Instructor: Portia McClain
Portia serves as a consultant on reducing bias and improving understanding and relationships between the majority and African American populations. Her clients have included educators and law enforcement personnel among other professional groups.
Portia McClain was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, but lived for a period of time in Mississippi, a state centered in the deep south of the United States. Though it is true that slavery officially ended on December 6, 1865, when the 13th amendment abolished slavery in the United States, providing that "Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction," she was raised by her mother and two grandmothers who experienced remnants of the end of slavery, both centenarians at their deaths.
Portia moved to Minneapolis in October 1985 and attended school at the University of Minnesota where she continues her graduate studies toward a doctorate in Education. The topic of her doctoral dissertation is language and culture and how they play a role in assessment of children of color in special education.
She has worked as an Equity Specialist in a suburban school district and as an adjunct professor at Concordia University, teaching a Masters level course titled Diversity in Education.
Prior to working in suburban high schools, she worked in the Minneapolis public schools, teaching kindergarten, and as the Testing and Curriculum Coordinator. She has also worked with others on the 1998 version of the Minnesota Department of Education's publication titled, Reducing Bias in Special Education and its 2014 update.