Special Episode: Rethinking DEI in Schools: Systemic vs. Personalized Approaches

Written by Dr. Matt Bateman on December 29, 2021

In this special episode, Montessorium’s pedagogy and identity team shares their radical approach to DEI, one that centers around respect for individual agency and emphasizes direct, individualized interventions grounded in deep personal relationships.

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In the past few years, there has been tremendous focus on the way schools approach diversity, equity, and inclusion. The prevailing view has been that concerns of racism and prejudice must be addressed as systemic and structural, rather than as issues of individual attitude, habit, judgment. Trainings and workshops, which everyone generally is required to attend, assume as a default that discrimination occurs as a default, irrespective of any given person’s specific action or even intent. Is this the right approach? Is the absence of an active, explicit, continually affirmed opposition to racism itself an indication of racism? Or should instances of discrimination and prejudice be addressed individually, as issues of behavior as and when they arise? Is there potentially a third way altogether?

Our Panelists:

Matt Bateman (@mbateman), Executive Director of Montessorium
Ray Girn (@raygirn), CEO of Higher Ground Education
Kmele Foster (@kmele), Partner at Freethink Media
Chloe Valdary (@cvaldary), Founder of the Theory of Enchantment
Dr. Gregory Salmieri (@GSalmieri), Philosopher at the Salem Center at UT Austin

Dr. Matt Bateman

Dr. Matt Bateman earned his Ph.D. in Philosophy in 2012 from the University of Pennsylvania. He taught and continued his research at Franklin and Marshall College in the Department of Psychology, on topics ranging from neuroscience to evolutionary theory to philosophy, before joining the LePort Schools as Director of Curriculum and Pedagogy in 2014.

In 2016, Dr. Matt Bateman became a founding member of Higher Ground Education. He is now Vice President of Pedagogy for Higher Ground and the Executive Director of Montessorium.