September 21, 2018

The IPS Racial Equity Office and the Racial Equity Team invite faculty members from education departments at Indianapolis colleges and universities, and IPS parents and community partners to participate in a groundbreaking community conversation.

“Becoming a Threat to Inequity in Classrooms and Schools: The Equity Literacy Approach” is centered around the theme of equity in urban schools.

Keynote speaker Paul Gorski, Ph.D., will discuss the role educators and members of the community play in creating a level playing field for students of all races in educational settings — from Pre-K through college.

Paul Gorski

Gorski is the founder of the Equity Literacy Institute and EdChange. He has 20 years of experience helping educators strengthen their equity efforts in classrooms, schools and districts. Gorksi has worked with educators in 48 states and a dozen countries, published more than 70 articles and has written, co-written or co-edited 12 books on various aspects of educational equity.

The community conversation will be from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Oct. 8 inside the Central Library, 40 E. St. Clair St. Registration is required.

For Pat Payne, director of the IPS Racial Equity Office, this is a conversation that can no longer be ignored.

“There’s a difference between equity and equality,” said Payne. “Equity involves starting at the same spot as others, getting rid of low expectations, using tools to get rid of negative assumptions. (The goal) is to increase knowledge, shift thinking and elevate understanding.”

A longtime IPS educator who left the classroom in the 1990s to start the district’s Multicultural Office (which was renamed in 2015 to focus on racial equity), Payne hosts workshops and training sessions that focus on classroom equity for district employees, including teachers.

The Racial Equity Office also runs the district’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. Tribute in January and its Multicultural Festival in May.

“Racial equity is so important to teach. We concentrate on racism because it’s racism that holds all of the other isms firmly in place and you have to be able to see how that happens and start asking questions,” said Payne.

The community conversation is designed to start to shift thinking in everyone, not just a certain group of people.

“We’re not just talking white teachers. Racial Equity is needed by everyone,” added Payne. “If we don’t solve this equity problem, those at the bottom will stay at the bottom. The negative mindsets will continue.”

The community conversation is free, but reservations are required through Eventbrite. The deadline to register is Sept. 30, 2018. Seating capacity is 300.

To register, click here. For questions or more information, contact the IPS Racial Equity Office at 317.226.2431.