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CSU Leads Critical Conversations to Address Racial Inequities in OH Schools

CSU Leads Critical Conversations to Address Racial Inequities in Ohio Schools

Statewide, collaborative discussion is effort to identify and mitigate systemic racism in Ohio’s K-12 educational institutions

CLEVELAND (April 27, 2021) – Cleveland State University’s College of Education and Human Services statewide panel initiative Critical Conversations: Interrogating Teaching and Learning in Pursuit of Equity and Social Justice, will be held virtually on Wednesday, May 5 from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. 

Tachelle I. Banks, Ph.D., CSU’s Associate Vice Provost for Academic Innovation & Initiatives and Associate Dean for Faculty & External Affairs, developed, organized and will moderate Critical Conversations, the first in a series of panel discussions to address systemic racism in urban school districts, promote equity in education and find ways to break down barriers for students of color.

“In light of current social movements rising from persistent, racial injustices occurring in Ohio and across the country, I felt it was vital to create a platform where concerned professionals, staff and citizens can work together to address and provide solutions to end systemic racism that adversely impacts students in urban school districts, and CSU, an urban, public institution of higher learning, is the perfect place to begin,” Dr. Banks stated.

Dr. Banks, along with Renee Mary Overton, M.Ed., coordinator, PH LLC Programs, and Claire L. Grantier, M.Ed., director, Center for Educational Technology, contacted several Ohio school superintendents to gauge their interest in participating in a forum to address issues that impact urban districts in which economic, social and health disparities remain greatest. 

Opening remarks provided by CSU President Harlan Sands and Ohio educational leaders

CSU President Harlan Sands will join Randy Gardner, Chancellor, Ohio Department of Higher Education and Paolo DeMaria, Ohio Superintendent of Public Instruction, to provide opening remarks on educational equity and partnership, from the viewpoint of their respective positions.  

Panelists currently confirmed

Dr. Talisa Dixon, Superintendent and CEO, Columbus City Schools
Dr. Justin Jennings, CEO, Youngstown City School District

Donald J. Jolly II, Superintendent, Warrensville Heights City School District
Dr. Henry Pettiegrew II, CEO and Superintendent, East Cleveland City School District

Dr. Renee Willis, Superintendent, Richmond Heights City School District
Dr. Tachelle I. Banks, Organizer and Moderator

“The goals are to move beyond discussion to effect real change in urban school districts, statewide. For real change in equity in education, breaking down educational barriers, and ending systemic racism in education need to happen,” said Dr. Banks.

Focusing on data, identifying learning barriers and creating lasting change

Dr. Banks explained that the initiatives will focus on urban districts and be based on data to “inform and result in identifying actions that mitigate teaching and learning barriers for mainly Black and brown students and our colleagues.

“Our focus is to mitigate systemic racism within our classrooms, programs, departments and the larger college with the intent to impact practice and policies that serve to sustain bias in our daily work,” she added.

Dr. Banks envisions the first steps of the Critical Conversations panel as a foundation that will build and expand, with “the goal of creating an effective, progressive platform upon which healing, transformation, and real and lasting change, can occur.”

Follow-up and next steps will be determined following the initiative and attendees will be notified.

To register for Critical Conversations, please click here. Once you are registered, a zoom link will be emailed to you.