Urban Education and Community Forum Set for April 17

Dr. Elizabeth Harry to keynote fifth annual program

Elizabeth (Beth) Harry, Ph.D., a special educator and professor at the University of Miami, will be the keynote speaker for the 2014 Urban Education and Community Forum presented by the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Education.

Harry’s presentation, “What it takes for effective urban education:  Cultural reciprocity—Leaning forward, not bending over backwards!” will explain how service providers can build bridges with families by engaging in a process of two-way learning between themselves and culturally/linguistically diverse families. To be truly reciprocal, Harry contends, service providers must lean forward, creating a mutual flow of understanding; while a posture of “leaning over backwards” indicates a forced tolerance, which undermines mutual respect. Research-based illustrations will be used to bring the concept alive.

Harry’s work focuses on family and multicultural issues related to disability with an emphasis on building cultural reciprocity with families from diverse backgrounds. Using qualitative research methods, Harry has engaged in research related to the experiences of families and of minority students designated as having a wide range of disabilities.

Harry has a doctoral degree from Syracuse University and has published five books and many journal articles on these topics. She served as a member of the National Academy of Sciences’ panel to study the disproportionate placement of minorities in special education programs. Harry received a Fulbright award to do research on Moroccan children’s schooling in Spain, where she was based for six months at the University of Seville. Of all her books, Harry’s favorite is her memoir, “Melanie: Bird With a Broken Wing: A Mother’s Story.”

Free and open to the public, the forum will be held from 5 to 6:30 p.m. April 17 at the Theater (room 103) in the UMKC Student Union, 5100 Cherry St., Kansas City, Mo.  Space is limited so please RSVP online or by calling 816-235-2963.  Reservation deadline is April 11.

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