Sep 1 2021

Equity, Polarization and Critical Race Theory: What the Debate Means for Teaching and Learning

Grantmakers for Education

Video available to members upon request. Please contact for access.

A debate about how and what to teach is taking place across the country at the legislative, community, district and school level. While some look to reassess school curriculum through a lens that promotes active inquiry into systems that perpetuate racism, others seek to limit what can be taught. Join our learning series for a deep dive into important aspects of this strident debate.

Session 1: What the Debate Means for Teaching and Learning

As educators head back to classrooms, many are being confronted with new laws on what they can and can’t teach. At the same time, bitter divisions have emerged in communities with some fearing indoctrination and others frustrated about lack of progress for people of color. In light of these challenges, how can educators move forward into the new school year? How can they make decisions on what to teach and how? For learners, how does it feel to be at the center of this debate and what role can they play in these decisions? How can funders provide support on the ground where it is most needed?

Sara Sneed, president and CEO of The NEA Foundation, will engage a panel to help us understand what the critical race theory debate means in practice for learners and educators and for education at large.

Join us to explore what role funders can play in sustaining an equity agenda in education during this significant time in history.

Register here.

This event is intended for members and other education grantmakers. There is no cost to attend this Grantmakers for Education program. Registration closes 15 minutes prior to the program time. Thank you for your patience; we review each registration in advance.


Matthew Becerra
San Diego Metropolitan Regional, Career, and Technical High School

Matthew Becerra is a U.S. history teacher and 10th grade advisor for the San Diego Met High School. He is in his 3rd year at the Met but has been working in classrooms and education for over a decade. In this time, he has also worked a variety of roles within the field of education including but not limited to: curriculum design, coaching/mentoring and strategic planning. In 2012 he received his BA in history from San Francisco State University and in 2016 he received his M.Ed in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of San Diego. While he currently resides in San Diego, he is originally from the San Gabriel Valley, CA. He is passionate about the field of education and fosters a classroom culture rooted in student centered learning and inquiry based projects.


Sofia Ervin
San Diego Metropolitan Regional, Career, and Technical High School

Sofia Ervin is a junior at the San Diego Met and a young filmmaker. She’s a passionate activist that uses her voice to advocate for a more equitable education for all students. She hopes to attend the NYU film program in the coming years after her graduation from the Met. 


Dr. Nancy Gutierrez
President and CEO
The Leadership Academy

Dr. Nancy B. Gutiérrez is president & CEO of The Leadership Academy. She began her career as a teacher and award-wining principal in her home community of East San Jose, CA. Nancy went on to launch an executive leadership advancement program for the NYCDOE that led to state superintendent certification before joining The Leadership Academy in 2014. A highly sought-after keynote speaker, she delivered 45 virtual keynote addresses to district, state and national agencies in 2020. Nancy is on the teaching faculty for NYU, Latinos for Education, and frequently guest lectures at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Nancy holds an Ed.L.D. from Harvard GSE and is on the board of Education Leaders of Color, The Hunt Institute, and Brightbeam. Nancy is a Fall 2019 Pahara-Aspen Education Fellow. In 2020, City & State NY named Nancy one of the top 100 most influential leaders in education in New York.


Sara Sneed
President and CEO
The NEA Foundation

Sara is president and CEO of The NEA Foundation (NEAF). Sara joined NEAF after more than 20 years in public policy and philanthropy. Previously with the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, Sara directed strategy, policy advocacy, and grantmaking to close opportunity gaps among some of the nation’s highest need school districts. She is credited with powerful organizing and advocacy for education and social justice; advising policymakers; founding dynamic learning communities; and the co-creation of several successful community schools.

With an MDiv from Yale, Sara serves as Vice Chair of the Board of the Institute for Educational Leadership, on the Board of Grantmakers for Education, and on the steering committees of the Education Funders’ Strategy Group, Education Civil Rights Alliance, and Communities for Just Schools Fund. She also has served on the executive board of Grantmakers for Children, Youth and Families, and as Co-Chair of the Coalition of Community Foundations for Youth.


Dr. Jonathan Zimmerman
Berkowitz Professor in Education and Professor of History of Education
University of Pennsylvania

Dr. Jonathan Zimmerman is the Berkowitz Professor in Education and Professor of History of Education at the University of Pennsylvania. A former Peace Corps volunteer and high school teacher, Zimmerman is the author (with cartoonist Signe Wilkinson) of Free Speech and Why You Should Give a Damn (City of Light Press, 2021) and eight other books, including studies of sex education and history instruction in American schools. Dr. Zimmerman is also a frequent contributor to the Washington Post, the New York Review of Books, and other popular newspapers and magazines.  His next book, Who Are We Now? Culture Wars in the Public Schools, will be published in 2022 by University of Chicago Press.


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