“The 1619 Project” Annual Meeting Deeper Dive session on Friday, February 26, 11:15 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. features Mary Elliott, curator at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC), and Christina Sneed, high school AP English teacher in University City Schools (outside of St. Louis, MO) who taught The 1619 Project and authored the curriculum resources for The Pulitzer Center’s 1857 Project. Inspired by The 1619 Project (which reframes U.S. history by placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of Black Americans at the very center of the historical narrative), The 1857 Project examines the Dred Scott decision and the Lincoln-Douglass Debate. In this article, Sneed shares insight into her experience teaching The 1619 Project to higher schoolers and how educators can successfully implement it across curriculum.
I’ve been sharing my approach to teaching with the New York Times’ 1619 Project and was disturbed to read an article where Rodriguez (2021) explained that Republican lawmakers in five states (one in which I live) are introducing legislation to “punish schools that provide lessons derived from this project.” Unfortunately, we’ve seen this strategy used throughout history as a method to manipulate national memory. It forces reflection on the quandary, “Who gets to write history?” The answer is rooted in white supremacy. Recollect America’s Reconstruction period when the United Daughters of the Confederacy distorted the narrative surrounding who won the Civil War by using propaganda, monuments, and education-based indoctrination. They created state-sanctioned counter narratives that still plague America. Recently, Republicans used this tactic to establish the 1776 Commission in opposition to the 1619 Project. Such acts stem from fear that, if average Americans learn accurate accounts of history—without white washing, omission, erasure—white men will lose power. They fear teachers will inform students of America’s ugliest parts and sell a version of history that negatively depicts certain groups of people in order to create ”heroes” and “patriots” in others (what they’ve been guilty of for centuries).
Alfredo Artiles of Stanford Graduate School of Education, Khiara Bridges, UC Berkley School of Law and Sonya Ramsey of University of North Carolina at Charlotte will join moderator John Blackwell of Virginia State University in presenting the 2021 Annual Meeting Deeper Dive session, “Critical-Race Theory and Countering Political Culture,” Thursday, February 25, 11:15 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. In this article, Artiles discusses the power of disability through its longstanding historical links with race, and outlines the transformations needed in teacher education so that future teachers are prepared to understand and engage thoughtfully with the complexities of disability and its intersections.
Disability touches the lives of all human beings in one way or another during their lifetime. It is not surprising, therefore, that most societies deploy protections and supports for people with disabilities. But just as disability constitutes an object of protection, it is necessary to remember that disability can also be used as a tool of stratification. This is most clearly observed in contexts in which disability intersects with other markers of difference, such as race. The dual nature of disability is a neglected consideration in the analysis and responses to this condition, particularly in the context of teacher education. Indeed, most preservice teachers are rarely exposed to the complexities of this duality and its implications.
K. Stanley Brooks of Chosen Path Consulting, Marvin Lynn of Portland State University, and Christina “V” Villarreal of the Harvard Graduate School of Education will present the session, “Identifying, Understanding, and Replacing Racist Curricula” at the virtual 2021 Annual Meeting, Wednesday, February 24, 10:00 – 11:00 a.m. In this article, Brooks offers a preview of the session by asking key questions for inquiry and reflection on what it means to engage in an anti-racist manner in the academic space.
Our curriculum is not already anti-racist? If our curriculum is not already anti-racist, then what have we been allowing and promoting all these years?
Greetings to you from Minneapolis, Minnesota. This city was the center of world news on May 25, 2020, and the days following the reaction to the killing of George Floyd. It is not just one person, but a disturbing pattern that can be linked to the interactions between the first enslaved Africans and White Americans to the banks of Jamestown, Virginia in 1619. Perhaps you have heard the names of Breonna Taylor, Ahmad Aubrey, Tamir Rice, Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, and many more. Many assume that college campuses are places of higher thought and scholarship, where students and faculty/staff of color are immune to the horrors of racial microaggressions and assaults. One of the primary ways these spaces are hostile toward people of color is through the academic plans (practicum, course content, course selection, guest speakers, hiring practices, athletics, etc.) for our students.
In this new year, AACTE is recommitting its efforts to support the field in combating the racism that permeates throughout our education system. As a part of these efforts, AACTE will host a webinar each month that is centered on naming, learning, addressing, reforming, and promoting antiracist culture and policies throughout the education system. During these one-hour virtual sessions, you will hear from members and leaders in the field who have been doing the research and work to ensure PK-12 students receive a truly inclusive education. Our goal is for all participants, whether you are an administrator, faculty member, candidate, or current practitioner, to walk away with actionable steps to address internal, interpersonal, and systemic racism.
Racism is a broad and entrenched system of discrimination that has been largely ignored in our history, and every individual in our education system has a part to play in correcting it. Therefore, to begin this series, we want to focus on Discussing Race in Classrooms. In addition to learning how to prepare candidates to discuss racism in PK-12 classrooms, the webinar will address how educator preparation programs and other education field leaders can do the internal, interpersonal, and system-wide work to effectively support and prepare candidates to do so within those programs.
Register Today to join AACTE and the esteemed panel for or its first webinar: Discussing Race in PK-12 Classrooms, Why it’s an Essential Skill, on January 25, 2:00 p.m. EST. We exist in a world of relationships, and therefore, it is imperative that we examine our country’s and our education system’s historic relationship with racism and students of color before we endeavor to implement antiracist policies in our programs. In this session, we will take a look back at the central historic systemic inequities that have created an environment in which a majority of educators are ill-prepared and unwilling to name and discuss race and racism in classrooms. From that historical perspective, we will look at its effects on discipline and special education systems, both of which maintain systemic inequities and exacerbate racial discrimination for students with intersectional identities.
Register for Discussing Race in PK-12 Classrooms, Why It’s an Essential Skill
This article originally appeared in Diverse Issues in Higher Education and is reprinted with permission.
As we embark upon a new year, it is important for education leaders to reflect on 2020 in order to assess what we got right, determine what went wrong, and then set a course for a more equitable education for all students in 2021.
The COVID-19 pandemic illuminated the multiple and complex inequalities that exist in our schools. In remote learning environments, students who were already disengaged from school, in some cases, became more detached and harder to reach, particularly the population of historically underserved and marginalized PK-12 students. Undergraduate programs in higher education experienced similar issues, as some students felt more marginalized and isolated due to not being in classrooms. The pandemic has taught us that educator preparation programs must instill in teacher candidates the importance of building relationships. If educators don’t develop healthy and sound relationships based upon mutual trust with their students, then it’s harder to teach—and definitely harder to reach—those students for whom school is not a positive experience.
Check out a recent JTE Insider podcast by the Journal of Teacher Education (JTE) editorial team. This blog is available to the public, and AACTE members have free access to the articles in the JTE online archives—just log in with your AACTE profile.
This podcast interview features insights from the article, “Preparing Teachers to Notice Race in Classrooms: Contextualizing the Competencies of Preservice Teachers With Antiracist Inclinations,” by Niral Shah and Justin A. Coles. The article is published in the November/December 2020 issue of the Journal of Teacher Education.
Article Abstract: Race-focused teacher education has centered on changing preservice teachers’ racial beliefs and attitudes. In this article, we build on this work by exploring how preservice teachers identify and address issues of race and racism in the everyday work of teaching and learning. To conceptualize these processes, we propose the theoretical framework of “racial noticing,” which extends the literature on teacher noticing to the consideration of racial phenomena. Using a comparative case study design, this study focuses on three elementary preservice teachers (two identifying as White, one identifying as Black) with antiracist inclinations. Findings show that they demonstrated generally strong competencies with racial noticing during a mathematics methods course, but that contextual factors influenced shifts in racial noticing during student teaching. We argue that race-focused teacher education centered on noticing the impact of race and racism in learning settings can make the practice of antiracist teaching more tractable for preservice teachers.
This article originally appeared in Diverse Issues in Higher Education and is reprinted with permission.
The 1787 U.S. Constitution was ratified to establish justice, liberty, and prosperity, but not for all Americans. Like the Constitution, early American educational practices were based on a system of whiteness and elitism. Justice and prosperity for those who comprise marginalized groups have remained largely unfulfilled. We know for certain that we are a pluralistic society. No one group has singularly built this nation, secured its borders, nor defended its values. The plurality of our nation is our strength. As educators, particularly who prepare America’s future teachers, we must double down, now more than ever, on what Horace Mann said, “Education, beyond all other devices of human origin, is the great equalizer of the conditions of men, the balance wheel of the social machinery.”
America has yet to become an equal society, and these societal ills create the need for scholar activism embedded in Critical Race Theory (CRT), which historically documents and names the atrocities carried out in this country in the name of freedom, liberty, and democracy. America’s struggle to uphold the Constitution for all its citizens makes it necessary to examine the structural oppression that encumbers the United State from fully living up to its democratic ideals. Through CRT, scholars across higher education have researched racial inequality that emerged from the social, economic, and legal differences created between races to maintain elite, white interests in this country. If our national laws and practices are to ensure justice and equity, then educators have a great deal of work to do in ensuring the American ideals we teach youth to value in school are a reality for all.
In a recent interview with AACTE, Gaëtane Jean-Marie, dean and professor of educational leadership at the College of Education, Rowan University, discusses the importance of preparing teacher candidates to understand the cultural background of students in moving toward a more humanistic approach to see the learner as an individual.
Why is it important to prepare teacher candidates in culturally responsive classroom management?
It is to really realize the belief that all children can learn. A while back when I was teaching as a faculty member, I remember DuFour’s comment that stayed and resonates with me; it is that, “if we truly believe that all children can learn, what then do we do when they can’t, when they are not learning?” It makes me ask: What is our responsibility to help bridge the cultural gap between teachers and students? As we continue to help diversify the teaching profession, it is still predominantly white teachers who are the educators, so how do we prepare them? What’s the responsibility of ensuring that our teacher candidates can really meet the needs of all learners? Given the demographic shift, where more of our Black and Brown children are in schools and will be taught by teachers who are not of the same race. If we are recognizing that it starts with the belief that all children can learn, then our belief must also align with our practices as we continue to work hard to diversify the profession. We espouse the belief that all children can learn; now let’s realize that dream.
On November 19, AACTE held its inaugural virtual Town Hall featuring an interactive discussion on Critical Race Theory (CRT) in education with six leading educators: Marvin Lynn, Ph.D., dean and professor, College of Education, Portland State University; Kimberly White-Smith, Ed.D., dean, La Fetra College of Education and Professor, University of La Verne; Lisa Norton, Ed.D., dean, College of Education and Health Sciences, Touro University, California; Jesse Perez Mendez, Ph.D., dean, College of Education, Texas Tech University; John Henning, Ph.D., dean, School of Education, Monmouth University; and Jacob Easley II, Ph.D., dean, Graduate School of Education, Touro College. During the session, the panelists addressed the integral role educator preparation programs play in advancing scholarly work on CRT as well as questions posed by the audience.
As the moderator, Mendez guided the conversation beginning with an explanation of CRT. “Please define Critical Race Theory and explain its tenets and brief history in education,” he said. Lynn responded, “Critical Race Theory is defined as a historical analysis and critique of racism and white supremacy. It’s an analysis of racism and white supremacy in the law and society that really uses relevant examples of case law, public policy, popular culture and critical historical events that are designed to draw attention to the way in which the law is racially constituted.” Lynn said, “And then we can think about critical race theory as an interdisciplinary critical theoretical method that’s taken up again chiefly by legal scholars. It draws on fields of sociology, anthropology, ethnic studies, and women’s studies to put forward a critique, a broad, systemic critique of race and racism as a key axis of power in the United States and around the world.”
This blog post is written by AACTE consultant Jane West and is intended to provide updated information. The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of AACTE.
The Senate returns to town today after Thanksgiving recess. Most pressing is the December 11 deadline to avoid a government shutdown. Meanwhile pressure to address an out-of-control pandemic with a fiscal relief bill does not appear to be in sight. And President Trump continues to challenge the outcome of the Presidential election.
The 116th Congress Moves Toward a Shaky Finish
Progress with finalizing the FY 2021 spending bill is underway, but the outcome is far from certain. The four corners (Democratic and Republican leaders from the House and Senate) have been meeting and appear to be in agreement on top line spending numbers. The four corners also agree that they want a bill. President Trump remains a wild card.
One of four outcomes is possible: 1) Congress completes all the funding bills by December 11 and the President signs them into law; 2) Congressional negotiators are making good progress by December 11 and extend the current level of funding for a week or so while they continue to negotiate; 3) Congress passes a temporary funding measure through March or so, essentially punting decision-making into the next Congress; 4) Congress passes a bill before the end of the year and the President refuses to sign it causing a government shutdown. My money is on number 2. Congress is notorious for stretching out finalization of bills right up until the Christmas break. It’s hard to imagine a government shutdown—even in the midst of the craziness these days—that seems a bridge too far.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, institutions of higher education have experienced various challenges, including transitions to online learning and adaptations to the delivery of campus services. Students, faculty, and staff alike have navigated feelings of anxiety and stress amid these uncertain times. Further, students that identify as Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) are navigating two pandemics: COVID-19 and systemic racism. This reality presents an important question: How are university systems working to address racial injustice and support BIPOC students?
On Monday November 2, 2020, the College of Education (COE) Student Achievement Council (SAC) at Florida Atlantic University (FAU) collaborated with AACTE’s Holmes Scholars Program and the COE Diversity Committee to host a student outreach event with the purpose of addressing the aforementioned question. The three-part virtual presentation consisted of a welcome from COE Dean Stephen Silverman, a panel discussion with FAU’s Holmes Scholars, and an open discussion with all attendees of the event.
Facilitated by a panel of education deans, this open forum will examine and discuss the integral role educator preparation programs play in advancing scholarly work on Critical Race Theory, as well as ways to resist attacks on institutions’ efforts centered around this work. You are invited to join your colleagues and share challenges and success stories about your efforts to address race, equity, and social justice during these challenging times including the following topics:
- The challenges EPPs face in advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives because of the federal ruling and COVID-19
- How EPPs can resist the recent attacks on institutions’ work and impact centered on Critical Race Theory
- Success stories of EPPs’ work in Critical Race Theory since the federal ruling and COVID-19
If there is one thing we can all agree on, 2020 has been a year like no other. To learn how COVID-19 and the racial injustice crisis have impacted educator preparation—and the steps EPPs are taking in response—AACTE conducted a survey this fall of its members. Here are a just a few of the findings:
- More than half of the respondents are using instructional designers to help faculty create online courses, and 75% have made new tools available such as simulations and video libraries.
- Only have of respondents reported that their state had modified or waived performance assessment requirements due to COVID-19.
- 60% of respondents reported declines in undergraduate enrollment.
- 70% of respondents have recently increased their investment in diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives.
In a recent article, “To Tackle Critical Theory in the K–12 Classroom, Start with Colleges of Education,” the author shares the view of someone who opposes training teacher candidates in critical race theory. AACTE Board member John Henning, dean of the School of Education at Monmouth University, refutes these opposing views and explains the value of including CRT work in education preparation programs.
The author of the article states that critical race theory (CRT) “amounts to an unremitting attack on all of America’s norms and traditions.” How would you respond to this statement?
The purpose of critical race theory is to examine the role of race and racism in society. And it is helpful for raising awareness so that we can identify the existence of structural racism. It is not part of the curriculum; its purpose is not to question American norms and traditions. However, because racism is widely acknowledged to still exist in the United States, it can cause us to reflect both on our past and current practices. But it should be remembered that it is a theory, and, like all theories, it can be accepted partially, mostly, or fully. It is appropriate for teacher preparation programs to discuss this theory as part of their coursework because of the increasing racial diversity in schools. Most teachers are White females (around 80%) and critical race theory provides teachers, whether they are White or another race, with perspectives that allow them to gain insights into their students.
How are education leaders responding to the twin crises of the coronavirus pandemic and racial injustice? What can we learn from each other and how can AACTE best support its members as they navigate these unprecedented times? A webinar on Wednesday, November 18 from 4:00 to 5:00 p.m. ET will feature the results of AACTE’s recent member survey and reactions from leaders in the field of educator preparation.