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Center for Urban Education Summer Educator Forum
June 22, 2022 @ 12:00 am – 12:00 pm
“We are in a revolutionary situation, no matter how unpopular that word has become in this country,” writes James Baldwin in his 1963 touchstone speech, “A Talk to Teachers.” He continues, “The society in which we live is desperately menaced… from within. To any citizen of this country who figures himself as responsible—and particularly those of you who deal with the minds and hearts of young people—must be prepared to ‘go for broke’… you must understand that in the attempt to correct so many generations of bad faith and cruelty, when it is operating not only in the classroom but in society, you will meet the most fantastic, the most brutal, and the most determined resistance. There is no point in pretending that this won’t happen.”
Baldwin’s words challenge us to critical intervention in our current moment. How do our daily conversations about “crises” in schools and schooling (e.g., teacher shortage, attacks on critical race theory, the digital divide) work to distract us from a larger focus on what Baldwin described as the “generations of bad faith and cruelty” that distinguish the entire system?
What would it mean to understand the everyday practices of schools and schooling as in and of crisis? How is a “return to normal” still a return to a state of crisis? How might our work shift if we acknowledge that we are not heading toward a crisis, but we have already been existing in one? How might we develop and use our imaginative and creative capacities, not to try to legitimize, tweak, reform, or repackage current structures, but instead to reimagine education as a practice of freedom?
In this year’s free virtual CUESEF, our theme invites our panelists to think with us beyond current “crises”—about teacher shortages, anti-critical race theory policies, and COVID impacts—and into the long-standing struggle for a liberating education, locally and globally. Sessions map possibilities for study and change through examinations of teacher education locally and globally, school leadership, policy contexts, homeschooling, school-prison nexus, food and environmental justice, and more. We hope you will join us.
Read James Baldwin’s “A Talk to Teachers”: A Talk to Teachers – Zinn Education Project (zinnedproject.org).
The Art of CUESEF 2022
Obsidian (2021) by Morgan Overton
“Obsidian is a black linocut print of a Black woman,” says Overton. “It is aesthetically simple, yet her features are proud and prominent.”
Overton is a visual artist, Pittsburgh native, and alumna of the University of Pittsburgh (A&S ’16, SOCWRK ’20). Her work aims to amplify the history, humanity, and future of Black culture. She works in all mediums to vibrantly reclaim narratives that history has attempted to command. Overton’s work is grounded in the Nina Simone quote, “It’s an artist’s duty to reflect the times.” She believes that art is a powerful platform to disrupt the status quo and honor the resilience of her People. Her work has been featured across Greater Pittsburgh — notably at the Carnegie Museum of Art, August Wilson Center, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, University of Pittsburgh, and Carnegie Mellon University — in addition to various social justice exhibits across the United States and St. Paul de Vence, France. Follow her work at www.mointhestudio.com.