School Diversity: Building A Movement


Session Sponsor: The National Coalition on School Diversity (NCSD)
Session Presenters: Gina Chirichigno, Dr. John Mackiel, Donna Nevel, Yasmin Secada, Genevieve Siegel-Hawley, and Brenda Shum
SOS People’s Education Conference Session

Summary of Topic, Purpose, and Expected Outcomes:
Members of the NCSD will provide an overview of their advocacy efforts, discuss the research that demonstrates a need for increased racial and socioeconomic integration in American schools, provide examples of state and local efforts to promote diversity, and share their perspectives on how conference participants can help support the movement to create quality, integrated schools. Attendees will learn about on-the-ground efforts to integrate from educators and leaders in Omaha, NE and New York, NY.

Representatives of The National Coalition on School Diversity
School Diversity 101: Building a Movement for Socioeconomic Integration

The National Coalition on School Diversity (NCSD)

The National Coalition on School Diversity (NCSD) is pressing for a more significant commitment to racial and economic integration in U.S. Department of Education programs – in magnet schools, charter schools, through inter-district transfers under No Child Left Behind, and in the new education funds Race to the Top and the Investing in Innovation Fund.

Participating organizations and individuals include (but are not limited to): the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, American Civil Liberties Union, Poverty & Race Research Action Council, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice at Harvard Law School, Civil Rights Project/Proyecto Derechos Civiles at UCLA, University of North Carolina Center for Civil Rights, Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity at the Ohio State University, Chief Justice Earl Warren Institute on Race, Ethnicity and Diversity at UC Berkeley School of Law, Institute on Race and Poverty at the University of Minnesota, New York Appleseed, Sheff Movement Coalition, One Nation Indivisible, Professor Derek Black of Howard University School of Law, Professor Kevin Welner at the University of Colorado, Professor John C. Brittain at the University of the District of Columbia School of Law, and others.

Gina Chirichigno

Gina Chirichigno – One Nation Indivisible

Gina Chirichigno a native of Denver, Colorado, graduated from Hampshire College in Amherst, MA and Howard University School of Law in Washington, DC. Her work is informed by a wide range of experiences in education, organizing, and civil rights advocacy. She worked as a boarding instructor at the SEED Public Charter School of Washington, DC (2002-2003); handled employment discrimination claims as an intern for the Office of Human Rights in Alexandria, VA (2004-2006); and worked to develop Jonathan Kozol’s Education Action network (2007-2008).

Since 2008, Gina’s work has been almost exclusively centered around school integration policy advocacy and organizing. To this end, she’s worked with a number of civil rights organizations on projects related to integration and racial justice, including the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice at Harvard Law School (2008-2010), the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity at The Ohio State University (2010-2011), and the Poverty and Race Research Action Council (2011-present). Currently, Gina is the outreach coordinator for the National Coalition on School Diversity and co-directs the One Nation Indivisible project with Susan Eaton. In her home state of Massachusetts, she is a member of the Racial Imbalance Advisory Council and supports the work of TAG Boston (a network of educators in the Boston metropolitan area who are committed to social justice and racial equity) and the Boston Busing/Desegregation Project.

Dr. John Mackiel

Dr. John Mackiel – Omaha Public Schools Superintendent

John Mackiel is the Superintendent of Schools in Omaha, Nebraska. The School District of Omaha covers more than 134 square miles, is Nebraska’s largest school district and the nation’s 99th largest. It is comprised of 50,300 students in 62 elementary schools, 11 middle schools, 7 high schools and 11 alternative schools/programs. The student population is 36 percent Caucasian, 30 percent African American, 30 percent Hispanic, 2 percent Native American and 2 percent Asian American.

Dr. John Mackiel is a graduate of the Antioch School of Law. He also received a degree in Community and Human Resources from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, a degree in Educational Administration from the University of Nebraska at Omaha, as well as another in Guidance and Counseling. Early on Mackiel studied Education and English.

Donna Nevel

Donna Nevel – Participatory Action Research Center for Education Organizing (PARCEO>

Donna Nevel, a community psychologist and educator, coordinates the Participatory Action Research Center for Education Organizing (PARCEO) in partnership with the Educational Leadership Program at NYU/Steinhardt, where she teaches PAR. She is a long time activist for equity and justice in public education, for justice in Palestine/Israel, and against Islamophobia and anti-Arab racism.

Yasmin Secada

Yasmin Secada – Parent Leadership Project

Yasmin Secada is an organizer with the Participatory Action Research Center for Education Organizing (PARCEO) and the Parent Leadership Project in NYC. A recent graduate of a master’s program in Educational Leadership, Politics, and Advocacy at NYU/Steinhardt, she is a former student advocate and youth counselor and has worked with community groups focusing on youth development, advocacy, and academic support.

Genevieve Siegel-Hawley

Genevieve Siegel-Hawley – Assistant Professor, Virginia Commonwealth University’s School of Education

Genevieve Siegel-Hawley is an assistant professor in the Department of Education Leadership at Virginia Commonwealth University’s School of Education. Her research focuses on examining the impact of segregation and resegregation in American schools, along with exploring policy options for a more integrated society.

Brenda Shum

Brenda Shum – Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law

Brenda Shum is Senior Counsel, Educational Opportunities Project at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law where she oversees litigation designed to guarantee that all students receive a quality education in public schools and institutions of higher learning, and to eliminate discriminatory practices in school discipline, school funding and special education.

In the wake of the 2007 Parents Involved decision, the Educational Opportunities Project has also taken a leading role in developing strategic ways to implement constitutionally permissible school assignment plans which value diversity in K-12 schools. Brenda works closely with other civil rights advocates to challenge legislators and the Administration to ensure that national education policy reflects a genuine commitment to the success of poor and minority students. Brenda oversees the Parental Readiness and Empowerment Program (PREP), which promotes parental involvement in education as a means to narrow the achievement gap between low-income, minority students and their more affluent, non-minority peers.

She graduated with honors from Lewis and Clark College and received her JD from the University of Washington School of Law. Before joining the Lawyers’ Committee, Brenda was a Lecturer and Clinical Instructor at the Youth and Educational Law Project at Stanford Law School, which works with disadvantaged youth and their communities to ensure access to equal and excellent educational opportunities. She supervised law students on special education and school discipline cases, as well as a myriad of policy research and advocacy efforts related to school funding, equal access to educational resources, access to mental health services and commercialism in the schools. Prior to teaching at Stanford, Brenda was a project director at the American Bar Association Center on Children and the Law where she provided training and technical assistance to judges, lawyers and social workers on child welfare issues. She worked to introduce best practices to juvenile court systems to reduce the amount of time that children spend in foster care.