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IPS hosts national Infusion Conference

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The 20th Annual Conference on Infusion of History and Culture in the school curriculum will take place Thursday, Oct. 18, 2007 at Crispus Attucks Medical Magnet High School, 1140 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. St.

The Indianapolis Public Schools Office of Multicultural Education is elated about the timely topics to be discussed at this year’s convention.

“The conference is designed with the village concept in mind and is relevant for educators, parents, community residents, university personnel, policymakers, labor unions, business representatives, churches, and government officials,” said Pat Payne, conference director and director of the IPS Office of Multicultural Education.

This year’s event is themed “Continuing the Legacy: Educating, Empowering, Embracing All Students.” Despite one’s color, creed or race, education is a form of communication and knowledge that experts say can be used to break all barriers and to address many social issues.

“In order to understand and address the problems of educational neglect and social injustice, we must stop playing the blame game and come together to discuss the challenges, confront the pitfalls, and develop strategies that respond to the unique needs of a diverse population of students and families,” emphasizes Payne.

“Continuing the Legacy” is open to anyone interested in acknowledging the need for a broader educational base and other avenues of transformation in the school systems for the children’s sake.

Several prominent scholars will take part in the conference. Featured speaker Dr. Lisa Delpit, executive director of the Center for Urban Education and author of Other People’s and The Skin We Speak, is known for her abilities to teach in an array of culturally diverse settings and will address issues surrounding the educational system.

“To bring in prominent speakers is the life-blood of this event, we want the best of the best in the filed to facilitate, educate and inform,” said Robert Chester, assistant curator of the Crispus Attucks Museum.

Payne also agrees with Chester as she emphasizes the importance of bringing in practitioners of substance to show the community the seriousness of the issues.

“I have been trying to get Dr. Delpit to this conference for over five years to show the quality of the people that we bring in. She deals with how far too often educators have low expectations of students of color and students in poverty,” said Payne. “They think that poverty and stupidity are one in the same.”

Brandon Cosby, Senior Fellow for High School Transformation at the Center of Excellence in Leadership and others will also lead discussions, demonstrations and workshops.

As an event that started with 75 people it has now grown to more than 700 people attracting parents, practitioners and large numbers of students. IUPUI along with other universities will be sending students and staff to this year’s conference.

“We want people to see this achievement gap that they are talking about is not going to go away as long as we have people working with our children who have low expectations,” said Payne. “They don’t know of the genius that is inside of our children.”

For more information on the 20th Annual Conference on Infusion of History and Culture call (317) 226-2430. Registration deadline is Oct.15.

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