializes in community college leadership and examines access policies, psychosocial adjustment, and transition of marginalized populations as they move in, through, and out of higher education.

More than 40% of students enrolled as undergraduates belong to two-year institutions. For decades, two-year colleges have been at the margins of the larger conversation in higher education—but that's changing.

If we can't find a way to reign back escalating costs, there is going to be increasingly less access to higher ed.Eboni Zamani-Gallaher

Charting pathways in challenging times: an interview with Eboni Zamani-Gallaher

by John Lang, Office of Community College Research and Leadership

When considering the goal of equitable educational outcomes, let’s be clear that while we try to educate all kids, we do not give all the kids we educate the same high quality education. Despite the promise and ideal of American P–20 education, there is racial and ethnic stratification in educational achievement and attainment that does not exist merely in isolated instances but runs through the pipeline. The achievement gap is continually widening for a myriad of reasons. Students of color and low-income students often have little or no exposure to advanced placement (AP) and dual credit courses, just two examples among the array of college preparatory course offerings. Read entire interview with Zamani-Gallaher...