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In an education system that boasts majority minority students being taught by an overwhelmingly white population of educators, it might be safe to say brilliance escapes along with representation.

Studies show that, even with comparably high test scores, black students are assigned to gifted programs half as likely as white students. When taught by black educators, however, that number drastically increases. Does representation beget brilliance? By fostering environments and spaces where minority students feel safe and included, can we produce “diverse expressions of black excellence,” where students feel affirmed?

Here, Dr. Christopher Emdin – a social critic, associate professor and the Director of Science Education at Columbia University’s Center for Health Equity and Urban Science Education – examines how representation in schools can create the opportunity for students to own their knowledge and actualize their creativity and brilliance.

PHOTO CREDIT: Charles H.F. Davis III

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