Equity in Classrooms: Woodard Speaks at Wayne State

Each year Wayne State University holds an Equity Within the Classroom forum hosted collaboratively by the state of Michigan’s Martin Luther King Jr.*César Chávez*Rosa Parks (KCP) Initiative and Michigan’s colleges and universities, with the purpose of giving educators and administrators a place to discuss critical issues facing education.

The KCP Initiative, created in 1986, aims to provide “Michigan’s most educationally disadvantaged citizens” with “the opportunity to complete college degrees and experience career success as active participants in a knowledge-based global society and economy.”

This year’s forum, held April 7–9, included a higher education board panel discussion to address diversity in education and how to prepare national students for global success.

AFSA President and Michigan State University Board of Trustees Member Diann Woodard took part as a panelist speaking to the critical role of principals in developing school diversity.

“Principals provide students with their first contact with colleges and universities,” said Woodard. “They are the providers of the rigor in the curriculum that helps to propel students to success. To that end, we must be mindful of the diversity within our schools to ensure that all children have an equal chance at achieving their potential.”

“We need to develop leadership to examine existing education policies and work with institutions to cultivate an environment of successful learning and human development,” said Janice Green, assistant dean of academic services in the college of education at Wayne State University and one of the forum’s key organizers.

The forum also featured keynote speakers from Wayne State University, the University of Maryland and the University of Texas, and provided attendees ranging from community leaders to students with 38 workshop opportunities. With the overall theme focused on “building empowerment and excellence in education,” speakers encouraged attendees to describe their personal strategies for promoting social justice and equality in their communities.

“I think for most attendees, the biggest takeaways were building networks and working collaboratively to create programs that will result in student achievement,” Green said. “Also, the need to support initiatives that empower minorities and remove disparities in education. “