October 28, 2013

Hamline Sponsors the National Association for Multicultural Education Conference

Hamline School of Education was a sponsor of the Minnesota chapter of the National Association for Multicultural Education (MN-NAME) 2013 Conference  that took place on Saturday, October 26 at Hopkins High School. The theme of the conference was Insisting on Equity: What's Really Going on in Our Schools (and what we can do about it).

Rachel Endo, chair of teacher education in the School of Education, is on the board of directors of MN-NAME. The board, which organized the conference, consists of educators and multicultural advocates including several Hamline alumni and supporters: Nicky Blake (Hamline Master of Arts in Teaching alumna), Julia McBride-Bibby (educator), Jennifer Heimlich (AVID and social studies teacher at Hopkins High School), Seema Pothini (President of MN-NAME and Hamline Master of Arts in Education alumna), Joanna Waggoner-Norquest (Teach For America staff), and Perry Wilkinson (current student in Hamline's administrative licensure program and math teacher at Eagle Ridge Junior High School; also the winner of the 2012-2013 Teacher of the Year Award at his school).

The conference, which was attended by over 100 participants, including administrators, classroom teachers, concerned citizens, K-12 students, and university students consisted of multiple concurrent workshops, including one led by Letitia Basford, a faculty member in the school of education. Basford presented a workshop, Paying with Their Lives: One Family and the School-to-Prison Pipeline based on a collaborative project that she and Joe Lewis, a faculty member in the school of education, have widely presented and published with critical acclaim.

At the end of the conference, board member Heimlich facilitated a student-led panel by three Hopkins High School students. On April 26, the students and their allies coordinated a walk-out to protest inequitable educational policies and practices that did not serve the academic and socio-emotional needs of particular groups of students, especially those of color and who identify as LGBTQ. Each student panelist shared her or his experiences and hopes for more equitable schools.

"The significance of MN-NAME's conference was to illustrate how intersecting identities influence educational access, opportunities, and outcomes for different groups of people," Endo said. "Despite common assumptions that schools are neutral sites where everyone is treated in an equitable and supportive manner, this conference highlighted how inequities are often fueled by unintentional assumptions and beliefs about a particular student's worth based on her or his appearance, background, or personal circumstances. The Hopkins High School students and workshop presenters deeply inspired the vast majority of conference participants to make personal and professional choices to advocate for inclusive and safe schools where all students are set up for success."