Askwith Forums: Education, Democracy, and Human Rights

Askwith Forums: Education, Democracy, and Human Rights


(attendees chattering) – [Woman] Okay, thank you for that. – Are we ready? Good evening, it’s
great to see all of you. My name is Fernando Reimers. I’m a professor of the practice of international education
here and in a moment, I’m gonna introduce my
colleagues in the panel. I’m also the co-chair of the Harvard Advanced Leadership Initiative
whose chair and the, it’s a program that is the brainchild of Rosabeth Moss Kanter who, perhaps, will say a word about it later. But before I introduce
you to our topic tonight and to our speakers, I
wanna say a few words about our Askwith Forums for those of you who have not been here before. These are free public forums
that bring leaders in the field to the Harvard Graduate
School of Education to engage in conversation and
to engage with the community. These dialogues strengthen
the intellectual life of our school through conversation, debate and the free exchange of ideas. These forums are also a way
for us to open our doors to welcome members of the
greater Harvard Community and the general public. So this is the last
Askwith Forum of the season and I would like to thank
all who have attended and watched these forum
this academic year. These are live streamed to the public and they’re also recorded. Now, back to our
conversation for the evening. I will frame the conversation
but before I do that, let me introduce our panel. And so beginning to my
left with Maureen Costello. She leads the Southern
Poverty Law Center’s Teaching Tolerance project
which is one of the nation’s leading providers of
anti-bias education resources. And since joining Teaching
Tolerance in 2010, Maureen has grown the
program significantly adding a number of
programmatic initiatives. under her leadership the
Teaching Tolerance magazine went from two to three issues a year and has received many different awards. Before joining the Southern
Poverty Law Center, Maureen worked for Scholastic Inc. and directed the Newsweek
Education Program. She began her career as a
history and economic teacher at Notre Dame Academy
High School in New York. She’s a graduate of The
New School University and the New York
University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. To Maureen’s left is Roger Brooks who’s the president and CEO of
Facing History and Ourselves, an international non-profit
educational organization that seeks a world guided
by knowledge and compassion, not by bigotry or prejudice. Facing History reaches
more than 70,000 teachers and millions of students
worldwide each year. Roger joined Facing History in 2014 and under his leadership, the organization launched
an ambitious strategic plan to dramatically increase
its reach to new audiences and areas in the United
States and around the world. Prior to Facing History,
Roger taught for over 20 years as faculty in the religious
studies department at Connecticut College. He also has a long-standing partnership with the Holocaust Educational Foundation at Northwestern University which
prepares collegiate faculty to teach courses and curriculum related to the Holocaust and genocide. Roger received their Distinguished Achievement Award in 2014. He’s an expert in early rabbinic culture and he’s the author or editor of six books and numerous articles. He’s a graduate of the
University of Minnesota and has a PhD in Judaic
studies from Brown University. To Roger’s left is Stacy Davison, and Stacy is the director of training for the Anti-Defamation League, a national civil rights agency where she manages the
development and implementation of anti-bias training programs. For more than 15 years,
she has provided educators, students and families with
educational tools and resources to better understand
and effectively address bias related issues in their
schools and communities. She has taught in Barcelona, Spain and she has a master’s
degree from Lesley University and her areas of interest
are cultural competency and creative arts in learning. To Stacy’s left is my colleague,
Professor Meira Levinson who’s a professor of education at the Graduate School of Education. Meira is a political philosopher who writes about civic
education, multiculturalism, youth empowerment and educational ethics. Her most recent books include
No Citizen Left Behind and Dilemmas of Educational Ethics. No Citizen shows how
schools can help tackle a civic empowerment
gap that is as shameful and anti-democratic as the
academic achievement gap targeted by the No Child Left Behind. Meira was awarded a 2014
Guggenheim Fellowship to support her newest project,
on Justice in Schools. In this work, she combines
philosophical analysis and school-based case studies to illuminate the complex
dimensions of evaluating, achieving and teaching justice in schools. Her doctorate in philosophy
from the University of Oxford and her BA from Yale University. And to Meira’s left his
Professor Rosabeth Moss Kanter who’s the Ernest L. Arbuckle Professor at the Harvard Business School where she specializes
in strategy, innovation and leadership for change. Rorabeth is also the chair and director of the Harvard Advanced
Leadership Initiative, a Harvard-wide innovation
she co-founded in 2008. It’s a growing international model that helps successful leaders
at the top of their fields apply their skills to
national and global challenges in their next life stage to build a new leadership
force for the world. She is also the former chief editor of the Harvard Business Review and has been repeatedly named to lists of the 50 most
powerful women in the world by The Times of London and the 50 most influential
business thinkers in the world by Thinkers50. She’s currently working on a
book about digital disruption, organizational transformation and the do-it-yourself
intrapreneurial revolution as well as scaling the
idea of advanced leadership and her doctorate is from
the University of Michigan. So please join me in
giving them a warm welcome. (attendees applauding) So what we’re going to do is I’m gonna frame our conversation. Each of our panelists is going
to make brief opening remarks then we’re gonna have a bit
of a dialogue with each other and then we’re gonna invite
you into the dialogue. So we’re meeting three blocks from a house where Benjamin Franklin and
the Revolutionary Council came up in 1775 and decided
that maybe we should try a different way to organize society. A way to organize society that rule on the very powerful notion that ordinary people
could rule their lives, join with others and
improve their communities and on the even more powerful
and revolutionary idea that all people were fundamentally equal. And that is the beginning
of this experiment. Now, the founders, as did the philosophers that inspired their thinking understood that this experiment in
self-rule had to be joined at the hip with two other institutions. Public schools and modern
research universities. And so it is no accident
that it was only five years after that meeting in that
house in 1780 that John Adams chartered the American
Academy of Arts and Sciences. And if you read their charter, you can see that the whole
point of the enterprise is to bring people who have achieved in very different fields to
work together to figure out how to improve the society, something that most universities
were not doing at the time. They were engaged in the
business of transmitting religious dogma instead. It was that same year that Adams charter the Constitution of Massachusetts and the first seven articles
of that constitution are about the role that
universities must play. And if you read, it’s the very same ideas that inspire democracy as a way of life. It’s this notion that the
cultivation of human reason among the general population
is what will allow ordinary people to improve themselves and the communities of
which they are a part. Public schools we’re not an afterthought, were part of that very same idea. It was in 1785 that John Adams wrote the whole people must take upon themselves the education of the whole people and be willing to bear the expenses of it and there should not be a district of one, of one square without a school in it not founded by a charitable individual but maintained at the public expense of the people themselves. And so that’s why, that’s how
we establish public schools. First public school was
established in Boston 40 years after that, 1821. And there are a number of
ways in which public schools prepare people for
self-rule and for democracy. One of them is educating all, providing everyone the
opportunity to cultivate the reason and all other capabilities so they can improve their
lives and join with others in improving society. The second way in which they do it is they prepare students to work across all lines of difference, not only to be able to live together but actually to collaborate. I was yesterday at an event of
Facing History and ourselves where a teacher in Lowell High School explained how she had engaged her students who come from, I think, she
said 30 different countries in writing a book on why diversity is the essence of a democratic society and this book is now in use,
I believe in 150 schools, that was awesome by the way, project. So preparing students to work across all lines of difference. The third way in which schools help prepare people for democratic life is teaching them what are the institutions and more importantly, the norms that help democratic civic engagement. What are the rules of the process? How does the process work? And then lastly, they prepare
students to participate, to participate in making
democracy a way of life. I have been very inspired, we’re gonna talk about students such as those from Parkland High School who have taken on remarkable
national leadership in mobilizing the country
around gun control, and I think it is no accident
that Parkland High School is a very good school and if you look not only at those students
but other teachers, you understand that the
reason they’re able to lead is because they have
been the beneficiaries of particular forms of education that have enabled them to do that. Now, these reaching consensus on how to achieve these
four goals is complex. There is disagreement on
how best to advance them. For example, I attended
recently a presentation of the findings of a cross national study for civic education in about 50 countries which presented the following findings. When 15-year-olds are tested in their measures of
civic knowledge and skills and are also asked, do you
intend to vote in elections? And do you engage in activities that are democracy is a way of life? The findings surprised me. High levels of civic knowledge
are positively related to intentions to vote, to
intentions to participate in the formal democratic process but they’re negatively related
to activism of any sort to democracy as a way of life which may be a commentary
on how democracy, on how civic education is taught
but I think it is puzzling that you can see these
two domains as separate, as distinct as opposed to
being part of a continuum of part and parcel of the same thing. Now, in spite of some of
these puzzling findings, there is enough consensus on
what is necessary in schools to cultivate these capacities and there’s also evidence that
is much room for improvement in all of these areas. The work of Meira documenting
the civic empowerment gap or the civic education
gap is an example of that. There is also evidence
that there are challenges to American democracy and those
of you in the ally program spend today some time
discussing this new book, How Democracies Die written
by Professor Steve Levitsky here at Harvard and by his
colleague, Professor Ziblatt. And one of the core arguments of this, I mean, this book, I guess,
has two core arguments. One, democracies are fragile. They take a lot longer to
build than to destroy and two, it takes more than constitutions
to sustain democracies. The reason constitutions
work is because norms and two key norms that
help constitutions function are mutual toleration, the
notion that you don’t go out and try to destroy those
who think differently and try to destroy those
who think differently and the notion of self-restraint. The notion that no one
with political power will go all out in using their power, Obviously, getting a country, getting a population, a
country, to live by those norms is squarely about what schools
and universities do or could. There is also evidence and our speakers gonna talk about that, that there is growing hatred and bigotry, not only in American
society but around schools and educational institutions. In our public universities,
for example, in the state, we have white supremacist groups organized and recruiting in the open. And so the question is
are these challenges that we see in the society
and that find also expression in our schools and universities, can these challenges also
be addressed in schools? Is there more that our
schools could be doing at this particular time in
the country to address them? So I’m gonna ask each of our
speakers to say a few words about what are the challenges that you perceive that are new. What is it that your organization
is doing to address them and is that enough? And three, what are the unmet needs? What are the needs for
advanced leadership, for collective leadership in
addressing those challenges? So one why don’t I turn
it over to you, Maureen? – Okay, thank you very much, Fernando. It’s April 2018 and two years ago in 2016, Teaching Tolerance sent out a survey to teachers across the United States asking them about the impact
of the presidential campaign on their schools and on their classrooms. And what 2,000 educators
told us was that the campaign was having a profound effect which I’ll describe in a moment. We actually followed that
survey up in mid-November right after the election
with another survey of 10,000 teachers and since then, we’ve been monitoring very closely what’s going on in schools,
particularly hate incidents. We identified three big changes
or concerns of educators in that first survey and frankly, the trend has not diminished. The first one was that
marginalized students, particularly those from
immigrant backgrounds were terrified. And of course, today, they
have not an uncertainty of fear but in fact a very real
fear that their families can be broken up. The second thing we found
was that there may not have been an increase in bullying but that there was a new tone to bullying and disrespectful behavior
towards a fellow students that was now politicized. So it was politicized bullying,
politicized harassment. The ugliness of the campaign
had come in to schools and we as the word emboldened to describe what was happening in schools that that self-restraint
that Fernando mentioned was drifting away. And the third and for the
purposes of this discussion, the most concerning
finding was that teachers felt they were facing
something entirely new and they did not know
how to respond to it. We asked whether it would
affect their ability to talk about the election,
to teach the election in the spring survey. 50% of elementary teachers said they would not teach that election. That’s extraordinary because
elections, every four years, presidential elections, think
about your days in school have mock ballots and all
sorts of things and now, we had elementary school teachers saying they wouldn’t do it. 1/3 of high school teachers
told us that they were not going to teach the election this year because they did not know how to do it, this year being 2016. Let’s go forward. We know that the
marginalization of students, the marginalized students
are in fact terrified and there’s been a lot of good evidence that it’s affected their
attendance and their, their stability at school. We began tracking hate incidents at school in October of 2017, just kind of doing what’s being appearing in the press and they averaged between 70
and 90 incidents every month and we report on them every single month and then we reach out to the
schools offering some advice. But the more concerning thing is what’s happening with teachers. We have UCLA came out
with another study in 2017 on teaching in the age of Trump. And what teachers in high school, English and social studies classes, those classes that
where in discussion said is that their students
were more combative, they were very polarized,
they cited unreliable sources and they were very quick to
accuse teachers of partisanship when they stood for the kinds of things that we consider core democratic value like tolerance and diversity. We’ve heard from schools, for instance, there was a school in New Hampshire that decided to celebrate
Black Lives Matter by mounting, I’m sorry, Black History Month, by mounting a Black Lives
Matter flag outside the school and they were inundated by
trolls and threats online in social media and by email. And we’ve heard stories like
that around the country, so what I consider one of
the greatest problems now is the unwillingness of teachers
or the chilling effect of a hostile climate both
within the classroom and in the community. The chilling effect where
teachers are less and less, or they’re more and more reluctant to tackle the kind of hard issues that students need to tackle. Why? Because schools to teach those
kinds of civic dispositions that we talked about
have to, in fact, model what civic discourse looks like, that it’s not a scream fest, that it’s not trying to debate and decide who has the moral high ground
because in many arguments, there is no moral high ground. But that students really need
to contend with each other, they need to understand
different perspectives and that eventually, they
have to make decisions and that they have to come to an agreement of what are our laws going to be like, how are we going to live together. And the only way you learn
that is through practice and if we don’t have a space
in our schools to practice it, that is something that I
am very concerned about. I’m particularly concerned about it because while the norms
of democracy are one thing and we’re seeing those erode in schools because the idea of equal respect for every individual is eroding. The other is that schools are
the last institution standing that can do this. We have less trust in the
media and in journalism. We certainly see that we have
less trust in government. Certainly, there’s eroding
trust in public schools as well but this is the job of public schools, to create model societies
that where young people can practice the skills
that they will need when they make decisions as adults. And I’ll stop there. – [Fernando] That’s very helpful. Thank you, Maureen. Roger. – Well, thank you, Fernando
and it’s always a pleasure to follow Maureen because
she’s got everything that I was going to say. (attendees laughing) So in Facing History,
we’re hearing from that network of teachers. We’re hearing three main things and the first of them echoes Maureen. It’s that there are topics
right now that are taboo, that are just too hot
for teachers to tackle or they feel they’re too hot
and they need help with that. So I’ll say what the three issue then I’ll suggest what we’re doing. The second issue we’re hearing
about a lot from our teachers is that the newspaper every morning, they read it or they read it online and they have a whole new set of things they know they have to
talk about that day. So how do you do that, right? You wake up, your school is in session, the week starting after
Charlottesville happens. What do you do on Monday, right? So that’s a second thing,
the needs of the minute, and I think the third
thing which we’re hearing may be less for teachers
but we’re watching happen is a sort of a nostalgia
for old-style civics. That, well, if we only
had more civics education, everything would be better. So let me take those three
and give you a little, just brief notion of what we’re doing. For the taboo topics issue, we’ve been putting out through our, we have a blog that goes out
to about a 110,000 teachers, not all of them teach Facing History but we also have lesson plans that we can put out that way and thoughts. So we’ve been putting out a series on difficult conversations and actually, piece by piece, showing how
to contract in a classroom to have conversations that are,
in fact, really complicated and to bring up topics
without advocacy, right? So you can bring up a
topic and you can say, we’re not going to spend the day deciding what you all should think. We’re gonna spend the day
thinking about what the topic is. So we’ve given strategies about that and I think that has been
well-received and we have, the teachers that write and say I didn’t know how I was gonna do this, I read the blog and I was able to go into my classroom and start. That connects really closely
to the newspaper problem, what do you do in the morning. And Facing History is always
been about looking back far enough in history
that we can actually, that there’s great
scholarship on the issue or the case studies. So whether we’re looking at reconstruction in the US South and then its failure and the beginning of Jim Crow, et cetera or looking at Weimar Germany and then the failure of democracy there and the beginnings of, that is sent into the Holocaust,
whatever the case study, we typically are looking back long enough that there’s
great scholarship. What we found now is that the
gap between current events and the events we’re
studying is doing this and what’s happening is
whether we’re writing material on Ferguson and a whole
unit on news literacy, fake news is a big deal than newspapers if you haven’t been reading it. But whether it’s that
or whether it’s using some of our earlier
material that was written, for example, about monuments and, and memorials about the Holocaust, but that material turns
out to be perfectly usable in talking about the issue
of monuments and memorials in the South right now. So we’re doing a lot of what
I call just-in-time resources where having materials out right away. After Charlottesville on Monday morning, we had some where schools
were in session already and we had materials out
for teachers Monday morning. I’ll give you a piece
of just how complicated the issues get with that. We had one of our program
associates went out to a school and the teacher said I need a
little help on how to do that, and we’re talking to the
students and said well, how are you thinking about this and one young man raised hand and said, I don’t exactly know what
you’re talking about. So the teacher and the parents as well, how many of you know what happened in Charlottesville this weekend? 30% of the students knew. The rest didn’t know, it’s Monday morning and they haven’t heard about this. So we’re working with a
generation that is so in a bubble through their own curated social media that part of what we have to do is not just teach the teachers how to talk about these difficult matters but also teach how to give the facts out. And then real briefly the last one, the civics initiative. we’ve been working with a whole lot of groups
from different universities, different colleges around a
major initiative on a new civics that stresses not just literacy,
you know, how is a law made but also real engagement, deep engagements and I think it’s that pair
that has been really missing and civics that could help with
where we are right now, so. I’ll pass it on.
– Thanks, Roger. – So the good thing about
following Maureen and Roger is that they both say
everything I was about to say. At the Anti-Defamation League or a national civil rights organization and we are also seeing
a lot of the same trends that have just been mentioned. Anecdotally, we have 25 regional
offices around the country that provide training and resources for pre-K through 12 schools and they are inundated with calls needing help for how to
address some of the issues that Maureen really touched upon. I did wanna just highlight
on some statistics that ADL recently discovered
which we do an annual audit of anti-semitic incidents and the numbers for 2017 were staggering. We saw a 60% increase in
anti-semitic incidents over the previous year and a
large reason for that increase was the rise in incidents
in K through 12 schools, colleges and universities. And we’re seeing this across the board. This was the first year that
there was an incident reported in each of the 50 states. So it is definitely a troubling trend. I recently learned a quote
that I wanted to share with you which I think is gonna frame
the rest of my talk here which is that, it’s
Robert Louis Stevenson. Make the most of the best
and the least of the worst. So we’re hearing the
worst that students are, they’re hearing the sound
bites, they’re seeing headlines, they’re reading their Twitter feeds which are filled with hate and uncivil rhetoric. And the worst of the worst
is that they are imitating this behavior. And the best part, however,
is that I think the adults, the educators and and family members have a real opportunity
to harness the energy and the idealism that the
young people are showing us and to really empower them
and help lift up their voices as they work to re-engage in our democracy and to show leadership. So ADL actually we have also a team of educators that develop
just-in-time materials, as as Roger just mentioned. We have a current events classroom in which within a day or two
of events like Charlotte, we’re giving teachers the
tools, as Maureen described, they so desperately are looking for because they’re feeling paralyzed, they don’t know how to
have these conversations. And I think something that
we really advocate at the ADL is even before that
current event has occurred, it’s really important to
establish a learning environment in which students feel
safe, they feel comfortable, they feel like they can
bring their identity, their full self, their
experiences to the room and engage in these important dialogues and so it really is
important for educators to create that space and encourage the difficult conversations. And then I think in terms
of the current events and this was also mentioned
is it’s not about telling them what they should believe but
really encouraging students to think critically so our current events classroom lessons provide reading materials that
offer different perspectives and we encourage students to
think about those perspectives and see how their thoughts
and experiences align or don’t align with those perspectives and to really get them to vocalize where they fall in the spectrum
of opinion, so to speak. I think an another important
role that educators and parents can play is not only encouraging the activism and advocacy that we’re seeing in young students but getting them to also think
about it in a broader sense. I love that students are
going out and walking out against gun control but
to really ask students what this means to them personally, what their understanding of the issue is, what is the historical context, what are the social-political
dynamics in place, that they really understand
why they’re speaking up and, what the consequences of that are and so I think educators can play a role in getting them to think about that and also broadening their idea of what social activism means. It can mean walking out, it
can mean many of the things that the students at
Parkland did is to me, just textbook examples of social activism. Within a week, they had a website that had media contact
information, they had merch. I mean, it was so impressive. And students, they understand this and so I think for us to be
able to support their creativity as they’re thinking about ways
that they can use their voice and participate in democracy. So, thank you. – [Fernando] Thank you very much. Meria. – Thank you so much for
setting this up, Fernando. I wanna talk about, I think, two challenges that schools
that they’re facing now but they’re actually pretty perennial. And then three ways in which
we’re trying to help schools address these challenges. One is that schools are
both aspirational places. So Fernando talked about
the school trying to create an ideal and kind of idealized democracy in which we are nurturing civic
and democratic competencies and dispositions and yet they are also inherently and rightly
reflective of the society in which they exist because
if they were not reflective, then they would not be
democratically controlled, right? They have to be reflective
because, we the people, are in control of the
public schools and yet, we the people are quite imperfect and have always been quite imperfect and we imbue schools with
this ideal for the future where we are always trying
to help our children become better than we and our
society become better than we and yet, we are part of, you know, we are the figures who are in the schools who are directing them, developing
the curricula, et cetera and so I think that’s one
of these real tensions which is that we are
hoping to prepare kids to be better than we are today, right? And where we are today is not great. And so that’s I think of
one of the big tensions. The other challenge that
I think that schools have always actually wrestled with but we’re wrestling with
it in a particularly intense moment right now is shifting in norms around, especially, what what we collectively
agree on and accept and what we see as being
partisan or ideological. So Diana Hess and Paula McAvoy write about this really beautifully in the their book, The Political Classroom where they talk about
issues being in the tip and they say use the example of the Japanese internment camps which have been in the news recently just because the Supreme
Court has still not repudiated its support of them in
Korematsu but the idea that that at the time, the
internment camps were perceived at least by majority
white American citizens as being a justified response
to a threat from Japan during World War II. Then for a while, they were seen as legitimately controversial and it was appropriate to
have a school-based debate over whether or not they were the right response to a threat during World War II. And now, they’ve tipped over
to being a settled issue on the other side where
actually we would consider it inappropriate and horrifying for a teacher to have a
debate not historically but it may be that if
they were trying to think from the perspective of
World War II, perhaps. But for now a day, so the questions should we have internment
camps, say, for Syrian Americans if we go to war with Syria
or with for Korean Americans. We would think that was outrageous, right? And part of what we are
wrestling with today is that we are in a
particularly quick moment, I think, of norm shifting and part where norms that we saw as being common and collective. So say teachers five years
ago could declare themselves to have an anti-racist classroom. And that was generally seen
as being that something that teachers could say. We do not have racism in our classroom, we embrace diversity, we
are an inclusive classroom and yet, what valence that has now is it is often heard not
as a common expression of American ideals or
aspirational American ideals to be anti-racist, right, but it’s hurt is actually
a voice from the left of asserting certain kinds of values that are seen as being partisan, right? So the question is how can we
deal with these two challenges of schools reflecting who we are which is necessarily imperfect and also of these shifting norms where things that we
thought we could assert as being common civic
values are now being heard as being partisan values. And I’ll briefly mention,
I think three ways, in addition to the things that we’ve heard which I think are excellent responses. One is curricularly, in addition
to what you’ve heard about, I think that there are resources through the National
Action Civics Collaborative through the C3 Frameworks, for College, Career and
Civic Life Frameworks for State Standards in history, geography,
economics and civics. And through new work coming
out of Stanford University, Sam Wineberg shop for the
Stanford History Education Group where they have been looking
at how part of our challenge that we all face, not only kids with interpreting what is
real news versus fake news is that we don’t know how to source. And not even professional
historians know how to source so their research has been showing these that and even professional historians have trouble identifying
the source of a website and figuring out if the
website is conveying accurate information. There is a group though
who’s really good at that and that’s fact checkers
’cause fact checkers actually know how to follow those through and so I think actually, as we think about also
media literacy curriculum, it needs to be more than just
identifying perspective-taking and identifying propagandistic
tools and so forth but actually learning how to trace back information sources
especially digital media to where they come from. Second of all, I think I’ll
stop with the second one. I think I’ve been working with students and others on creating case studies. This is actually inspired
very much by Facing History, case studies for teachers
to discuss school leaders, district leaders, school
board members parents and students themselves to discuss around these very dilemmas of educational ethics in classrooms. So we have a case for
example about whether or not 10th grade history teachers
should have students debate transgender bathroom laws as a legitimately controversial issue. We have a case about teachers
speech that explores the fact, unfortunately, K-12
teachers don’t realize this that there is no academic
freedom in teachers for K-12 teachers and that the state actually owns their speech
and how should teachers then think about that and deal with that. We have a case that we’re developing about how districts and charter
management organizations and others respond to
events like Charlottesville whether they make public statements and why and what kinds
of things the districts appropriately should speak out about and what kinds of things
should be seen as partisan because I don’t think
we’re going to be able to solve these challenges, right? But if we can illuminate
them as always being there and have conversations with
one another about them, then instead of charging
others with malfeasance when we think that they get it wrong, we can recognize that they
may have made a mistake and where they came down on an issue but that we are always going to have to make such charge choices and that being in the
midst of a charged choice is unavoidable and hence frankly, also making mistakes are unavoidable and then we might be able to
show each other some compassion in trying to get past those mistakes and construct something
more shared in the future. – [Fernando] Thank you, Meira. Rosabeth. – Thank you and thank you for Fernando and nobody listens more
intently than you do so I love watching you listen. Thank you, I mean I have such admiration for all of the organizations
represented here including Meira’s work at the ed school and in fact, I’ll get to
this because I wanna take us in a slightly different direction but the idea of case studies,
I mean I have three things education can do or we could
do nationally about education before I go in a slightly
different direction. One, definitely, is the
case method of teaching because my colleague, David Moss has a book out called Democracy, a series of cases teaching civics to Harvard undergraduates
and MBA students together but now, to high school
students using cases where you debate major
decisions in American history. And it’s really fabulous and
the League of Women Voters which is now revived under
the current circumstances because we have voters
and women get together trying to make change has taken that on and wants to help spread it and there’s already a project with high school teachers nationwide. So that’s the first, if I don’t get to it, I have three solutions
because I’m gonna go in a different direction. The second is national service. National service which takes young people and cause on them to do something more for their country, for their community. We’re doing it in the United States, other countries have national service. They may have it of a different kind but a purpose larger than yourself and doing it with a diverse
group of other people often for people that are not like you. So national service includes City Year which helped stimulate
modern national service in the United States, but Teach for America which modeled itself after what City Year was
doing in a different way. So national service is actually
a solution and luckily, the US Congress which wants to cut funding for our national service vehicle,
AmeriCorps, every budget, actually, this year, this
Congress restored funding with a little more because it’s beloved of every district, red or blue because of the impact it has on quality and the third is to go
beyond the classroom and the curriculum. One of our Advanced Leadership
fellow, Gilberto Dimenstein has created various projects
but one was essentially communities as schools, taking a whole community and
making it a kind of classroom for students so that they were
involved much more broadly with, again, many
diverse people in Brazil. Very effective. But I wanna take us in a
slightly different direction because Fernando started with a little bit of very inspiring history
and it was right here. But I myself always
wanna be looking forward so I was a big Star Trek fan. For years, I relaxed by watching
several episodes together and aside from the fact
that the cast on the Bridge, the people who were
leading the expeditions were incredibly diverse, not only racially and ethnically
diverse and gender diverse, there was even a robot and an empath and people with funny ears. Well, the things Star
Trek makes me think about is what is our real case
for doing this democracy and justice and human rights. It’s that we must become one planet because imagine if an
advanced civilization from somewhere else landed on Earth and we’re all squabbling with one another, they’ll take over. So, I mean, seriously though,
we do have to make a case for why these things are important and not just because they
were traditional values in the United States. This issue to me is very, very personal and those of you who know me know that I’m a fairly private person so I’m not gonna give away too much but it’s really deeply personal. I didn’t grow up in poverty
and I have a white skin so already, there was
a degree of privilege. However, I was part of a group and it was very much part
of what was around me in discussions in my childhood
and of course, Facing History has picked up on this. I was part of a group that
another powerful group murdered in large numbers. So this became very personal,
family members, et cetera. I was also from a Northern
city that was highly segregated as many Northern cities are in many ways more so than Southern cities. If you look right now
in the United States, certain Southern cities
are incredibly diverse. Houston, Texas is one of the
most diverse cities in America and then there’s Miami
where people will leave Northern cities to go there
not just for the weather but because immigrants are welcome. Well, I grew up in one of
those segregated cities where every ethnic group and
there were dozens of them had their own territory and their own hour and their language on
the radio on Saturdays. And people were afraid to
go from one neighborhood to another neighborhood because they were so intensely homogeneous and what happened? Like to many Northern cities
and it’s not just because of industry leaving,
people left those cities. And we don’t want people
to leave those cities or leave America because we
need all of those brains. And so this became very personal to me. I’m also female and it
became very personal because when I was growing
up, there were confined roles, there were expectations. You could do this, you couldn’t
do that and I hated that. I hated the categories that define people and their opportunities. And so openness is an imperative if we want to grow economies,
if we want to grow people. We need open borders, we
need open opportunities and we need open minds. And so what we’re fighting
against our forces or what I’m fighting against always are against forces that
want to close minds, close borders, close opportunities. Sometimes that’s called
orthodoxy or incumbents or establishments because
dominant groups and establishments always want to pass on
only what they already know and often only to members
of their own group. And I’ve written 19 books,
not all of them deal with this but it’s a theme running through
much of what I have done. So the question is
leadership to make change. How do we change this? This is about changing the culture and I love the solutions
that involve new curriculum, educating teachers differently, doing things with the schools differently but it’s a matter of culture for everybody and there are certain leaders
we can look to for models. We’re not always going to
be those leaders ourselves and the classic Nelson
Mandela in South Africa who didn’t make everything perfect and I love the thought
of the perfect union because it’s not perfect. Our aspiration here was to
make it a more perfect union, not to make it perfect which is impossible but what he did was manage
a transition to a democracy without violence or much violence. That’s an amazing feat. So by deconstructing
what’s in that leadership, I think we can see paths
forward that we can all take whether our own particular project is going to be a curriculum or a new national service
program or changing schools or simply supporting
Southern Poverty Law Center which I’ve admired for a long time. I spoke in Tuscaloosa a little while ago or Facing History or the ADL or Harvard. We’ll take it, we’re raising
money for ALI right now. That here are the things
that I think were important and I call it the mes of leadership. The M-Es of leadership because
leadership starts with me, not with what I want somebody else to do and even though leadership
is building a collective, it’s building something that we all find that we have in common,
it does start with me with each of us and so the
three M-Es of leadership which I feel Mandela exemplified
and great leaders exemplify and not everybody holding high office can be considered a leader. So the first me is the message espoused. It’s what leaders say. What they tell other people. The respect they show. Respect, I think, is the
most important thing. It’s the ways in which they
treat people with dignity and learn how to be respectful and even in contentious case discussions where we’re dealing with difficult issues, we have to be respectful. But the message, leaders do give speeches. Leaders stand up for things and the Parkland students got that, they said it was all their media training and that they were in
theater but it is true, being able to stand up and communicate, give a great speech about
what you think ought to happen and Mandela was certainly
an incredible speech maker and his messages were all about inclusion. They were all about unity. One planet, not quite, I want one planet. They were about one nation and about needing everybody
to become one nation and not only the people who
were oppressed getting voiced but the oppressors being forgiven because we needed them
for unity for one nation. So that part of this is not
only including the excluded, it’s also having those who are
in the dominant establishment feel that the future belongs to them too. They’re not gonna be left out. One fear dominant majorities
have about all of these changes is that they’re gonna be left behind, that they will be irrelevant, that the tables are gonna turn. And sometimes it’s deserved but I’m not a big believer in revenge, I’m a big believer in being
able to say it out loud. Truth and reconciliation. So that’s the first me,
the message espoused. That’s what makes you a leader. The second M-E or me is
the model exemplified. It’s not just what leaders
say, it’s what leaders do. Do leaders behave in a way
that reflects their values and we often have way too much hypocrisy but I think we have to make
heroes out of the people that stand up and model
these values of unity. One of the people that I happen to have find as a current hero right now, a leader with courage is Ken
Frazier, the CEO of Merck because after Charlottesville, he was the one CEO who said, I can’t stand that rhetoric. I’m going to leave the administration, business council because
I can’t support that and he did. I see a Merck person
smiling in the front row. He did do it. He acted on his values and in fact, that whole business council fell apart as others started following him. So if you model what you believe in and Mandela certainly did. He’s talking about inclusion but then, he did all kinds of things
you can say symbolic to show that everyone was included. Who was chosen for his cabinet? Doing a new constitution
through a participative process. Imagine if we, I’m constantly telling
elected officials, by the way, in every community I get to talk to, why don’t you go to the
high schools and mobilize the middle school and high school people to go out and think about
what kind of future they want? We can’t get funding for
transportation but I’ll bet if we ask the middle school
and high school students, they will tell us that
we must invest again. So Mandela lived by
the values he espoused. He even put on the uniform of the former oppressors when they won the rugby match because that was one South Africa. The third thing that leaders do and now I’ll get to my solutions, the third M-E model, sorry, mechanisms established. It isn’t only what we say and what we do. It’s also that we
actually create structures that produce change. Structures, and we were
hearing about some structures and I think curriculum changes
are certainly structures. Structures that make a difference. That’s why I think national
service is powerful. There are other structures we could put in that begin to change the
relationships between people. There’s a finding about
diversity and diversity programs. Say corporate training,
the fellows heard this from a Harvard faculty member
who did some of that research which is you don’t change attitudes by putting people together
and trying to tell them you better change your attitude. You do it because you give
them a task to work on together and if we mobilize that energy,
say that young people have, they wanna be doers,
they have a lot of energy and one mayor that I know
who’s making incredible change in a small community
outside a metropolitan area, they’re an all black community. He’s making incredible change in part by wanting not only lots of
education, STEM and tech, but lots of activities
that the kids can engage in so they’re busy because what we forget is that there’s a lot of violence in part because a lot of people have
too much time on their hands and if they’re busy with a deadline and something they’re doing
jointly with one another. So shared tasks are important, making communities into classrooms. I keep thinking because I
went to a public school, high school, elementary school, at a time when public
schools were still good but I hated it. It felt to me like another box. I did everything I could to
not have to go to high school every day so I joined
the student newspapers because we got to go to the printer. That’s when they were still printed. So I got to leave school. It was stifling, it was boring, we were confined in buildings, even then I felt we were warehousing kids rather than expanding their horizons. And so I loved all the programs, some of which are
national service programs like Citizen Schools
where people learn things from people who run
neighborhood businesses. Those are phenomenal ways to
start changing the culture and because it may be difficult to change the culture nationally. National is ugly but
when national is ugly, local is beautiful. There’s a lot we can do locally
and when we do it locally, it does start to press up. Just like a congress
that was looking to cut everything they could restored the AmeriCorps
national service funding because it was having discernible impact on student achievement
in low-performing schools in their community. And when you do it in the community, we have a common interest. That’s why many mayors
races are not partisan because the idea is taking out the garbage is not a partisan issue. You either take it out
or you don’t take it out. There isn’t a lot of
ideological debate about that. So there are things we can do. There are things that leaders
can do to change the culture. That’s one of the goals
of Advanced Leadership is not only that people
at later career stages transition to finding a
project that they want to lead but also that we create a
sensibility that brings us closer not only to one community, one enterprise, one nation but also to one planet. – Thank you, Rosabeth. (attendees applauding) Before we open it up for your questions, we have here seven students from Malden and I see you sitting there who, I understand, are courageous leaders, who have not only identified
ways in which their schools and their district ought to address some of the very barriers
that were talking about but have done something about it. So I apologize because I
knew you are going to be here and I know we’re gonna speak after this and I didn’t forewarn you
but if you wanted to speak, come to the mic and be the first to speak and tell us what it is that you’re doing, we’ll be delighted to hear from you. (attendees applauding) And the mic is here, do you see it? There, yeah. So tell us your name, what grade you’re in and share with us what it is
that you’re doing in Malden. – Good afternoon, my name is Krystal Jean. I’m a 14-year-old eighth grade
student of Salemwood School. Recently, we had spoken
to our school committee on issues about racial insensitivity when it came to the students and the students not feeling comfortable with being able to address the teachers about these situations. We asked the students
felt as though our stories as well as the stories of other students who had not been able
to share their voices were well deserved to be heard so we decided to take action upon it. – [Fernando] You can pull the out that, just pull it out. – Hi, my name is Michaela Henry, I am an eighth grader
at the Salemwood School and just like what Krystal said, we spoke to our school committee
about experiences we’ve had in our school about
people saying racial slurs or we felt uncomfortable in situations with teachers and students. So we talked about it
and we shared our stories and we wanted to show everyone make change in our school. – Thank you, great stuff, thank you. Thank you very much. (attendees applauding) And thank you all for coming
and for your leadership. So I’d like to invite the rest of you. If you have a question, we
have mics on both aisles here. Just queue behind the mic. We’re gonna take maybe
three questions at a time. I would ask you that
you make brief questions that not statements, not
another presentation, that end with a question mark. Why don’t you go, sir? Tell us what your name is, please. – [Jake] Jake Gleaseon. – [Fernando] I’m sorry, what is your name? – Jake Gleason. – [Fernando] Thank you, Jake. – Okay, garbage disposal aside, there are a lot of
other ideological issues that ostensible in human
and civil rights groups seem to take partisan stances on. ADL is well known as an
Israel advocacy organization. If you look at its recent statement on the Pompeo nomination, it
seems to be mainly concerned with maintaining Israel’s military edge and putting an end to the
BDS human rights movement and bashing Iran, now, SPLC also last month
was forced to withdraw a statement put on his hate
watch about Max Blumenthal because he had the wrong position as far as they were concerned
on Russia and Syria. So are we getting into a position here where we’re taking
curriculum from organizations that are ostensibly human and
civil rights organizations but also feeding children and others their implicit ideological
and political biases on these other larger issues. I don’t think we’ve really come to grips with the partisan political aspects. – Thank you. Maung, tell us who you are. – My name is Maung Nyeu and
I’m a doctoral candidate here. Two quick question. One is Professor Rosabeth Kanter, you mentioned about South
African Nelson Mandela. We have a narrative here in
this country about minorities and also marginalized communities including indigenous people. South Africa, were able
to change the narrative and there are some other
examples in the world, Germany and few other countries. Why, even more than 50 years of MLK speech that it is so difficult to change the dominant
narrative in this country? The second quick question, if I may, I think that we have talked about a word, tolerance, and I sometime question
the world tolerance because I come from indigenous
communities in the mountains halfway around the world in Bangladesh. We say that we will learn
to tolerate mosquito even it’s annoying buzz and stinging bites but we are taught to embrace neighbors. So should we use the word
because word has a meaning, word has a power is that we aspire because as aspiration to be tolerant against hatred and intolerance or we should strive for more, embrace, as you say,
dignity and human rights and sometime we may end
up being in the tolerance but for school and for the children, I wonder, should we say more
the word about tolerance or should we use, change this vocabulary and then use more embrace human dignity. – Thank you, I would like to ask. (attendees applauding) Our Advanced Leadership fellows who have spent a day
thinking about these issues to ask a question of the panel. What questions does these provoke you and I’ll take a volunteer
before I call on someone. Please, come to the mic. – I’d like to ask a question. I spent 20 years in the United
States Congress as a Democrat representing Orange County, California which is mostly Republican area. And I’m a little concerned. I’m looking at something like
the University of Berkeley which is the university in my home state and when Ann Coulter, I
think it was Ann Coulter who was going to go and speak,
we had this Antifa movement that came and said they were
gonna tear apart the place and turn cars over and put
everything on fire, et cetera. And so her speech was canceled or her appearance was
canceled on a university. And I don’t agree with very
much that Mrs. Coulter says but I still think that
a university setting is a place for us to be
able to hear everybody even if I don’t agree with it. So my question is what can we do, in particular, to protect our universities to allow speech that before has been an
avenue to hear differences without being undermined
by something like an Antifa or anybody else who would choose
to undo the ability for us to have a discourse. – Thank you. And you get the last
question of this round and then we’ll go back to our panelists. – My questions a little bit smaller but I’m sure you all know about the letter that was sent home to the
parents in North Carolina about trying to define
what white privilege was by the PTA there and so many
of the parents got very upset about this letter trying to teach the second and third graders
about what white privilege was and trying to lead that way and I was wondering if one or some of you could address your thoughts on that, that something that I feel is so simple and so right and so straightforward and being a civic lesson. What’s that all about and
what your view is on that? – I would like to respond
to any of what you’ve heard. And I’ll be glad to start but I can wait. – I’ll start with couple of things. One is, I wanna start
with Maung’s question about why it’s so difficult to change the narrative in the US and you had said, say 50 years after Martin Luther King’s death. I think, sorry, I don’t
know what’s going on here. I think one of the really striking things is exactly how we’ve told the narrative of Martin Luther King. Right, so, your question sort of presupposes
that Martin Luther King made the changes that then we should have been able to see through, right? But this narrative of Martin
Luther King essentially as this messianic figure
who had to die for our sins but who was recognized and embraced as a man who embodied
and who spoke the truth and our American civic
values when he was alive, that’s not how he was
understood at the time, right? He was reviled. He was he was a rabble-rouser, I mean, he was truly
hated by many, many people in the United States and
what he said and what he did was incredibly controversial. And so part of what, I don’t have the answer
at all for why it is that we are still where we are but I think and then this actually takes
us to the first question too about sort of again,
where we see partisanship and who were willing to see as a partner and who we mistrust as an enemy, right? When we are wrestling for the soul of a nation which was conceived in infamy and sin, right? This is a really, that this can feel like a life-and-death struggle even when we all might want to
get to a better place, right? And so I think, and that’s
the reason that I think that this fight, say, at Berkeley. I think it was over Milo Yiannopoulos and the free speech arguments
that have been taking places at universities have been so passionate is again, because people
feel as if we are engaged in a truly in a life-and-death struggle, for some of us, personally,
fear of physical attack and harm and brutality. Fear of deportation including deportation to places in which, again,
we or our loved ones may also suffer physically
and emotionally and socially, but then also fear for the nation, right? And fear for the world. And I’m not trying to
take a moral high ground to say that my vision
of where we should be is necessarily the right one or the only legitimate one, right? But we are, I mean part of
the reason that we have these pretty brutal arguments
is an expression of care. We really want to get this right. We really want to save
something that we value and help make us better, right? And that is a struggle
that we’re in the middle of and we don’t know how
to complete it, right? But we have to but we
do have to work together and our children are trying to figure out how to work together and I’m really excited
about the standing up and the speaking out, right? Because it’s an example also
what you’re describing of, of racism, of racist taunts,
not just from students but from teachers and feeling
unable to go to your teachers. This is not small. This is big. And the fact that you’re standing up and taking it to places of power and say my testimony matters is huge and yet, it’s also, as you know, not going to be enough, right? The testimony is part of it but then there also have to be others who then say okay, so
this is what we’re going to take on and do and that
is an ongoing struggle that I think we’re engaged in. – So, I think that we’re at a point where we’re kind of we are in the position that we can be midwives of
a new birth, this country. We think about the birth of
this country and kind of stages, there was the one at the
declaration and the constitution. Lincoln at Gettysburg talked
about a new birth of freedom and we are now, I think,
at a grave crisis point and that grave crisis point
has a lot to do with the fact that first of all, we’re
undergoing a demographic change that probably no nation has undergone and that is causing an enormous
amount of status anxiety among people who were
previously in the dominant group and who are saying that their
dominance is disappearing. And there was just a recent
study last week, actually, that well, there’s been a
number of recent studies that suggest that the last election was very much about that status anxiety and there have been other good studies that show that diversity does not necessarily diminish trust. The key factor is whether or not there’s economic sustainability. But let’s get back to that
new birth kind of thing. We are facing this
incredibly crucial moment and we are, as a nation, a
nation that has not really confronted our history. We ended slavery, for instance, with the Thirteenth Amendment but we did not do a
very good job of ending the white supremacy and the
racism that accompanied it. This weekend, I live
in Montgomery, Alabama and right now today, yesterday, no today, a new memorial is opening up there. It’s a memorial to lynching and
a museum is opening up there that connects slavery to the
era of mass incarceration. It’s being led by one of, I think, one of the great leaders of
our time, Bryan Stevenson who began his career
fighting death penalty cases and recognized that to
really bring about change, we have to confront our history. We have a new project called Teaching Hard History: American Slavery that it’s based on the same thing. We don’t do a good job confronting the way that history continues its legacy. And the talk about South
Africa really resonated for me because South Africa did talk
about truth and reconciliation and that is where we have to be. This midwifing is going to
be painful but at the end, we could have a stronger,
better, more diverse country that is in fact closer
to that aspirational goal of the more perfect union but we are all going to have
to listen to those voices and those voices are not just in Parkland and not just in Malden. They are voices in every case where I have looked at Hayden School, not every case but in many cases. The hate was reported by students. It was students who
said this will not stand and it’s often students
who have had walkouts prior to Parkland because they didn’t feel like their administration’s
were taking it seriously and they wanted it to be named. So I think that we are at
a kind of tipping point and we have to just help
support those young voices that are seeing the world for what it is and saying this needs to change. – So first of all, thank
you both for very eloquent statements about these
very challenging questions. So I do wanna come back
to the economic side, not surprisingly. I think economic anxiety
has a lot to do with stands that people take and ironically,
this is why I have a theory of losing streaks and
winning streaks of cycles that are self reinforcing
because on a losing streak, things are very divisive,
there’s a lot of infighting and that only makes it worse because that makes it harder to succeed. So if you start that cycle, it gets hard. That’s why we need leaders to intervene and try to make something
better and different. But in terms of why it’s
taken 50 or more years, it has taken a lot of time. I mean one of the things Dr. King said was about the arc of history
always bends toward justice. It may take a long time but
eventually, we get there. I don’t think we’re necessarily slipping. What I think we’re doing is speaking out. I think that the fact
that people can say things that were buried that they never said doesn’t mean it’s getting worse. It means we’re opening up a little and that we’re able to hear it a bit. On the other hand, the free
speech on college campuses issue which Congresswoman Sanchez mentioned, that’s a difficult issue because groups form around
something that they want and they support one
another in going after that and no one has a monopoly
on that kind of tribalism. The only thing that gets
us out of it, I believe, is pluralism. that is people are not only a member of their one tight group
that’s arguing against this. They’re part of five other groups that might have different
stands and they mix and match and we’ve lost that because we have become a little more segregated. And in our new industries, we’ve become less gender friendly. Why is that? It’s because when we leave
things to informal mechanisms and are not as leaders deliberate about how we help people form groups, people fall back on one part of, I mean I don’t wanna make
neuroscience out of this. I’m not a neuroscientist
but there are supposedly two parts of our brain. There’s the primitive
fight, flight first response but then luckily, we
have a civilized brain that’s called civilization. You stop and think, hey,
maybe I don’t wanna fight. Maybe there’s a larger goal. But if we don’t present
people with larger goals, I think we do have to, I would challenge every
young person in America to serve and serve their
communities, not just speak out. That’s great, it’s a starting point but do something constructive and positive for their communities. So it does take a long time
and on a college campus, by the way, the anti-free speech thing, you know, college campuses are a little freewheeling sometimes. We have to keep them busier
and we have to keep them busier on very constructive activities
such as community service which is a big goal here at
Harvard that we do more of that. – Thank you. You want to speak? – Briefly, I wanna link what we just heard to the question about
tolerance and embrace and I think the issues of, the difficult issues of curricular choice, the difficult issues
of so what gets taught, the difficult issues of who gets to speak. These are all matters of
where we need to move beyond where we are now which
is out of the impasse. It would be wonderful if we could at least get the tolerance right now but beyond tolerance is
something much, much deeper. It’s respect and it’s real interest in what the other person has to say. Facing History is part of a group that’s sponsoring a new project
called Better Arguments. The Better Arguments Project is not about, let’s stop arguing about things. Let’s all get along. It’s about saying if we’re
gonna have an argument, let’s have it be a productive one where I might enter the argument thinking that I might
actually learn something. So it’s about letting go of the idea that I have the exclusive answer
in every case and instead, my partner in the argument
might teach me things. So I like the see more of that. – Thanks, Roger. – Excuse me. – I think we have time for
another round of questions so we could hear from different people. Another three questions. Tell us who you are, go ahead. – Hi, my name is Courtney Berger. I am an EPM student
here at the grad school. To kind of parrot the first question, when I put on my teacher
hat, I’m really grateful for the resources that I was able to use from Teaching Tolerance. My school was an ADL No
Place for Hate school which was fantastic and it helped me be one of the people
who tried to talk about the election in my social studies class but as a student, when I put that hat on, I get really upset because as a student who likes to engage in activities with groups like Jewish Voice for Peace and speak out against the injustice that I see in an international context, it’s really frustrating because I mean, the ADL is all but labeled
JVP a hate group so, I’m curious for anyone who wants to answer the question how, we’re very, right now, in a position where it’s easy to
criticize right wing people, expressing things that
might not be popular but it sounds like we’re not very willing to criticize ourselves
and step away from things that are kind of easier criticized rather than looking at something like the gentleman mentioned Israel and I’d really like to
hear an answer to that. – [Fernando] Thank you. Off with you. – Thank you. My name is Ina Somekason. I’m a postdoc over at
MIT, I hope that’s okay. – [Fernando] Can you remove the mic so we can hear you better? – Maybe, I just, yep. And my question relates to the fact that I find all of your
initiatives very interesting, very inspiring but ultimately, it seems that the students
are addressed or targeted and maybe it works in the classroom but then they go home and they might be exposed to an environment
that is very, very different. So I guess my question
is how if at all, do you, I guess, claim to or try to involve the wider community into the efforts because to me, honestly, this seems to be like an
issue of lifelong learning. Thank you.
– Thank you. And we’ll hear from you
to get the last question. – Great, my name is Chris. I work at the Hewlett
Foundation in California and went to town for a professional
development opportunity just across the way. I wanna ask the other half of the question about capacity and supports
for students and young people. You guys mentioned in
your opening comments that the Stanford research showed that not only were students really bad at understanding if something
was fake news, fake website but the elite professors and
teachers were just as bad. It was the fact checkers that knew. So I’m wondering what it is you can do in the positions that you’re in, the materials you produce,
the trainings you have and all of us who care about education to increase the capacity of the educators while they have these kids to be capable of really knowing themselves how to deal with issues of
education of human rights so that they can actually
support these kids in democratic understanding
and grapple with it and not expect that maybe, well, you care about
it, the workforce won’t. How would you grapple that? – Thank you, what I invite each one of you to address any of the
questions that were asked or once you wish you had asked and make that your final comment. So you each get a chance to
make a final closing comment. Should we begin on that side of the panel with you, Rosabeth? Wanna start? – Begin with me as a final statement? I’m never finished, a work in progress. (attendees laughing) Obviously, I mean the
question directed to the ADL I think has to be answered. By that, I think the community
supports the parents. That’s why I wanna get have
us think beyond the building. Think outside the building, think about how we involve
parents, include parents, include the community, do
things for the community and also bring communities together because part of that economic insecurity that I talked about before is part of what started to
seem to reverse progress because people didn’t wanna pay taxes that they thought was gonna somebody else that they didn’t know and that
they had no connection with. So there’s a lot of things we have to do out in the community and I think schools which are
a community center of sorts have to, it’s ironic to say
have to open their doors because now, they’re gonna
get even more locked down which is a shame but
that’s one thing we can do and I think yes, education for teachers. We have to think about
the teaching profession because the teaching profession,
when it became feminized, started paying less and
now, we have a lot of people who were out on strike because they’re being starved as teachers. So how do we get the
best and the brightest? Teach for America was
an attempt to do that, get really smart college
graduates who could go on to investment banking to
spend some time teaching. So we have to make that
profession ever more important and make sure the kinds of things that mirrors is working on, people are working on at the ed school are only as good as the
education of teachers and who we attract to that profession and it needs to be people
who are not threatened by parents and families. There’s also a colleague
here at the ed school who had once written about the tension between parents and teachers. We really have to make
sure that they’re in sync and that the community knows the children in their schools and vice versa and I think that will help
with some of these issues. – Thank you, Rosabeth. Meira. – I’ll address two of the questions. One with regard to parents
in the wider community. You’re obviously right that children spend a large percentage
of their day in schools but by no means the majority
of their day, right? And I don’t have an
answer to that, obviously. One of the things that I’ve
talked about these case studies that we’ve been developing around ethical dilemmas in education and my students were actually
helping me this morning with a case study that Tatiana Guerra and one of my doctoral students
and I have been writing about a race-conscious
curriculum in the school and this charter networks
effort to implement this race-conscious curriculum and teachers struggling
with it but also parents reacting to it in a whole variety of ways. Parents who are concerned that their, white parents were concerned
that their children are being taught to
hate themselves, right? Parents of color who are concerned
that fairly inexperienced white teachers are teaching badly including teaching their children badly. And one of the challenges, so in the case, what we’re hoping to do is to get not only
educators and policy makers to reflect on it and to use it but also parents and PTAs. So that parents and teachers
again can work together to talk about these issues because this is part of the
challenge too is as you, everyone cares about children, right? The teachers care, the
parents care and yet, and the children are coming between and among different people who care deeply but in different ways and sometimes, they have different views. So one thing is we’re trying
to help these cases that, have these case studies be
sources of conversation. With respect to capacity and supports, three very quick things. One is I actually find it
encouraging that fact checkers can do this well because frankly, fact checkers are not very well trained and they’re not very well paid, right? These are not people with
postgraduate degrees, usually, which means that these are skills that can be taught and learned and I actually think that’s good. So like we could develop curriculum to help us all become as good
as the fact checkers are. Second of all, I think
that this relates actually to teachers going on strike, right? It’s very, very hard to help students develop a sense of empowerment
and to take on the rights and responsibilities and
dispositions of citizenship if teachers themselves
feel oppressed and cowed and totally subject to authority. And so part of it is helping schools become more civically empowering places, not only for students,
but also for teachers. And then the last thing I’ll say with respect to capacity building is that I do think that
universities can contribute also by doing good research. Like until I heard Sam
Wineburg’s doctoral students present their findings at
the American Educational Research Association a few weeks ago, I would not have guessed this, right? I would have thought the
professional historians and also non historians,
people like me, right? Well-educated people with doctoral degrees that I would be great at doing
this kind of thing, right? And so the research is what
has changed my thinking on that and has changed thinking also therefore about curriculum, et cetera. And so I do think that is one way in which universities can
also make a difference is through doing high-quality research that helps us understand
the problems better so that also we can help to try to construct better solutions. – Thank you, Meira. – So I think I’m gonna try to
answer three of the questions although I don’t know
how well it’s going to go but we’ll give it a try. I think one of the core
elements that was weaved throughout some of these questions really speaks to the foundation of ADL’s anti-bias education programming and No Place for Hate programming which is when we think
about issues of diversity and inclusion, we always
start with identity. So who am I and who am
I in relation to you? What are the messages I
received growing up about myself often from parents, I agree and how do these messages help inform and shape my self perception as well as my perceptions of others and of the world around
me and how I’m treated. So I think I don’t, I think it’s really important
that we include parents in these discussions about
how to create an inclusive and safe learning environment for students and really getting them
to think about their role as shaping their children’s
self perceptions. I also think in terms of
building capacity for teachers, when we go out and work with teachers and try to give them the
skills and the knowledge to have these difficult
conversations with their students, we we also get them to
really encourage them to think about their identity
and self reflect on how are, like is the Malden students alluded to? How are we treating different students based on their identity? What is the message that
these students are getting? What is the impact that it’s having on their academic performance
and just overall well-being? So I think identity and self reflection are really important. To the question about the ADL, I will, it’s sort of somewhat timely because just prior to coming here today, we have a monthly meeting with
all of our education staff from around the country and
the same exact theme came up around who are we, what is our
identity as an organization, are we self reflecting? There’s the sense that when we go out and, basically, it’s the important set that even though we are an organization, we still have to hold
ourselves to task in terms of thinking about who we are,
where our imperfections are and how we can be better as well. So it’s an internal
debate that we are having and I think, again, it
speaks to that importance of this is an evolving
process, a lifelong process and it’s important that we
do be self-critical as well. – Thank you, Roger. – I’m mindful of time so I
just wanna say that I think as we develop a
relationships with teachers, the product at the end is
students who have greater agency, who have who have real voice, who have critical thinking
skills about history but in fact, our work at Facing History
is not with the students, it’s with the teachers. And so how do we get teachers ready? Well, it’s exactly this issue
of having teachers think about their own agency and voice and critical thinking
skills about history, having them teach what
they’ve learned with us, not that we’re saying the curriculum but that we’re asking them
to go through together, the very same sets of
difficult conversations that they’re going to
have with their students. So I think that’s really
how you build the capacity for teachers to teach these
really difficult matters, so. – I’m gonna pick up on that. Charlottesville happened on August 12th and Charlottesville schools
went back into session a week later. But Charlottesville has had
a very active equity project for about 10 years and
they had the capacity, they had an equity program, they had people well-versedin
talking about difficult issues in every school and literally, when Charlottesville happened, they kind of pushed the
and they have phone calls and they had meetings and by
three days after the march, they had professional
developments happening for teachers about how to
talk about these topics. So it’s possible. There are good models out there. I wanna talk about just about
two things very briefly, that disconnect with families. I also believe that schools have to kind of bust out the
walls and we do a lot of, we fund a lot of small projects and so the ones we fund
are ones where families are being brought into schools and they’re teaching each other about aspects of their culture or there’s one that’s like sharing recipes and that may be small but it is a major component of human building community. I think that in response
to whether the lessons that my project can be trusted, I would want teachers to offer
those lessons to parents. I mean I think that we would do a service if we invited families in and said take some of the lessons, have
some of the same discussions we’re gonna have with your students and you’re going to see that
we’re not threatening you. And my last comment really is
about the work out of Stanford and the media issue because I think that’s incredibly important and I think there’s an
essential tension that we have and that is between trust and skepticism. Much media literacy is built on skepticism and danah boyd, for
instance, who I know you know believes that has actually bit contributed to the rising of hate and
the rising of bad information because we have people like a Dylann Roof who are skeptical of everything they read and so they are attracted
to conspiracy theories because it’s the truth
that no one tells you. And yet, clearly we need to be
a trusting community as well because trust is one of those core values. And I think that what’s needed is more than just finding out the source but coming to grips with the fact that we are in a new media age. And we are in a new
media age and certainly, Cambridge Analytica and Facebook
has shown us what’s at work where media manipulation and
the kind of attention economy and provocation for the sake
of provocation are new factors and it’s not simply
about what the sources, it’s about how is the
mechanism being used. And I think that that
is an entirely new field that the teachers are gonna
have to kind of get schooled on because they are, they’re kind of behind on it. We actually have, where we’re gonna do a podcast on that and it’s brand new. So I think there’s a lot going on and there are a lot of
opportunities to do great work. – Thank you, Maureen. So, in closing, my good friend Rosabeth says that I like history
and I do find it useful and I’d like to go back six million years which is how long we have been
on this planet as a species. By that metric, the notion
that we can organize a society achieving some kind of balance between freedom and
commitment to the common good is a very recent idea,
not even 200 years old and that idea is a project
always in the making. It is an imperfect project,
it’s a project in the making but what I think is clear is
that that project is fragile, that it is not a gift
of God to any people, that it is a project
that requires especially that individuals behave in certain ways with regards to one another. And public schools were invented
to advance that project. I think it’s important to remember that because if I look at what
public schools do today in the United States and in
other liberal democracies, you would not think if you
came from another planet that the primary mission
of those institutions is to prepare people to
understand our of all the norms that make it possible for people
to live in democratic ways and I think that requires
that we do better. It doesn’t mean that
schools are the only place in which we can conduct those norms but they’re an important place. They are place that was
designed for that purpose and that is not doing a very good job. If you look at the last data
of this comparative survey of countries that asked 15-year-old a range of questions and
assess their knowledge, a very troubling high
percentage of 15-year-olds would rather choose economic security over the institutions that
give them their freedoms and maybe this is to be expected in a time that feels uncertain to me but I think it is very troubling that there are individuals
who would be willing to give their freedom away to someone who would guarantee
them economic security. One of the last big wars, World War II was fought over competition, over three different ways to imagine how to organize a society. Those ways were fascism,
communism and democracy and it’s helpful to remember
that the fascism at the time began with populist regimes elected, where populist leaders
promised populations that they heard their
fears, they understood them, they were gonna take care of them but they would have to
take their freedoms away. Now, so I think it is very important in this country to develop consensus not only by partisan societal consensus and giving more attention to democratic citizenship education in our schools. I don’t necessarily mean all cities but I mean that we should
examine with the same force with which in 1983 when A
Nation at Risk was published and we concluded that the American economy was not competing and we
had to focus on our schools, we need at this time to
have a similar consensus that says, are we doing
what we should and could in our schools for the
health of this democracy? And I think that even though there are reasonable disagreements among
people who know the evidence and the practice on the
best way to do that, there is enough consensus
that if we simply acted on what is known, this would be a huge improvement. The National Research Council which is an organization that
was created by Abraham Lincoln in the middle of the Civil War to help mobilize expert
scientific knowledge on issues of public interest, produced three years
ago, a report that names what are the competencies
that would help people live a good life and participate
economically and civically. That could be the foundation
for that kind of consensus, for that kind of political
and societal consensus. I invite any of you to read that report, the editors are Hilton and Pellegrino and to ask the question for
educational institutions within your sphere of influence, are they doing a good
job at helping students gain those capacities? In Massachusetts, the
Department of Higher Education has a project called the Vision Project that has six goals to help
integrate our public universities on behalf of educating our
citizens for a democratic and acknowledge economy
and one of those goals is promoting civic education and there is a report that
is built on what is known that if we just took it seriously, if the trustees of our universities and the president of our universities, if the faculty of our
universities read those guidelines and said, let’s just act on what we know would be in the interests of
the students to prepare them, that’d be huge progress. I thank you for your interest. Based on the good work that
has been presented today, we might draw the impression that we have nothing to worry about but these is a very self, group of individuals who
works on those things. It does not reflect the
reality of the experiences, the daily experiences of
students and teachers in schools and I think we should
all take that to heart and do what is within our
reach to make progress. Thank you very much for your interest. (attendees applauding) – [Rosabeth] Thank you.

Danny Hutson

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