Transformative Voices: New Webinar to Address Racism and Equity in Schools

ELP alumni and student share expertise as school and district leaders, advocates for justice in education.

Linda Rose, Ph.D., director of the UCLA Women’s School Leadership Academy (WSLA), notes that life with the twin pandemics of coronavirus and racism can shed light on these issues, especially in the context of schools. With a new webinar series titled, “Transformative Voices: Educators for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion,” presented by WSLA and the UCLA School of Education & Information Studies, she hopes to begin a frank discussion about race, anti-racism, equity and access.

Linda Rose, Ph.D., is the founding director of the UCLA Women’s School Leadership Academy. Photo by Todd Cheney, UCLA

“Besides being a truly challenging, sad, and horrible time, it’s also a time of opportunity,” says Rose, former co-director of UCLA’s Educational Leadership Program (ELP). “I think what the pandemics have done is to make everybody more aware of how learning occurs and racism and to create opportunities for change. That’s the reason for these webinars. Transformative Voices – changing what we think and what we need to do.”

The first webinar will take place via Zoom on Tuesday, July 21 at 5 p.m., PST. Annamarie Francois (‘99, Ed.D.), executive director of UCLA’s Center X, will moderate a panel of education thought leaders and activists – who are ELP alumni and students – on the urgency of effectively addressing issues of race and equity in today’s schools in the wake of the killing of George Floyd, the long history of police brutality, and the eventuality of another K-12 school year spent in virtual teaching and learning.

Panelists include Caprice Young (‘08, Ed.D.), national superintendent of the Learn4Life Network, and former president of the LAUSD Board of Education and California Charter School Association; Anthony Jackson (3rd year Ed.D. student), director of LAUSD Community Schools Transformation, Local District West and founder and former co-director, Culture and Language Academy of Success; and Ken Magdaleno, (‘04, Ed.D.) founding executive director, Center for Equity Leadership and Research (CLEAR). 

Rose says that while schools have been focused on access for years, “… just having access doesn’t give you equity. It doesn’t give you a voice at the table.” She says that history and fear are two of the greatest barriers to equity in schools.

Rose says that she hopes that “Transformative Voices” provides a way to stop hiding from the ingrained racism in society and in schools.

“One thing that I hope will come out of this is that people will be more aware of how they talk about racism and anti-racism,” she says. “Way back when they were trying to integrate schools, it meant a lot of people left the public schools. Their kids didn’t send their [own] kids to public schools either. Current events will not let us hide anymore.”

A second “Transformative Voices” webinar, also moderated by Francois, is scheduled for Tuesday, August 4, at 5 p.m., PST. Panelists include Ryan Smith, chief external officer, Partnership for Los Angeles Schools, former Executive Director of the Education Trust-West and Vice President of Strategic Advocacy for the Education Trust; Brooke Rios (’19, Ed.D.), executive director, New Los Angeles Charter Schools; Manuel Rustin (’17, Ed.D.), history and economics teachers at John Muir High School and chair of the History-Social Science Subject Matter Committee of the California Department of Education’s Instructional Quality Commission; and Peter Flores III, director of student services, Santa Maria Joint Union High School District and director, Equity Division, CLEAR.

To attend the first session of “Transformational Voices” on Tuesday, July 21, register with Zoom.

Above: UCLA Community School. Photo by Christine Young