Antonia Darder Delivers Lecture on Testing, Inequalities and the Brain


Antonia Darder, an internationally recognized critical scholar, was recently inaugurated as the Leavey Presidential Chair in Ethics and Moral Leadership – the School of Education’s first endowed chair – and delivered a distinguished lecture to faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends. Watch video from the event.

During the installation ceremony, Shane P. Martin, dean and professor of the School of Education, praised Darder’s incredibly influential and powerful work and said how excited he was to formally welcome her into the university community.

In a lecture titled “Beyond Aristotle and Darwin: Testing, Inequalities and the Brain,” Darder discussed the issues first identified in her acclaimed book, “Culture and Power in the Classroom” – released as a 20th anniversary edition in 2011 – that are still relevant today. She examined the achievement gaps still present along racial, ethnic and socioeconomic lines as they relate to the lack of correlation between testing and achievement and the neuroscience behind the construction of knowledge. Darder closed saying that we must reclaim our right to determine what happens in our schools – that there is a need to move beyond testing in order to give all children the opportunity to learn and succeed.

Antonia Darder joined LMU from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she is professor emerita of education policy, organization and leadership. Her scholarship focuses on issues of racism, political economy, education, social justice and society. Beyond her scholarly work, Darder is an activist and visual artist who has participated in a variety of grassroots efforts tied to educational rights, workers’ rights, bilingual education, women’s issues, environmental justice and immigrants’ rights. She had the honor and privilege of studying and working with renowned Brazilian educator, Paulo Freire.