Multicultural Education conference focuses on equity and social justice

Keynote speaker Christine Sleeter.

The School of Education at SUNY New Paltz, in collaboration with local educational organizations, will hold its 18th annual Multicultural Education Conference titled, “Hope-Challenges-Solutions: Reclaiming Educational Equity and Social Justice with Alliances and Action,” on Friday, Nov. 2, 2011, 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. in the Student Union Building on the New Paltz campus. The deadline for registration is Oct. 19.

The conference program consists of a presentation by a keynote speaker, a cultural arts performance and morning and afternoon workshop sessions. The conference will facilitate connections between educators, students, parents and community members who are working to create equitable schools that will enable all young people to achieve. Based on the mission of the organizing committee, the conference will also provide tools for those seeking to implement key aspects of multicultural education — such as inclusive learning environments, culturally relevant teaching, authentic assessments and a commitment to educational equity — at a time when they are being marginalized by standardized, data-driven and privatizing approaches to teaching and learning.

The keynote speaker is Christine Sleeter, president of the National Association for Multicultural Education and professor emerita in the College of Professional Studies at California State University Monterey Bay. Sleeter’s research focuses on anti-racist multicultural education and multicultural teacher education. Her address is titled, “Teaching for Equity and Social Justice in an Era of Standardization.”

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“We are so fortunate this year to have a nationally-known expert in the field of Multicultural Education keynoting the conference,” said Nancy Schniedewind, professor in New Paltz’s Department of Educational Studies. “Christine Sleeter, as well as multicultural educators in the Mid-Hudson region, will offer both ideas and hope for teaching diverse students in meaningful ways while concurrently resisting the standardization and privatization of public education.”

A cultural arts piece titled, “Stories from the Front Lines,” will be performed by the Hudson River Playback Theatre. Educators and students in the audience will be invited to speak about their own educational experiences and the Hudson River Playback Theatre’s actors, facilitator, and musician will transform the stories into live theater.

More than a dozen workshops will be offered, including: “Building Dignity: Implementing NYS’s Dignity for All Students Act in K-12 Schools”; “Self-fulfilling Prophecies: Math, Gender, and Culture”; “Making it Real: Using Case Stories to Promote Multicultural Education”; “Cyberbullying: The Invisible Threat.”

For additional conference program information, contact Schniedewind at 257-2827 or e-mail her at schniedn@newpaltz.edu. For registration information, contact Christine Waldo-Klinger at waldoklc@newpaltz.edu or 257-3033. Tickets cost $40 for adults and $5 for students. K-12 educators may register online for $42. Breakfast and lunch are included.

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