May 1, 2014 9:41 pm

NPE response to questions about diversity

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A recent article in The Nation critiqued the “unbearable whiteness of the left.” In that article, the author took issue with a grassroots panel at the 2014 NPE conference that was led by four White individuals. Having a grassroots panel that did not include people of color leading the discussion was a mistake. However, we do not want to minimize the participation of the many panelists of color who led discussions during the NPE conference – 34 panelists of color, out of about a hundred total.

We do not raise this as a defense in relation to the oversight on that particular panel, but to highlight and underscore that our priority is to partner with diverse stakeholders across the nation. The work we share, challenging the misguided “reforms” we see damaging our children and communities, calls for us all to work to overcome overt and covert discrimination. We continually seek to strengthen our connections with one another, and ensure that the voices of all are included and heard. The Network for Public Education is just over a year old. We were honored to host stakeholders from the across the nation in Austin this year and look forward to standing together with friends and allies in coming years as we build alliances across the nation to support the best education possible for all of our children.

Diane Ravitch, Julian Vasquez-Heilig, Robin Hiller, Anthony Cody, Mark B. Miller, Leonie Haimson, Phyllis Bush, Colleen Doherty-Woods, Bertis Downs (Network for Public Education Board of Directors)