Dr. Anthony Perry
Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
The Lab School of Washington
It is not hyperbole to say that we live in a world that is systemically inequitable and exclusive. After all, this made my role as the Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion necessary. I believe that the purpose and role of education is to mold civic-minded individuals, that is, we must prepare our students to, in the words of Lani Guinier, “participate in the decisions that affect their lives as individuals and the society they create as a collective.”
In addition to preparing students for an everchanging and more multicultural world, we must prepare them to change that world to reflect the values they, themselves, hold dear. Guinier, in The Tyranny of the Meritocracy, pushes us, as educators, to reconsider the educational status quo—a status quo that centers individual competition above all else, a status quo that replicates inequities and does not adequately prepare students to be civic-minded individuals in a democratic society.
As the world is full of complex problems for us to solve, including, but not limited to, the role of technology, climate change, gender equity, and racial justice, I believe there are three essential skills that we must cultivate in a modern, meaningful student experience: 1. collaborative problem solving, 2. independent thinking, and 3. creative leadership. Additionally, and arguably more importantly, there is a lens through which said students must view and approach those skills: the lens of equity and inclusion.
In this talk, I hope to discuss the ways in which our educational system reproduces systemic racism as well as the need for and the ways in which we can collectively build systems and practices equitable and inclusive of race.