Critical Race Theory: Talking through the Confusion

August 19, 2021



Webinar Master


AMI/USA, and AMS, and MPPI learned from Dr. Valaida (Val)  L. Wise, adjunct professor at Johns Hopkins University and Wendy Shenk-Evans, Executive Director of MPPI who provided insight from an academic and policy perspective on Critical Race Theory and the implications of the current dialogue for the Montessori community. The following questions framed the conversation:

  • What is Critical Race Theory and how does it differ from Culturally Responsive Teaching?
  • Why is Critical Race Theory suddenly in public dialogue?
  • Why is this important for Montessori education?
  • What are we seeing at the state and local levels with regards to policy around CRT and what can advocates do?

Thank you for providing questions that were addressed during the session. Our moderator(s), Dr. Ayize Sabater & Munir Shivji, asked the questions of the experts being interviewed.

Meet the Panelists

Dr. Valaida L. Wise (Val) is the president and principal consultant at her firm, Dr. Valaida Wise Consulting, LLC. The firm supports organizations in the area of diversity, equity and inclusion, governance, and leadership.  Val is a faculty member in the School of Education at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Md where she teaches diversity and social justice in the graduate program. Her research efforts focus on the successful implementation of an equity lens in schools and the workplace.  An educator of more than 25 years, Val has been a Montessori teacher and Montessori teacher trainer and the head of a Montessori School as well as 2 other independent schools.  Val received her Bachelor’s degree in developmental psychology from Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York; a Masters of Art in Teaching in Early Childhood Education with a specialty in Montessori Education from Trinity College, Washington D.C., and earned a doctorate in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from the George Washington University. Dr. Wise also holds an AMS Primary Montessori certification. She is a sought-after public speaker with articles published in a variety of national journals.

Wendy Shenk-Evans is the Executive Director of the Montessori Public Policy Initiative (MPPI). MPPI envisions a world enriched and made equitable through widely accessible and fully-implemented Montessori education and works with the broader Montessori community to advance policy change. MPPI champions a policy landscape that expands equitable access to high-fidelity Montessori education. This goal is advanced through building the capacity of state associations, bridging the work of advocates and policymakers, and promoting public awareness of the Montessori approach. Wendy supports state level advocates, collaborates with leaders across the Montessori community, builds coalitions with other national education organizations, and offers trainings and workshops to prepare Montessori educators to be effective advocates.

Interested in learning more? Check out these resources:

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