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Montessori School of Columbia presents: Dr. Derrick Gay

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Richland Library Main

1431 Assembly Street

Columbia, SC 29201

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Double-Edged Sword: Reframing Diversity for the 21st Century

We live in an unprecedented interconnected social, political and economic global society where students will necessarily require cultural competency to successfully navigate school and a workforce that represents an increasingly multicultural, multiracial, and global population. More often than not, efforts in schools to support this work fall under the well-intentioned yet often polarizing umbrella of diversity.

The word “diversity,” however, often serves as a double-edged sword in education. On the one hand, schools look to embrace diversity as an affirmation of their mission and tangible evidence of their rhetoric around fostering inclusive communities. On the other hand, individuals often understand diversity as a proxy for historically marginalized groups in ways that those from majority groups often view diversity as not inclusive, divisive, and inequitable. There isn’t a school in the United States that has not grappled with supporting students with learning differences; fostering gender-inclusive schools, including transgender students and staff; LGBTQ tensions; racial incidents, including a rise in hate speech, groups, and actions among students as young as middle schools, and questions around immigration status that quickly become political; and challenges around the role of religion in secular public schools.

How then should educators create a more equitable world and foster intelligent, compassionate and informed 21st century global citizens? As our educational communities begin to more accurately mirror our ever-changing society, what mechanisms, systems, policies, and practices do we create and sustain to support diversity and inclusion, in ways that prepare students for success in college, careers, and informed and compassionate citizenship?

Visit Derrick at:

www.derrickgay.com

Twitter: @derrickgay

Instagram: @derrick_gay

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Richland Library Main

1431 Assembly Street

Columbia, SC 29201

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