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Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Justice

Pearl of Wisdom
By Ryan Persaud
Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Justice

For over 30 years international school leaders, teachers, and counselors have come together for PTC professional learning experiences. Each day of every program begins with a “pearl of wisdom,” a “'nugget of knowledge,” or a “gem of inspiration” from one of the participants. We are delighted to offer our readers around the world these powerful stories, insights, and strategies, all dedicated to our shared mission of ever more and better learning for our children.  

In this Pearl, Ryan encourages educators to “not to be performative in your DEIJ [diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice] work but to be authentic, strategic, and purposeful.” In looking at trends in education, he goes on to say that “social justice and human rights work is not a trend, gender equity is not a trend, indigenous rights are not a trend, ensuring our LGBTQ+ students are safe is not a trend, my skin color is not a trend.” DEIJ work has been going on a long time but this recent global resurgence of DEIJ attention has raised awareness within the international schools.

As more schools take on this important work, Ryan offers four points to make change:

1. Do the hard work of checking your bias and your privilege.
2. DIJ work must come from a place of policy and strategic plans.
3. The work must find its way into your curriculum.
4. Disrupt: Growth can only come when we are out of our comfort zones and can challenge each other in authentic ways.

Professional positions cited were the ones held at the time of recording. The positions and schools of those quoted may have since changed.


Ryan Persaud is the director of IT/Innovation at the International School of Curitiba, Brazil. 


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02/02/2023 - Free Minds
Let me challenge two assumptions in an authentic way:

1. International school teachers are not and should not be obligated to put DEIJ into their curriculum.

2. We are not required to "check our privilege" by adhering to the Marxist ideology of DEIJ. Instead, we should be encouraged to be better individuals.
02/01/2023 - GM
I completely agree with you Ryan. I have a story to share- One my dearest alumni, now happily married to a same gender partner, went through his secondary life so silent. He was always smiling but never shared very much with the other students, so I took him under my wing. He was of native descent and adopted by a wealthy Bolivian family The sweetest, smartest kid ever. It breaks my heart to know that he once felt that he could not share his gender preferences while he attended our school and I thank the universe and his parents that he is the wonderful balanced successful individual that he is today. Students shouldn't have to wait for change after they leave high school. Change should be in schools and include everyone! We need to equip our staff and make them passionate about defending everyone's rights, not just part of the advisory curriculum.