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Structural Racism and the Root Causes of Prejudice Series


The 2015 Bahá'í Chair for World Peace Spring Symposium 
Co-sponsored by the Sociology Department’s Critical Race Initiative

Speaker #1

Professor Pedro Noguera, New York UniversityRacial Inequality and American Education: Policies, Practices and Politics

Pedro A. Noguera, Ph.D., Peter L. Agnew Professor of Education, New York University

Abstract: Several commentators have described the effort to close the racial achievement gap in education as the civil rights issue of the 21st century.  However, most of those who have made this pronouncement (Education Secretary Arne Duncan and President Barack Obama to name only two) have never spelled out exactly what this actually means or what it should entail.  At a time when all forms of inequality in American society are increasing is it reasonable to expect that schools can play a role in creating a more equitable society?  Have the education policies our nation has pursued (No Child Left Behind and now Race for the Top) helped or hindered the effort to use education as a means to promote social equality?  These questions and others will be explored in a probing analysis of the role and potential of education in reducing racial inequality in American society.  

About the Speaker: Pedro Noguera is the Peter L. Agnew Professor of Education at New York University. He holds tenured faculty appointments in the departments of Teaching and Learning and Humanities and Social Sciences at the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Development at NYU.  He is also the Executive Director of the Metropolitan Center for Research on Equity and the Transformation of Schools. Dr. Noguera is the author of eight books and over 150 articles and monographs.  His most recent books are “School for Resilience: Improving the Life Trajectory of African American and Latino Boys”, “Creating the Opportunity to Learn” with A. Wade Boykin (ASCD, 2011) and “Invisible No More: Understanding and Responding to the Disenfranchisement of Latino Males” with A. Hurtado and E. Fergus (Routledge, 2011).  Dr. Noguera appears as a regular commentator on educational issues on CNN, MSNBC, National Public Radio, and other national news outlets.  From 2009 - 2012 he served as a Trustee for the State University of New York (SUNY) as an appointee of the Governor. He serves on the boards of numerous national and local organizations including the Economic Policy Institute, the Young Women’s Leadership Institute, The After School Corporation and The Nation Magazine.  In 2013 he was appointed to the Kappa Delta Pi Honor Society and in 2014 he was appointed to the National Academy of Education.  Noguera recently received awards from the Center for the Advanced Study of the Behavioral Sciences/Sage for outstanding achievement in advancing the understanding of the behavioral and social sciences as they are applied to pressing social issues, the National Association of Secondary Principals for distinguished service to the field of education, and from the McSilver Institute at NYU for his research and advocacy efforts aimed at fighting poverty. 



Speaker #2

Why did Convergence of the Achievement Gap Stop? Residency, Race & Inequality

Odis Johnson, Jr., Ph.D., Associate Chair, Department of Education & Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, Washington University in St. Louis

Abstract: The achievement gap converged at an unprecedented rate after 1970 prompting many to forecast the end of educational inequality in a few decades. This convergence came to a halt in the 1990s and test-score inequality has become an intractable reality, even as No Child Left Behind aimed to eliminate it by 2014. Research has explained neither why convergence stopped, nor why it happened in the first place. Why test-score convergence occurred as levels of concentrated poverty doubled in urban African American neighborhoods is an additional puzzle. The Metropolitan Inequality and Schools Study (MISS) explores the factors related to these events and suggests that the achievement gap converged due to African American's increased residential opportunities, and that the fortification of good schools by concentrated residential affluence has stopped their ability to access them, and consequently the convergence of the achievement gap.

About the Speaker: Odis Johnson, Jr. is the Associate Chair of the Department of Education and Associate Professor of the Department of Sociology at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri.  He is the recipient of the 2013 Outstanding Review of Research Award from the American Educational Research Association, the leading professional association of education research. With funding from the National Academies Ford Foundation Fellowship Program, National Science Foundation, American Educational Research Association, and the Spencer Foundation, Dr. Johnson has explored neighborhood influences on racial differences in children’s achievement, and linkages between neighborhood role modeling opportunities and adolescents’ masculine dispositions toward education. He has published widely within peer-reviewed journals, and serves on the editorial boards of the Review of Educational Research and the Urban Review. Dr. Johnson frequently advises private and governmental agencies in the evaluation of social programs, collection and analysis of data, and budget allocations.



Thursday, February 5, 2015 - 2:00pm

Art-Sociology Building (Building #146), Room #2203, University of Maryland College Park, MD  20742.  

Please park in the Mowatt Lane Garage (top level).
View the  directions  to the University of Maryland 
Map to Art-Sociology Building












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