The Power of Dignity in Education with Charles Payne | The LP: EP 9

June 28, 2023

Does your image and definition of dignity align with our educational reality? This question lets us explore equity and examine the opportunities and obstacles that exist in schools, and how we can contribute to them. Research activist Charles Payne has spent decades citing dignity and indicting indignity in education, highlighting both so the people and the profession can make righteous choices about the ways we teach our kids. Join us as we discuss Dr. Payne’s co-edited and authored book Dignity Affirming Education: Cultivating the Somebodiness of Students and Educators. Together, we explore the impact of dignity-affirming programs and individuals, past and present, and their potential to shape the future of education.

Key Takeaways

  • Whole child education is a powerful concept, one that if destined to be a buzzword, let it be one where those who happen to do the buzzing, work together to develop the sweet honey of freedom, pollinate equitable practices, and sting oppression. 
  • One of the root meanings of the word dignity is holding an “honorable estate or office.” What does our instruction say about the estate of our students? Do we say that it is an honorable one? If not, why not? We must work to avoid undignified or “unhonourable” approaches to instruction from the estate or office from which we deliver it.  
  • The conversation about the International Baccalaureate made me realize that one of the greatest struggles in American education is expanding, duplicating, and improving programs that work. Finding and eliminating the roots of this challenge will permit the growth of grade-level, engaging, affirming, and meaningful instruction to take place regardless of student zip code or identity. With scholar-activists like Charles Payne showing us models in the past and present, this opportunity continues to exist.