Conference on Viewpoint Diversity in Education

Date/Time: Saturday, 11 September 2021, 1-4pm Eastern Time (5-8pm GMT)

Location: Online (Register here:

Admission: Free of charge

Target Audience: All stakeholders – teachers, parents, students, administrators, citizens

The debate on viewpoint diversity in education has intensified in recent years.

At first glance, this may look like a rehash of the old debate on the role of the teacher – is it just about instilling knowledge or also about teaching values? Sometimes, these two concepts are nearly impossible to separate, in particular when it comes to social sciences.

Indeed, the UK’s Department of Education published guidance in 2014 on how schools should promote British values, such as democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs. The idea behind this initiative was to ensure that young people can leave school prepared for life and resist the temptation of extremist ideologies.

However, these liberal and democratic values are increasingly being challenged. In the United States, a significant number of schools has adopted activist curricula rooted in identity politics despite parental concerns, dividing children by race, ethnicity, religion, and gender. This trend is now arriving in Europe, where the British seaside city of Brighton recently made headlines with a controversial roll-out of “racial literacy” training to schools based on Critical Race Theory.

A very specific and narrow interpretation of social justice is increasingly taught as fact in schools. But does this really prepare young people for life in a democratic society that draws its strength from the diversity of mindsets? This event will allow you to take a step back and explore why and how school communities can promote viewpoint diversity.

This event consists of four sessions:

  • Cultivating a School Community of Viewpoint Diversity, 1-1.45pm EDT (5-5.45pm GMT)

The panellists will discuss the reasons for their commitment to viewpoint diversity and share their perspective about the best and worst 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

  • Viewpoint Diversity in Curricula: Introducing Heterodox Perspectives, Critical Thinking, and Art Education, 1.45-2.30pm EDT (5.45-6.30pm GMT)

This session will 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

  • Discussion: Should teachers advocate for social justice causes in the classroom? 2.30-3.15 pm EDT (6.30-7.15pm GMT)

Classroom advocacy has been increasing in recent years. Two former teachers – Tony Kinnett, and founder of The Chalkboard Review, an education journal, and Garry Mitchell, Harvard PhD Candidate in Education –, will discuss this development and the arguments both for and against it.


Garry Mitchell, Harvard University

Tony Kinnett, The Chalkboard Review

Moderated by Graham Gerst

  • Community Dialogue, 3.15-4pm EDT (7.15-8pm GMT)

The final session will be a moderated session where the audience can ask questions of the panellists or share their experiences.

Moderated by Ilana Redstone

More information is available here: