The achievement gap between minority and white students may not be closed through frank discussions, but it likely won’t be closed without it.
A community forum today about education and race is an attempt to spark those honest talks.
The second Changing Minds, Changing Lives forum will begin at 7 p.m. today in the University of Toledo’s Nitschke Auditorium. The event is sponsored by the Toledo Community Coalition and The Blade, part of a series of forums meant to combat racism.
The keynote speaker will be David J. Johns, the executive director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African-Americans. The initiative focuses on improving access to high-quality education for African-American students in an attempt to reduce the achievement gap with white students.
Doors open at 6 p.m. Attendees do not need to reserve tickets to attend. Mayor D. Michael Collins will introduce Mr. Johns, and Tracee Ellis, chairman of the Toledo Community Coalition’s education task force, will be emcee.
After Mr. Johns speaks, there will be a question-and-answer session with a panel of seven. Members include Dr. Lloyd Jacobs, University of Toledo president; Toledo Public Schools Superintendent Romules Durant; Jonathan Locust, Ashland University’s director of institutional diversity; Dale Snauwaert, a professor of educational theory and social foundations of education at UT; Hope Bland, a TPS social worker; Susan Brown, chairman of the Bowling Green State University sociology department, and UT student Christopher Scott.
The first Changing Minds, Changing Lives forum was in September at Woodward High School and featured Tim Wise, who has studied white privilege and institutional racism. A forum set tentatively for March will look at generational poverty.