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Overcoming Racial Bias in Teacher Evaluation: Walk It, Like You Talk It

Meet Maria, a Mexican American student who entered school with a suitcase full of treasures—including her culture, family traditions, and experiences. She called her suitcase a maleta. Her teachers made it clear that her maleta was not welcome. While she was never explicitly told to leave her treasures at the classroom door, through their curricula, instruction, and assessment practices, her teachers made it known that her culture did not and have value and would hinder her learning. They gave her a new maleta, one filled with the U.S. culture; they believed this maleta would serve her better. As a result, she felt deep shame over the most essential elements of her humanity.

I am Maria—and to this day, I feel the pain of my teachers stealing my humanity.

Teacher evaluation at the center of inequity

Today, our nation is focused on inequities in our education and justice systems. While many school districts and universities have released diversity and social justice statements, the harsh reality remains that some areas within our education system are obstructions to racial equity in our schools—including teacher evaluation tools. This negligence has a profound, lifelong impact on culturally and linguistically diverse (CLD) learners. It is time for education leaders to challenge white supremacy and racial bias in teacher evaluation.

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