For over sixty years, the pages of the Harvard Educational Review
have provided a forum for authors to discuss, debate, and share their ideas about important educational issues. On December 12, 1996, six distinguished scholars gathered in a live forum at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, entitled "Ethnicity and Education: What Difference Does Difference Make?" The participants responded to questions about issues of ethnicity and their connection to education. They approached the topic from several disciplines - ranging from sociology, psychology, and ethnic studies to elementary education - which provoked a multifaceted discussion that reflected their particular strengths and areas of knowledge. This edited transcript of their discussion highlights the current debates about ethnicity, race, culture, and identity. The speakers address the following questions: What is ethnicity? Who decides? How is ethnicity connected to education? What does it mean that racial minorities are sometimes referred to as "ethnics"? At a time when the student body in the United States is becoming more culturally, racially, and ethnically diverse, and the faculties of our schools remain mostly White, this debate is both timely and crucial.
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The panelists were (in order of appearance):
Enrique (Henry) Trueba (Moderator)
Visiting Professor, Harvard Graduate School of Education, Cambridge, MA
Professor of Ethnic Studies, University of California at Berkeley
Victoria I. Muñoz
Assistant Professor of Psychology, Wells College, Aurora, NY
Professor of Education, University of Massachusetts at Amherst
Margaret L. Andersen
Professor of Sociology and Women's Studies and Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, University of Delaware, Newark
Professor of Latin American Literature, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA