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Redefining America’s Education Agenda:
68 Years after Brown Vs. Board of Education: Our Current Reality & Our Vision for the Future

During this next event in Push Excel’s Critical Thinking Series entitled ReDefining America’s Education Agenda, the distinguished panelists will engage in spirited conversation around how far we have come since the U.S. Supreme Court ruling which ruled segregation in America’s schools as unconstitutional.

As a direct result of serving as an active and contributing member of this conversation you can expect:

*To gain a thorough understanding of what the law was meant to accomplish from varying perspectives.

*A review of the potential intentional and unintentional consequences of the law.

*An understanding of varying views on how far we have come as a nation relevant to accomplishing the goals established via the U.S. Supreme Court ruling.

*To learn of the strategies being implemented in school districts nationwide to ensure equity in education.

*To gain information related to the types of policies being developed to ensure that all students gain equitable access to a quality education.

Come and serve as an active participant in this national discussion as Dr. Sonya Whitaker, National Education Policy Director for PUSH for Excellence moderates this Critical Thinking Series panel.

Virtual Panel Discussion
Tuesday, May 17, 2022
6:30 – 8:00 pm CST

Meet the Moderator, Speakers, & Panelists

Moderator: Dr. Sonya Whitaker

Dr. Sonya Whitaker, the National Education Policy Director for PUSH Excel, will be the moderator of our upcoming virtual town hall discussion. Dr. Whitaker is a national speaker and highly regarded educator who started as a classroom teacher and has since served as Superintendent of Schools in two different school districts in Illinois. She also has served as Deputy Superintendent of Schools and as a central office administrator for the largest elementary school district in the state.

Dr. Whitaker is the founder of Whitaker Educational Consulting, Inc., the author of Is There Anybody That Can Teach Me How to Read?, and the host of the national radio show and podcast: What’s Really Going On??, a spotlight on solutions for improving student achievement in America’s schools.

Speaker: Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr.

Rev. Jackson is one of America’s foremost civil rights, religious and political figures and the Founder and President of Rainbow PUSH Coalition, which focuses on civil rights work through economic parity, equal educational opportunities, and international social justice and peace.

Over the past 40 years, he has played a pivotal role in virtually every movement for empowerment, peace, civil rights, gender equality, and economic and social justice and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, by President Clinton. A hallmark of Rev. Jackson’s work has been his commitment to youth. He has visited thousands of high schools, colleges, universities and correctional facilities encouraging excellence and inspiring hope in  young people.

Dr. Joy Lawson Davis

Award-winning Author, Scholar, Professional Learning Trainer,
Independent Consultant, & Equity Activist

Dr. Davis is a career educator with over 40 years of experience as a practitioner, scholar, author and consultant. In addition to local district and university experiences, Davis served for five years as the Virginia State Specialist for K-12 Gifted services.  

A graduate of the College of William & Mary Dr. Davis holds both master’s and doctorate degrees in Gifted Education. Davis has conducted workshops, been a long-term program consultant, and served as a keynote speaker and distinguished guest lecturer across the nation, in South Africa, the Caribbean, Dubai UAE & Turkey. Diversity Education and Gifted Education are her areas of special expertise.

Dr. Davis has published numerous articles, technical reports and book chapters. She is the author of the award-winning book: Bright,Talented & Black: a Guide for families of African American gifted learners and  Gifted Children of Color Around the World: Diverse Needs, Exemplary Practices and Directions for the Future, co-edited with Dr. James L. Moore III. Davis is the Special Populations columnist for the NAGC publication: Teaching for High Potential and serves on the Gifted Child Today advisory board. Dr. Davis also served as an at-large member of the NAGC Board of Directors.

Ms. Lisa Sharon Harper

Founder and President of Freedom Road

Lisa Sharon Harper is the founder and president of Freedom Road, a groundbreaking consulting group that crafts experiences that bring common understanding and common commitments that lead to common action toward a more just world. Lisa is a public theologian whose writing, speaking, activism and training has sparked and fed the fires of re-formation in the church from Ferguson and Charlottesville to South Africa, Brazil, Australia and Ireland.

Lisa’s book, The Very Good Gospel was named 2016 “Book of the Year” and the Huffington Post identified Lisa as one of 50 Women Religious Leaders to Celebrate on International Women’s Day. Her much anticipated book, Fortune: How Race Broke My Family And The World–And How To Repair It All, is now available!

Mr. Micah Ali

President of the Compton Unified School District

Born and reared in Compton, California, Micah Ali brings a keen grasp of the complex issues facing urban schools to help champion students, working families and urban communities. Ali is the longest serving President in the history of the Compton Unified School District, where he helped lead a dramatic turnaround of the district’s educational outcomes as well as help pull it from the brink of state takeover. The District today boasts exponentially increased graduation and college acceptance rates, and a middle college high school, in partnership with Compton Community College, that ranks 53rd among U.S. News and World Report’s top performing public high schools in the state of California. 

Ali’s long record of public service and community engagement includes serving as the Chair of the Council of Urban Boards of Education in 2017. During his tenure, he played a pivotal role in expanding CUBE’s engagement of urban school districts as well as authored NSBA’s equity platform. Also while serving as CUBE Chair, he authored several articles on equity in education, covering issues such as fostering welcoming environments for LGBTQA+ student community, special education, and early education. Throughout his years of service, Ali has been at the forefront of efforts to advance education equity for all students, leading legislative efforts in California to broaden access to Early Care and Education for low-income children, establishing school-based health centers, and expanding opportunities for academic excellence in public schools.

Ali is also Founder and Conference Chairman of the California Association of Black School Educators (CABSE), which brings together education leaders and advocates advancing innovation and best practices around closing the opportunity gap for Black students. Under his leadership, CABSE released a Blueprint for Education Equity—a living document of best and promising practices from across the state to address the opportunity gap for Black students. The Blueprint and CABSE have received support from a host of sponsors and funders, including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. 

Ali is a member of and has served as a director for many national, regional and local organizations: National Association of Latino Elected Officials,  National School Boards Association, California School Boards Association, Council of Urban Boards of Education, the Racial and Identity Profiling Advisory Board,  and Chair-Elect of the National Black Council of School Board Members, to name a few. He is a proud graduate of Loyola Marymount University, where he earned a Master of Arts in Education. 

About Redefining America’s Education Agenda Series

We need an education agenda that makes equity a priority for schools and organizations serving our country’s most vulnerable children and their families. The ultimate goal of this series of events is to bring policy makers and members of the education community together to discuss shaping our educational agenda and pushing it to the front of public policy at local, state, and federal levels.