Critical Race Theory: Talking through the Confusion
August 19, 2021
Webinar MasterAMI/USA, AMS, MPPI
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:
- Who Really Drives Critical Race Theory Legislation? An Investigation by Sarah Schwartz
- Click here to view the Education Week article which they are regularly updating to track state level legislative efforts
- A $5 Million Fine for Classroom Discussion on Race? In Tennessee This Is the New Reality by Eesha Pendharker
- A Lesson on Critical Race Theory by Janel George from American Bar Association
- AAPF and Sundance Present: The Story of Us
- Black Lives Matter and the Zinn Education Project have teamed up and are encouraging educators to make a public pledge to teach the truth in gatherings around the country August 27-29. They are posting event locations as they receive them here or you can sign up to host one and they will provide you with a toolkit. Click here to learn more!
- The African American Policy Institute has launched the Truth be Told project which is tracking legislative efforts and also has an interactive map as well as a collection of media stories and other resources on the topic.
- The NEA has a branch called the Ed Justice League, click here to sign up!
- Receiving Questions about CRT? Consider the Source by Jay McTighe
Related Resources From Embrace Race:
- Creator of the term “Critical Race Theory” explains what it really is, Professor Kimberly Crenshaw on MSNBC
- How a conservative activist invented the conflict over critical race theory by Benjamin Wallace-Wells, New Yorker
- Texas Senate Votes to Remove Required Lessons on Civil Rights, Bloomberg News
Scroll down to learn about the other events in our Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) webinar series!