This May, a group of students in the Texas Christian University’s College of Education took a week-long trip to the Holocaust Museum of Houston as part of the Warren Fellowship program. The trip was a culmination of studying the Holocaust and antisemitism in Jan Lacina’s Literacy Leadership class. Lacina is the Bezos Family Foundation Endowed Chair in Early Childhood Education and associate dean of graduate studies in the TCU College of Education.
“I was compelled to integrate course goals, readings, and discussions about the Holocaust into my Literacy Leadership class because of recent antisemitic acts that took place in Texas,” Lacina said.
Educational institutions must engage with their communities to illuminate the systemic injustices experienced by those hypermarginalized, including people and communities of color.
In the Spring 2022 issue of AAC&U’ magazine, Liberal Education, AACTE member Tania Mitchell reflects on the killing of George Floyd to highlight these structural inequities. She urges those in higher education to rethink how community can be created and how to engage differently within the context of racism, economic inequality, and COVID 19:
“Our community engagement work of colleges and universities should be revealing. It should illuminate the systemic injustices that reify and deepen the marginalization already experienced. Moreover, it should focus on the policies, practices, conditions, and experiences that shape the everyday realities of the poor and people of color.”
Schools across the state held their last classes of the 2021–22 school year , marking the official start of summer for Maine students, parents and teachers. However, about 125 educators didn’t the classroom , as they took part in the first annual University of Maine Educators Institute being held virtually June 22–23.
The theme of this new UMaine Summer University program, developed in collaboration with the Maine Department of Education, is “Supporting Emotional and Behavioral Well-Being in School Communities: From Surviving to Thriving.”
Today marks the 50th anniversary of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 being signed into law. Title IX prohibits sex-based discrimination in any school or any other education program that receives funding from the federal government. Specifically, it states:
No person in the United States shall, based on sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”
Pride flags and gag orders, a Queer as Folk reboot and white supremacists at Pride celebrations, My Two Moms and Me and “Don’t Say Gay”: this whiplash of dissonance is the backdrop against which we as LGBTQ+ teacher educators navigate as scholars in 2022. I was asked to write a post on LGBTQ+ research in teacher education — an exceptionally tall order. One post can hardly encapsulate the complexities, tensions, and exceptionality of current work in the field. Research specific to LGBTQ+ topics in teacher education might be broadly organized into a few categories: the lived experiences of Queer1 persons in teacher education, LGBTQ+ issues in curriculum and instruction within teacher preparation, and policies and practices directly impacting LGBTQ+ persons and issues within the realm of P-12 schools.
The Arizona Teacher Residency has accepted its first cohort of 30 future teachers, as well as the 30 supervising teachers who will be working with those teacher residents this next school year.
The Arizona Teacher Residency is a first-of-its-kind graduate program in Arizona modeled after medical residencies to help recruit, prepare, support and retain K-12 teachers, especially those with identities that have been underrepresented in the teaching population. The two-year program provides aspiring teachers with in-classroom experience, a living stipend, a master’s degree and a job at a partnering school district. Residents will receive mentoring and induction from a trained instructional mentor through the Arizona K12 Center in their second year with the support continuing into the third year.
A 2022 Washington Week Recap and Reflection
*Slides from this session are provided by Jennifer Ruth, Higher Education Faculty Lead at African American Policy Forum can be found on AACTE Connect360.
COVID-19 has exacerbated a pre-existing education crisis and increased inequalities since its outbreak two years ago. And now, educators around the nation are grappling with yet another challenge. Outside of academia, critics are condemning the fight for intellectual freedom.
In the past couple of months, the attack on academic freedom at K-12 and post-secondary levels have reached new heights. From the fight to remove books affiliated with the history of the United States of America to the “great resignation” being affiliated with teacher shortages directly affecting the sustainability of education. There is a direct assault on education from all areas of social and political streams. For example, some of the significant challenges being faced are critical race theory (CRT) education, academic tenure, educator resources, and the hindering of legislative impediments to the educational curriculum. Below are some of the recent headlines featuring these issues:
Earlier this year, a gay music teacher in Iowa was pressured into resigning from a private school after being outed1. As a queer nonbinary Iowan and a preservice teacher, I am continually reckoning with my place in education. My education has and continues to be engulfed in heteronormativity. Elementary school through college, I have heard about Mrs. Y’s husband. I had Ms. Z as a permanent substitute twice because Mrs. X was having a baby. Mr. W often placed an open call for babysitters because he and his wife were having a date night. The narrative of a happily married husband and wife with children was and is so common it erases other ways of being. Indeed, I was shocked to discover during high school that my Kindergarten teacher was gay. He is one of two LGBTQ+ teachers I have had. I distinctly remember the relief of knowing that queer elementary teachers exist. If Mr. Knoer could be gay in 2006, I can be queer and trans in 2022.
Chris Richards/University of Arizona
A University of Arizona College of Education program that provides mentorship and educational resources to Arizona’s Indigenous communities will extend its reach thanks to a $1.2 million grant from the Arizona Department of Education.
The Native Student Outreach, Access and Resiliency program, better known as Native SOAR, emphasizes Indigenous teaching and knowledge. Over the course of 10 weeks, the program allows UArizona students from any major to spend about three to four hours a week mentoring middle and high students across Arizona and teaching them about attending college, cultural resiliency, leadership skills and identity exploration.
In the summer of 1969 — 53 years ago this June — the infamous Stonewall Riots took place in New York City, launching the modern LGBTQ+ movement for equity and freedom. For this reason, June has become synonymous with PRIDE celebrations across the nation. Rainbows color many storefronts and major retailers launch their PRIDE-related marketing blitzes. I, for one, love the proliferation of the rainbow across our neighborhoods, retail districts, and campuses. Afterall, visibility matters. As a gay man who came out during his senior year of high school 30 years ago and who worked hard to advance an agenda of openness and support for LGBTQ+-identified individuals, first as a high school teacher and later college professor, I look back on these decades with pride as we acknowledge where we were so many years ago. And yet, PRIDE takes on a new meaning this year, as schools increasingly become the battleground in the fight against LGBTQ+-equity and in particular trans lives.
What are the stakes in this culture war? What are the possible ramifications of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation and censorship? Most notably, our children are the ones who suffer in these baseless attacks against trans and queer kids. LGBTQ+ students report harassment at rates much higher than their peers (and the highest of all minority populations, GLSEN). LGBTQ+ students in many states report that their school does not feel safe, and that teachers do not feel supportive. According to the Trevor project, LGBTQ+ students report higher rates of depression and anxiety than their peers and rates of suicide in this group are by some estimates 7X higher than other peer groups. Indeed, this is a matter of life and death for our kids.
Sarah L. Murphy teaches children in a two-room schoolhouse in Rockmart, Ga. on June 23, 1950. | AP Photo
This article, by AACTE dean in residence Leslie T. Fenwick, Ph.D., was originally published in Politico and is reprinted with permission.
Today, most Americans think about the segregation-shattering 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision in one of three ways. We may think about Linda Brown, the plaintiff in Brown, a little girl forced to walk miles to a segregated Black school instead of attending the white school down the block. We may remember the famed Norman Rockwell painting featuring 6-year-old Ruby Bridges escorted by U.S. Marshals past a wall splattered with tomatoes and a racial slur. Or we may recall the tumult of busing in the South — Alabama, Mississippi, and Georgia… and even much further north of the Mason-Dixon Line in South Boston, too.
But there is plenty that we have not been taught about Brown, which turns 68 today, or how it continues to impact us. We know about Linda Brown and Ruby Bridges. But we don’t know about Pressley Giles, Mary Preyer, Virgil Coleman and Jewel Butler. They were among the 100,000 exceptionally credentialed Black principals and teachers illegally purged from desegregating schools in the wake of Brown.
In the final installment of the Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Heritage Month blog series, AACTE and Valerie Ooka Pang spoke with Lin Wu, recipient of the 2022 AACTE Outstanding Dissertation Award for “Borderland Teaching of Chinese American Teachers with Mexican American Students: Toward the Development of a Theory,” about his research, experiences in the academy, and insights on the triumphs and challenges of AANHPI educators and students.
Wu, who completed his dissertation for the Ph.D. at the University of Washington-Seattle and currently serves as an assistant professor in the College of Education at Western Oregon University, is the first Asian male to receive the distinguished award. When he began his graduate scholarship in the Deep South, where there is a Black-White racial binary, he says, “I just always felt like I did not belong to either group. I am somewhere in between.” This led Wu to his dissertation research and he asked himself, “What if I’m not alone? What if other Asian American teachers, specifically Chinese American teachers, share a similar experience?”
Wu’s dissertation studied three Chinese American teachers working with 11 Mexican American students in three ethnically diverse urban secondary schools in the Pacific Northwest, a unprolific research topic in the field. “As I was doing a literature review for my dissertation, [most of the research] was on teachers of color working with students of color from the same ethnic or racial group. I don’t know if it is intentional, but I ask myself [why is it] few folks want to discuss crossing ‘minority’ cultural borders in our research?” He reminds scholars of a quote from Toni Morrison that motivated him through this challenge, “If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”
In his acceptance speech at AACTE’s 2022 Annual Meeting, Wu reminded the audience of the anniversary of the deadly shooting in Atlanta that killed eight people, six of whom were working-class Asian women. We join Wu in asking members to remember their lives and say their names: Hyun Jung Grant, Soon Chung Park, Suncha Kim, Yong Ae Yue, Xiaojie Tan and Daoyou Feng.
To create a more just society for AANHPI communities, all teachers must represent and validate the prolific histories and multi-dimensional identities of AANHPI students. This need was encapsulated perfectly in advice Wu received from Gloria Ladson-Billings about his job as a teacher educator, “It is not about you.” He elaborates, “[she said] I am not invalidating your struggles. Your struggles are real …. However, when your daughter goes to school, she will have to learn to navigate this world in a way that does not see her fully. So, your job is to make sure that the teachers and adults who will work with her one day will not do that.” We agree that all teacher education faculty share responsibility to ensure all preservice teachers are prepared to see students for who they fully are.
Wu’s Doctoral Experience
In addition to improving AANHPI inclusive curriculum and pedagogical standards, we know that representation matters. There is a lack of male teachers of color in the United States, AANHPI included. Wu reflected on his experiences as a doctoral student and recommended that programs be more intentional in providing financial support to Asians and Asian Americans, a barrier he faced in funding his education partially due to the model minority belief. This and other themes raised in Wu’s experiences resemble barriers to becoming a teacher found in AACTE’s Black and Hispanic/Latino Male Teacher NIC, including feelings of isolation, lacking familial and academic resources as a first-generation college student, family caretaker expectations, needing to work to support oneself while studying, and racial and gender stereotypes.
Wu explains that the male teacher of Color shortage is even worse in teacher education. When he began working as a graduate teaching assistant, he was the only male doctoral student of color for two years in that teacher education program. Beyond the socio-cultural barriers, Wu recalls a lack of curricular representation in many graduate courses, either for or by AANHPI scholars. When describing the research used across most of his methods training classes as a doctoral candidate, he says, “If I remember correctly, there were only two articles written by Asian American scholars, neither of which focused on Asian American students or teachers.” To be more inclusive, EPPs must ensure their curriculum represents every group so that students interested in research in those directions have access to representative resources. Finally, Wu describes the role mentorship played in his success: “I am eternally grateful to the sustaining mentorship from eminent scholars, including Dr. Geneva Gay and Dr. Valerie Ooka Pang. Cross-cultural and cross-gender mentorship is crucial for me because I will need mentors with different backgrounds and expertise to guide my work to represent my community better.”
Wu’s Teaching Experience
Now, as a faculty member teaching Social Cultural Foundations of Education and Multicultural Education, Wu works with predominantly White female preservice teachers. Besides preparing them to become culturally responsive teachers, he hopes to (re)present Asian men positively since most of them never had the opportunity to learn from Asian male teachers. That is another challenge facing all leaders in spaces where they are underrepresented — the expectation to “do everything right because you want to be a good representation of your community.” Wu continues, “My first time teaching the multicultural education course was challenging because some students did not perceive an Asian man to be qualified to talk about race.” His response is advice all educators should take since no one can be responsible for explaining or representing any group perfectly: “How do I humanize and correct the mistakes I made and teach my students to do the same?” What is even more essential within Wu’s advice is to do so with humility.
Earlier this year, in AACTE focus groups on teaching the truth in history and civics, teacher education faculty consistently agreed that end-of-course student evaluations created hesitation around discussing race and racism in the classroom, even when they desired to do so. Normalizing these open discussions and providing students with tools to analyze and counter accusations about critical race theory and other frameworks for democratic discussions on race and racism is essential. AACTE is grateful to Wu for modeling its efficacy, “I am committed to helping teachers transform their struggles into agencies to support all students, especially students of color.”
Lastly, Wu shares some recommendations to support AANHPI faculty and be more inclusive of AANHPI students and other students of color in schools. First, he says faculty should be prepared to have effective and frequent discussions on diversity, equity, and inclusion, by asking “How is the end-of-year feedback going to improve my teaching or your learning? My job is not to nag you about how racism impacts everybody in society. My job is to prepare you for the work you need to do so that you can succeed and sustain your success in this profession.” To accomplish this, faculty should remain committed learners by reading classic and emerging research and scholarship on advancing racial equity. Wu says, “I always strive to pair classic readings such as culturally responsive teaching with emerging case studies on [what] it looks like in practice for ethnically diverse students across content areas and grade levels.”
When it comes to program structures, Wu recommends EPPs make social-cultural foundation and multicultural education courses a requirement for all teacher candidates. Hire qualified faculty members, especially those of color, to teach the courses, provide systemic support, and ensure that the course content is historically grounded, theoretically rich, practically nuanced, and represents every racial group.
Finally, teacher education programs must allocate sustaining support for AANHPI faculty to pursue their research and develop their leadership capacity. “I am grateful to my mentor, Dr. Ken Carano, for helping me navigate my journey as a tenure-track faculty at Western Oregon University. I also appreciate my dean, Dr. Mark Girod, for funding my research and supporting me to lead the annual AAPI Heritage Month celebration in our college,” says Wu.
Wu wants Asian American scholars and other scholars of color in teacher education to know they should find colleagues and mentors who can support their personal and professional growth within and outside their institutions. Even though every institution has its problems, scholars of color can build a supportive network that nurtures their souls and helps them thrive.
The biggest takeaway in our interview with Wu is this: Teachers must understand that this job is never about them. Wu adds, “Your job is to teach students to be critical thinkers, engaged citizens, and supportive community members, who can challenge things when they are not right.”
Read other blogs in the AANHPI Heritage Month Series: