Educators Will Gather Here May 9 for Lecture on 'Schools Without a Majority'

Dr. Joseph Scherer, executive director of the Superintendents’ National Dialogue, will discuss “Schools Without a Majority: Implications and Opportunities” at a 7 p.m. lecture Thursday, May 9, in Opus Hall on the downtown Minneapolis campus of the University of St. Thomas.

The presentation is the 16th annual Julian Parker Lecture sponsored by the university’s College of Education, Leadership and Counseling. The program is free but registration is requested by sending an email to Dr. Robert Brown, professor of education emeritus, at Contact Brown at (651) 962-4992 if there are questions.

Joseph Scherer

Joseph Scherer

A 6:30 p.m. reception precedes the lecture; coffee and conversation follow.

“Public perception lags far beyond reality in the public-policy arena,” said Brown, coordinator of the Julian Parker series. “For those of us in education this is a particular problem since many adults in our area think of the schools as being like they were years ago … overwhelmingly white with a smattering of various minority kids.

“Now, Minneapolis, St. Paul, and some of the suburbs no longer have a white majority and are composed of a wonderful blend of black, white, Asian, Latino and American Indian students. This has implications for hiring policies, curriculum and cultural awareness,” he said.

Data from the state demographer's office will be distributed at the program. The information describes population changes over time in the metropolitan area and the state.

Scherer’s remarks will be followed by a multicultural group of panelists from Latino, African, Asian and American Indian communities. Patricia Jensen, director of St. Thomas’ Master of Arts in Public Policy and Leadership Program, will moderate.

Audience members will participate in a follow-up discussion, with St. Thomas public-policy students serving as recorders. The program also will include a brief award ceremony for the Minnesota Alliance of Black School Educators.

A former teacher and school administrator, Scherer holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education from St. Thomas and a master’s and doctorate in psychology from the Peabody School of Vanderbilt University.

Julian Parker

Julian Parker

He has held multiple leadership positions in the public and private sectors of the education industry throughout his career. As head of the Superintendents’ National Dialog, Scherer brings together groups of school superintendents to help them develop a vision for their districts. Previously he co-founded the District Management Council, a national organization for public school leaders.

The Julian Parker Lecture Series honors the former longtime chair of the Education Department and dean of the graduate school at Xavier University in New Orleans. Parker was a national leader on urban education and race relations. In the 1960s, he was instrumental in dealing with issues of race and diversity when he worked at St. Thomas in an exchange program between the national historically African-American colleges and private colleges in Minnesota.

Co-sponsors of the Julian Parker Lecture are the St. Thomas Master of Arts in Public Policy and Leadership Program, Minnesota Alliance of Black School Educators and Generation Next.