MSAN Student Conference Aims to Empower

More than 200 students, chaperones from across U.S. to meet in Madison Oct. 23-26

October 8, 2019   |   By WCER Communications

Tucson, Arizona teacher José González will be a speaker at the Madison conference.

Tucson, Arizona teacher José González will be a speaker at the Madison conference.

More than 200 high school students and their chaperones from 19 U.S. school districts will be at the Madison Concourse Hotel Oct. 23-26 for the Minority Student Achievement Network Student Conference, an annual event presented by UW−Madison's School of Education to develop student leaders dedicated to ending racial disparities in achievement and opportunity. Around 168 students and 56 chaperones are expected.

Sponsored this year by the Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District, where students helped plan conference events, the gathering will feature guided tours of schools and colleges at UW-Madison on the morning of Oct. 24. Students also will take part in a full day of action planning on Oct. 25, when they brainstorm and develop projects designed to address disparities back home at their own schools.

Highlights include an opening keynote address from Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, a Milwaukee native whose election in November 2018 made him the first African-American to serve as lieutenant governor, and the second African-American ever to hold statewide office in Wisconsin.


Mandela Barnes

Other keynote speakers will be José González, a teacher in the Tucson district and Xicanx Institute for Teaching and Organizing on Oct. 24, and Bettina Love, an award-winning author and associate professor of educational theory and practice from the University of Georgia, on Oct. 25. Love is regarded as one of the field’s most esteemed educational researchers in the areas of how anti-blackness operates in schools, plus hip hop and urban education. Her work also covers how teachers and schools can work with parents and communities to develop equitable classrooms by building communal, civically engaged schools rooted in intersectional social justice.


Bettina Love

González is in his 28th year of teaching, with a current focus on Culturally Relevant American History: Mexican American Perspective and a social justice perspectives class at Tucson High Magnet School. His teaching, in part, seeks to foster and facilitate within his students a strong sense of identity and student voice, while infusing a self-discipline approach to life.

This year’s conference, entitled “The Roses That Grew From Concrete,” also marks the 20th anniversary of MSAN, a project of the Wisconsin Center for Education Research in UW−Madison's School of Education. Launched in 1999, MSAN is a national coalition of 28 multiracial school districts focused on understanding and eliminating gaps in opportunity and achievement that persist within their own schools. In addition to engaging in collaborative research, it organizes two conferences annually: the student conference in the fall and an MSAN Institute for educators each spring.