Conference Description

This conference aims to empower stakeholders in education to advocate for, and incorporate, diverse perspectives in the classroom. By bringing together teachers, parents, students, administrators, and concerned citizens, we will develop solutions and strategize for their implementation. The conference will focus on how to incorporate heterodox perspectives and critical thinking into the curriculum. By creating an opportunity for community building after the conference, we will sustain momentum to enact positive change. Conference attendees will be invited to join Heterodox Academy’s K-12 Education Community and, if interested, to participate in a task force that will advocate for viewpoint diversity in curricula.

The event will consist of four 45-minute sessions.

Session 1

1-1:45 p.m. EDT

Cultivating a School Community of Viewpoint Diversity

In the first session, we will explore how to cultivate a school community that values viewpoint diversity. We will do this by having the panelists share what made them first become interested in their subject or in teaching (e.g., a specific book, a piece of music, an artwork, a mathematical equation, a scientific discovery, a historical period, a teacher’s influence). Then, we will discuss why each panelist is committed to viewpoint diversity. Finally, we will learn each panelist’s perspective about the most and least successful ways of promoting viewpoint diversity in the classroom.


Jessica Minick, English Language Arts Teacher

Erec Smith, Associate Professor of Rhetoric and Composition

Jonathan Zimmerman, Professor of History of Education

Moderated by Samantha Hedges

Session 2

1:45-2:30 p.m. EDT

Viewpoint Diversity in Curricula: Introducing Heterodox Perspectives, Critical Thinking, and Art Education

In the second session, we’ll discuss specific curricula that encourage heterodox perspectives and critical thinking, including interdisciplinary arts education.


Samantha Hedges, Heterodox Academy

Ora Itkin, Piano Teacher to K-12 Students

Erin McLaughlin, Positive-Ed Consulting

Moderated by Jonathan Zimmerman

Session 3

2:30-3:15 p.m. EDT

Discussion: Should teachers advocate for social justice causes in the K-12 classroom?

The third session will consist of a moderated discussion about whether K-12 teachers should advocate for social justice causes in the classroom. This type of classroom advocacy has been increasing in recent years. Tony Kinnett, former K-12 teacher and founder of The Chalkboard Review, an education journal, and Garry Mitchell, former teacher and Harvard PhD Candidate in Education, will discuss this trend and the arguments both for and against it.


Garry Mitchell, Harvard University

Tony Kinnett, The Chalkboard Review

Moderated by Graham Gerst

Session 4

3:15-4 p.m. EDT

Community Dialogue

The final session will be a moderated session where members of the audience ask questions of the panelists or share their experiences. Audience discussion will be followed by concluding remarks.

Moderated by Ilana Redstone

"He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that.”

-John Stuart Mill

“Growing Diversity of Thought in K-12 Education: Current Challenges and the Path Ahead” is supported in full by Heterodox Academy, other than for Session 3 of the event titled “Educational Liberty Alliance Debate,” which is supported by Educational Liberty Alliance. The ability for HxA to provide Grants for HxCommunities events and other activities are made possible in full through the support of the John Templeton Foundation.

The opinions expressed at these events (or through such activities) are those of the individual grantees, organizers, speakers, presenters, other sponsors and attendees of such events/activities and do not necessarily reflect the views of Heterodox Academy and/or the John Templeton Foundation.

© 2021 K-12 Diversity of Thought

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