Equity and excellence in education is a central touchstone for the College of Education driving everything we do, from teaching, to supporting students and programs. Indeed, preparing educators, leaders, and counselors to promote these values is central to our mission as a College. This spring the College of Education hosted several events for students, faculty, staff, and the wider community focused on anti-racist teaching practices as part of Black Lives Matter at School.
These events focused on radically imagining a more equitable education that places Black youth at the center. Held in February and April, the online events were planned by faculty members, Drs. Oscar Navarro, Noah Asher Golden, Heather Macias, and Jolan Smith. Dr. Golden shared “As we work towards equity and excellence in education, which is the Vision of our College of Education at CSULB, centering on Black Lives is essential. Equity and excellence in education means that we must confront White Supremacy and work collectively to dismantle anti-Black racism in and beyond classrooms and educational policies.”
The kickoff event, “If These Cells Could Talk” featured Drs. Kenjus Watson and Tiffani Marie whose research examines factors that undermine, but also cultivate Black youth wellness. A second event’s panel discussion brought local K-College educators to showcase how they each engage in racial justice work, both in and outside the classroom. The final event in April “Anti-Racist Pedagogy in Practice: Black Lives Mattering in the Classroom” brought distinguished CSULB faculty, Dr. Maulana Karenga together with K-12 educators from across the country who facilitated thematic small group discussions.
These events, shared Dr. Oscar Navarro, offered educators an opportunity, “…to move beyond the scholarship and see classroom examples of ‘ethnic studies teaching,’ ‘restorative practices,’ and ‘anti-racism’ in local schools.”
Offering virtual programs as part of Black Lives Matter at School is paramount to our mission as a College of Education. “…Given that we are a College of Education, we need to ensure that we are offering programming that addresses and values the concerns, experiences, and voices of all students and teachers, particularly when we talk about the importance of equity, inclusion, and diversity in education.” shares Dr. Heather Macias.
Offering these events, not only as an opportunity to share information, but also as a chance for our future educators to learn from current practitioners, who are actively engaged in equity work, is vital to our teacher candidates. “Given the prolonged racial violence against Black bodies and the recent magnification of this racism in the events of 2020, our candidates need spaces to commune for action…Our CED candidates, many of whom are in schools interacting with BIPoC youth, want to do more, need to do more, and are searching for ideas to do more…our event[s] facilitated thoughts, ideas, and deeper interrogation of oppressive schooling vs. liberating education practices,” offers Dr. Jolan Smith.