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Why Educators Need Equity Literacy More than We Need Cultural Competence

Paul Gorski, Ph.D.

Paul Gorski, Ph.D.

February 13


5:30 p.m. - Doors Open
5:40 p.m. - Welcome and Introductions
5:50-7:10 p.m. - Lecture and Q&A
7:10-8:30 p.m. - Wine and Cheese Reception

Conversations about diversity and education tend to revolve around vague notions of culture. We want teachers with cultural competence or cultural proficiency or cultural responsiveness or intercultural communication skills. In this talk I explain why the culture obsession should be troubling for educators committed to educational equity and argue for approaches to diversity that put equity rather than culture at the center of the conversation.

Paul C. Gorski is an associate professor of Integrative Studies in George Mason University's School of Integrative Studies, where he teaches classes such as Poverty, Wealth, and Inequality; Social Justice Education; Social Justice Consciousness and Personal Transformation; and Contemporary Issues in Social Justice and Human Rights. He recently led the design and development of the new Social Justice and Human Rights undergraduate and graduate programs. Paul is a Senior Research Fellow for the Center for the Advancement of Well-Being and is serving his third term on the board of the International Association for Intercultural Education. He has been an active consultant, presenter, and trainer for nearly twenty years, conducting workshops and providing guidance for schools and community organizations committed to equity and diversity. He created and continues to manage the Multicultural Pavilion, an award winning Web site focused on critical multicultural education. He has published more than 50 articles and eight books, focusing most recently on topics like poverty and educational opportunity, racial equity, and activist resiliency. He also has taught for the University of Virginia, the University of Maryland, Hamline University, and the Humane Society University. He lives in Virginia with his cat, Buster.

His areas of specialty include: equity literacy framework; white privilege and racial equity in schools and school districts; poverty and class equity in schools and community organizations; research-based, holistic strategies for addressing achievement (or opportunity) gaps; activist burnout and resiliency; and leadership development and the training of trainers for equity and diversity.