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Vital Issue Sessions

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Friday, Nov. 13, 3:20PM

New Orleans Schools--10 Years of Charters: An Assessment

New Orleans has been the crucible for the biggest education reform ideas of the past decade. More than 90% of students attending public schools in Orleans Parish now attend public charter schools--the highest percentage in the nation. A distinguished panel of local officials, researchers, and community leaders assess the effectiveness of the charter school movement on New Orleans schoolchildren and educational standards.

Beverly Wright
, Deep South Center for Environmental Justice and Dillard University


  • Kristen Lynn Buras, Georgia State University and author of Charter Schools, Race, and Urban Space: Where the Market Meets Grassroots Resistance
  • Barbara Ferguson, Research on Reforms, Inc.
  • Katrena Jackson Ndang, United Teachers of New Orleans
  • Kathleen Padian, The Ten Square Group
  • Raynard Sanders, host of The New Orleans Imperative on WBOK 1230
  • Caroline Roemer Shirley, Louisiana Association of Public Charter Schools


Friday, Nov. 13, 12:45PM

Legacy Voices of Civil Rights Heroes

Karen Korematsu, Anthony Chávez, Kenneth B. Morris

How do descendants of human and civil rights heroes continue the work of their famous ancestors? Hear from the daughter of Fred Korematsu, the grandson of Cesar Chávez, and the descendant of both Frederick Douglass and Booker T. Washington. They will share personal anecdotes about their famous relatives and talk about how their work reflects the legacies of these great Americans. They will also tell you how you can get involved in their initiatives.

Friday, Nov. 13, 10:05AM

Selma: The Bridge to the Ballot

The latest Teaching Tolerance documentary tells the story of the historic struggle for voting rights through the voices of the Alabama high school students and teachers who were the backbone of the Selma movement. They confronted a violent sheriff and a defiant governor determined to protect white supremacy at any cost. By organizing and marching bravely in the face of intimidation, violence, arrest and even murder, these activists achieved one of the most significant victories of the civil rights era — passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The film recounts the historic struggle for voting rights, whike the film kit encourages students to look at contemporary voting issues and consider what’s worth marching for today. Following the screening, a panel of educators, civil rights activists and voting experts will discuss the documentary, its use as a classroom resource, and the current issues around voting and civil rights.


  • Maureen Costello, Teaching Tolerance Director, facilitator
  • Eden Heilman, civil rights attorney, Southern Poverty Law Center
  • Thomas Lopez, Brennan Center for Justice
  • Joan Trumpauer Mulholland, civil rights veteran

Friday, Nov. 13, 9:00AM

A Citizenship Test for Graduation?

Legislators in several states have drafted bills to make passage of the naturalization test, the test given to immigrants who want to become U.S. citizens, a graduation requirement. Arizona and North Dakota have already made it law. The country needs better informed citizens, true. But is this the right approach to civic education? Civic education researchers will give pros and cons, and then the audience will join the debate.

Diana Hess, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI; Walter Parker, University of Washington, Seattle, WA

Saturday, Nov. 14, 11:15AM

The C3 Framework and Collaborative Inquiry: An Innovative Approach to Meeting the Standards

The C3 Literacy Collaborative project seeks to put the NCSS C3 Framework into practice while simultaneously aligning curriculum and assessments with new state literacy standards such as the Common Core State Standards. This panel will highlight the experiences of educators using collaborative inquiry to identify needed shifts in their instructional practice to meet both content and literacy standards. The panelists will also share their experiences to help guide teachers interested in leading collaborative models at their schools.

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