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Unconscious Bias in Schools

Wed, October 30th, 2019
4:15 pm
- 6:00 pm

Tracey Benson, Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte, will speak to the subject of his newly released book, Unconscious Bias in Schools: A Developmental Approach to Exploring Race and Racism.

According to Benson, regardless of the amount of effort, time, and resources educators put into improving the academic achievement of students of color, if unconscious racial bias is overlooked, improvement efforts may never achieve their highest potential. His newly released book, Unconscious Bias in Schools, provides educators with an essential roadmap for addressing these issues directly. The book draws on the literature on change management, leadership, critical race theory, and racial identity development, as well as the growing research on unconscious bias in a variety of fields, to provide guidance for creating the conditions necessary to do this work—awareness, trust, and a learner’s stance. It shows how raising awareness about unconscious bias can help shift conversations among educators to a more productive, collegial approach that has the potential to disrupt the patterns of perception that perpetuate racism and institutional injustice.

Benson received his Ed.D in Education Leadership from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and Masters of School Administration from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. He has served as a principal coach, high school principal, middle school vice-principal, district trainer, proficiency specialist, and elementary school teacher.  His research focuses on implementing operational systems of principal growth and development.  Benson built a contemporary approach to supporting principal growth and development for pre-service principals as well as sitting school leaders for the Houston Independent School District. He also prepares school leaders to use data as a means of tackling inequities and structural racism in K-12 education. To this end, he has published case studies specifically for the purpose of uncovering vestiges of structural racism in K-12 school systems.

Benson firmly believes that student achievement, teacher efficacy, and school success is contingent upon high quality, equity-focused school and district leaders. He has committed his career to leading for change, courageously addressing entrenched practices that impede lifetime outcomes of students of color, and coaching leaders towards implementing anti-racist policies and curriculum in K – 12 schools.

This event is sponsored by the W. Ford Schumann ’50 Program in Democratic Studies, the department of Africana Studies, the Program in Teaching, and the Office of Institutional Diversity and Equity. The event is part of  Schumann Fund initiative on Race and Democracy, now in its second year. Book signing to follow.

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