How can pop culture, technology and media be used to boost the performance of students and schools? How can “cultural competence” raise the academic achievement of English-Language Learners, minority and economically deprived students? Is the Asian “model minority” claim a myth?
The 2005 National Education Association (NEA) two-day “joint conference on concerns of minorities and women” is examining these issues this week in Los Angeles.
The two-day conference, which began yesterday and winds up today at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel, is comprised of workshops and hands-on sessions on topics ranging from closing the achievement gaps of minority students and keeping kids “gang free” to working with legislators and local communities to build stronger schools.
Given the growing diversity of the nation’s public schools and new accountability regulations, conferees are exploring means of ensuring that all children will have a level academic playing field.Featured speakers at the conference include Hugh Vasquez, founder of Oakland’s TODOS (Everyone) Institute, a social justice group that helps young people unlearn racism, Stewart Kwoh, president of the Asian Pacific American Legal Center, the largest Asian civil rights organization, Luis Valdez, chairman of El Teatro Campesino (the Farm Workers Theater) and director of the movie La Bamba, Donna Brazile, political commentator and columnist, and Michele Foster, Claremont University educational anthropologist, sociolinguist and author.