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Upcoming Deliberative Citizenship Forum on “Parents and Schools: Who Should Teach our Kids about Race, Gender, and Sexuality?”

by | Sep 26, 2022

If you are interested in learning about a hot-button issue in the coming midterm elections and want to share your thoughts and hear perspectives from others about who should teach kids about contentious social issues like race, gender, and sexuality, then you might be interested in an upcoming event hosted by Davidson College’s Deliberative Citizenship Initiative, Educational Studies Department, and Political Science Department.

The event is a Deliberative Forum on “Parents and Schools: Who Should Teach our Kids about Race, Gender, and Sexuality?” Both in-person and online attendance options are available, but space is limited. The event will be held on Thursday, September 29 from 7 pm to 9 pm, and you may register to attend on EventBrite here.

Tensions surrounding responsibilities for teaching children about race, gender, and sexuality have become a prominent source of political debate. Some argue that it is the job of educators and schools to support students’ various identities, regardless of whether their parents are uncomfortable or anxious about such information. Others argue that parents ought to have control over what their children learn regarding complicated racial, sexuality, and gender matters.

This Deliberative Forum will enable participants to explore this important issue, first by hearing from a panel of experts on this issue, and then by actively deliberating with one another in facilitated small group discussions on how best to understand and engage with the tensions surrounding parents, schools, and childhood education about contentious social issues. This is a fantastic opportunity to learn from experts, listen to the perspectives of others, and share your own ideas about the roles of parents and schools in educating children about contentious social issues.

The panelists include Derek Black, Professor of Law and the Ernest F. Hollings Chair in Constitutional Law at the University of South Carolina’s School of Law. Professor Black’s work focuses on school funding and equality for disadvantaged students, and his books Education Law: Equality, Fairness and Reform and Schoolhouse Burning: Public Education and the Assault on American Democracy and articles on “The Fundamental Right to Education” and “Charter Schools, Vouchers, and the Public Good” are particularly relevant to the forum’s topic. Professor Black began his career litigating education cases at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and teaching at Howard University School of Law, where he founded the Education Rights Center. He received his JD from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and his BA in African American Studies, Philosophy, and Political Science from the University of Tennessee.

The panelists also include Melissa Moschella, an Associate Professor in the School of Philosophy at the Catholic University of America. Professor Moschella has written extensively on the rights of parents in education, including her dissertation on “Parental Rights in Education,” her 2016 Cambridge University Press book on To Whom Do Children Belong? Parental Rights, Civic Education, and Children’s Autonomy, and a recent paper in the Notre Dame Journal of Law, Ethics, and Public Policy on “Defending the Fundamental Rights of Parents: A Response to Recent Attacks.” Professor Moschella is also a McDonald Distinguished Fellow at the Emory University Center for the Study of Law and Religion, and has served as a Myser Fellow at the Notre Dame Center for Ethics and Culture. She received her PhD in political philosophy from Princeton University and her bachelor’s degree in Social Studies from Harvard University.

Daniel Layman, Associate Professor of Philosophy at Davidson College and a Co-Convener of the Deliberative Citizenship Initiative, will moderate the panel discussion.

The event is free but registration is required. All registrants should plan to attend both the panel and the small group discussions, which are designed to complement each other. Spaces are limited due to the number of trained DCI facilitators available to moderate the small group discussions.

Please register here: EventBrite Registration Link:


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