On Dec. 11, the Superintendent’s Speaker Series featured Dr. Prudence Carter, Dean of the UC Graduate School of Education, who shared her research on why “diversity is not the same as integration,” and why inequitable outcomes still persist.
To quote one of Dr. Carter’s slides, “Representation and social diversity are necessary but insufficient for reduction of social and economic inequality if we don’t attend to the distribution of power, distinctions, and hierarchies.”
Speaking to an audience of more than 80 staff and community members at Longfellow Auditorium, Dean Carter said that it is important to provide access to safe facilities, good teachers, up-to-date technology and textbooks, but these resources are not enough to produce true integration and equitable educational outcomes among a racially and socioeconomically diverse school population.
Equity requires that we also address the social-cultural context, such as how students are organized in classrooms, the subtle messaging that reinforces stereotyping, and how students perceive social boundaries. These factors can contribute to a “relational inequality” that produces an “us vs. them” mode of thinking. Dr. Carter urged vigilance against the tendency toward “othering” and urged educators to bring all groups to the center of opportunities to ensure true integration.
As head of Berkeley’s Graduate School of Education, Dean Carter works to create learning environments in the teacher and principal training programs that prepare educators to become “master multicultural navigators.” She believes in uplifting the teaching profession while supporting educators to become both skilled pedagogues and able to connect the dots between the academic, social-psychological, and cultural contexts in which students experience school. “We know that a sense of belonging is foundational and leads to the kind of student engagement needed to thrive in school,” noted Dean Carter.
Dean Carter addressed other systemic factors, including the increasingly competitive nature of college admissions and urged the audience to consider what each can do to disrupt the systems that perpetuate inequality.
More context for the presentation can be found by viewing Dean Carter’s presentation slides.
Next Speaker Series event: Dr. Jabari Mahiri to speak on “Multicultural Education Beyond the Color Bind,” January 31, 2019, 7pm, Longfellow Auditorium, 1500 Derby St.