Education equality is topic of social-science symp...

Education equality is topic of social-science symposium

Is education equal in America? MTSU’s 20th annual Symposium Superman graphicUndergraduate Social Science Symposium will tackle the topic Oct. 31-Nov. 1 with scholars who’ve been down in the trenches with students, teachers and administrators.

“Equal Education? Evaluating the American Promise” will kick off Monday, Oct. 31, with student research-paper presentations in the James Union Building on the MTSU campus. All symposium events are free and open to the public.

The symposium will showcase a Senior Scholar Lecture by Dr. Larry Isaac, a professor of American Studies at Vanderbilt University and holder of the endowed chair as the Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of Sociology, at 11:30 a.m. Oct. 31 in the Tennessee Room. At Vanderbilt, Isaac teaches courses in social movements, political sociology, methods for analyzing historical processes of social change, the historical sociology of Gilded Age America and social change and movements in the Sixties.

A special documentary by filmmaker Davis Guggenheim, “Waiting for Superman,” will be screened on Oct. 31 at 1:50 p.m. in the JUB’s Tennessee Room. The film follows a handful of promising young students through a system that inhibits, rather than encourages, academic growth, allowing Guggenheim to take an exhaustive review of public education.

A panel discussion, “Educational Inequality: Identifying Problems and Creating Solutions,” is scheduled to follow the “Waiting for Superman” screening from 4 to 5 p.m.

Dr. Sonya Douglass-Horsford

On Tuesday, Nov. 1, Dr. Sonya Douglass-Horsford, author of Learning in a Burning House: Educational Inequality, Ideology and (Dis)Integration, and Brian Bordainick, a New Orleans high-school teacher, athletic director and founder of the 9th Ward Field of Dreams, will offer the symposium’s keynote lectures.

Horsford, who will speak at 11:20 a.m. in the JUB’s Tennessee Room, is a senior resident scholar of education with the Lincy Institute at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where she focuses on the history of education in the United States, the politics of education and the role of schools in society. She’s currently the principal investigator in a research study, “Losing in Las Vegas: Educational Inequality, Ideology, and Reform in the West,” that examines the social and community forces and school-district-led reforms working toward greater educational equality and opportunity in southern Nevada.

Brian Bordainick

Bordainick, who teaches at G. W. Carver High School in New Orleans’ 9th Ward, will speak at 6 p.m. His 9th Ward Field of Dreams has raised more than $1.9 million in less than two years tosupport construction of a new football field and track for the Hurricane Katrina-ravaged school’s athletic program and surrounding community. (You can listen to an interview with Bordainick on “MTSU On the Record” here.)

For more details on these free public events, visit the symposium’s home page at or contact the program committee co-chairs, Drs. Meredith Dye and Brian Hinote of the MTSU Department of Sociology and Anthropology, at or, respectively.