Racist Curricula in the 21st Century Do Exist
Any curriculum, even the most enlightened, has traces of racism. This is simply because we all have biases that come through in multiple ways. Our responsibility as educators is to be critically self-reflective and continuously monitor ourselves, our work, and our interactions with both the students we teach and those around us.
Invariably, believing we are culturally and linguistically responsive and sustaining, is an indication that we still have work to do. This is because we are always in a state of becoming. New experiences and knowledge expand our ways of thinking and intersect with our lived experiences making the familiar strange. This is true for individuals and curriculum. That is why continuous critical self-reflection is essential as it affords us the opportunity to negotiate uncomfortable and challenging spaces, experiences, and interactions. It is through this disruption that we learn.
A dynamic group of 80 leaders from educator preparation programs nationwide gathered in Portland, Oregon, for AACTE’s annual Leadership Academy June 26-30. This year’s participants came from all types of institutions, some on their own and others in pairs or teams. Many had just accepted a new role as a chair or dean, others were experienced in their positions, and some were enhancing their skills in preparation for future career opportunities.
The 5-day event featured several general sessions addressing such topics as establishing authority, building consensus, assembling a team, and managing change. Two guest sessions on inclusive education were added this year, one presented by the Ohio Deans Compact on Exceptional Children and the other by the Collaboration for Effective Educator Development, Accountability, and Reform Center. Based on the positive response to these offerings, AACTE plans to continue including special topics at future Leadership Academies.
We have all heard that old saying, “You don’t know what you have until it is gone.” Delistray (2013) identified 11 things that we don’t appreciate until they are gone. Several, such as love in the time of youth, innocence, and our dreams, can be particularly poignant. Others, such as free/cheap/student-reduced pricing, we get to recoup once we hit our golden years. I would add membership with AACTE as an additional item to the list.