Register today for the AACTE Town Hall on Critical Race Theory on November 19 at 3:00 p.m. -4:00 p.m. EST. Critical Race Theory provides a lens to understand race, racism, oppression, and power in America. Join the AACTE Town Hall on the integral role educator preparation programs play in advancing scholarly work on Critical Race Theory and discuss ways to resist recent federal attacks on institutions’ efforts centered on this work. Bring your voice to the AACTE open forum and share challenges and success stories about your efforts to address race, equity, and social justice during these challenging times.
This podcast interview features insights from the article “Education Policy and Black Teachers: Perspectives on Race, Policy, and Teacher Diversity” by Terrenda White, Brian Woodward, DaVonna Graham, H. Richard Milner, and Tyrone C. Howard. The article is published in the September/October 2020 of the Journal of Teacher Education. AACTE members have free access to the articles in the JTE online archives—log in with your AACTE profile.
On behalf of the Board of Directors of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE), President and CEO Lynn M. Gangone issued the following statement today urging educators to resist the Trump administration’s attack on critical race theory and other anti-racism work in education:
“In its June 4 statement, the AACTE Board of Directors called educators to take courageous action on race matters in America to address not only recent racial injustices across the nation but also structural racism that has deep, historic roots in our society. Critical race theory represents the scholarly work of educators who provide research evidence and expertise on how the legacy of slavery and inequality in America has unequivocally influenced our American way of life, including our system of education, and on effective ways to dismantle structural racism in American society. It has long been the focus of scholars across many disciplines, which has contributed to the great strides institutions have made in advancing human and civil rights for all Americans.
Banning federal funds to be used for professional development that addresses topics like white privilege, implicit bias, and structural racism, which are examined within critical race theory, is a denial of the historic realities of our country, and is an assault on the strategic gains institutions of higher education and educator preparation programs have made to enlighten students and affect change that promotes racial and social justice for all. Educators must resist any setbacks to the many years of research and activism scholars have made to progress our nation into a society that values the lives of all human beings.
AACTE and its member institutions are committed to revolutionizing education by upholding high standards in the preparation of future teachers through inclusive curriculum and evidence-based instructional strategies, modeling, and advocacy that dismantle racial oppression. AACTE members are actively working to diversify the teaching profession, address the teacher shortage, redesign curricula that reflects the needs of 21st century learners, advocate for policies that fund student teachers of color, and build social justice partnerships for strengthening the education community—all in a concerted effort to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in PK-20 education. Critical race theory is at the foundation of this vital work. AACTE calls on educators and the educator preparation community to stay the course and to actively support the work of critical race theorists and other anti-racism efforts for building a more racially just society.
AACTE: The Leading Voice on Educator Preparation
The American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education is a national alliance of educator preparation programs and partners dedicated to high-quality, evidence-based preparation that assures educators are profession-ready as they enter the classroom. The 700 member institutions include public and private colleges and universities in every state, the District of Columbia, the Virgin Islands and Guam. Through advocacy and capacity building, AACTE promotes innovation and effective practices that strengthen educator preparation. Learn more at aacte.org.
AACTE members took action when the Trump administration issued an attack on critical race theory two months ago. In its blistering critique of anti-racist initiatives, the Administration essentially banned work on critical race theory in use of professional development funded by federal dollars. In partnership with Education Deans for Justice and Equity, AACTE members united in a written response signed by over 400 scholars of race in education, led by Marvin Lynn, dean and professor of the college of education at Portland State University. The memo is as follows:
Critical Race Theory in Education Scholars Respond to Executive Memo M-20-34
On September 4, 2020, Russell Vought, Director of the Office of Management and Budget for the Executive Office of the President issued M-20-34, a “memorandum for the heads of executive offices and agencies.” The document states, “Executive Branch agencies have spent millions of taxpayer dollars, to date, on ‘training’ government workers to believe divisive, anti-American propaganda.” As critical race scholars working in universities and communities across the globe, the following statement is our response to Mr. Vought’s memorandum.
“We are more than test scores.” That was the refrain I heard from my social sciences colleagues in the teachers’ lounge protesting our school’s focus on standardized tests. The middle school was located in a poverty-impacted community with over 95% of students of color. In 2009, I was finishing my fifth-year teaching and recall asking myself, “Why are the standardized tests such an evil thing? Don’t we need assessments to measure what the students are learning?” (ChenFeng, 2009).
One of the signature education policies in my early career was the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2002. Teachers have different opinions of NCLB, but most educators and policy makers would agree that NCLB brought upon a culture of “over-testing and one size fits all mandates” (Duncan, 2015). During the 12 years I taught middle school math in Los Angeles, not once did I examine the intersection of white supremacy and education policy in my own classroom instruction. Overwhelmed by the high-stakes testing environment, and with a roster of 130 students, I was not aware of the impact of federal education policy on my teaching beliefs and instruction. In retrospect, I upheld color-evasive ideology and believed in a pedagogy that promoted the myth of meritocracy (Bonilla-Silva, 2017 as cited in Diem & Welton, 2020). In other words, I did not consider how race and racism shows up in the classroom or the ways I was complicit in perpetuating the false notion of pulling ourselves up by the bootstraps.
The following article is an excerpt from Inspire Magazine and is reprinted with permission.
After schools shut down in March due to COVID-19, teacher Sarah Thornburg and her team tackled remote teaching with gusto.
“We were like, ‘Let’s go.’ We found out, not only could we not teach the way that we wanted, but we shouldn’t,” the Columbus, Ohio, teacher said. “Everything had to slow down and focus not on content but on (students’) mental well-being.”
Some high-schoolers doubled work hours to pay bills. Some feared they would expose grandparents to the virus. Families lost businesses.
“That’s a burden that’s incredible for anybody to have, much less for a 15-year-old to deal with,” Thornburg said. “You can’t teach a child who’s completely freaking out about, ‘Are we going to lose our home?’ That was eye-opening.”
This article is a personal reflection of the 2020 Washington Week State Leaders Institute by attendee John Blackwell.
As academics who value valid evidence and scientifically proven knowledge, we know that, concerning human beings, there is only one race—the human race. We have lived our entire lives knowing that race is one of the most divisive topics you could ever introduce in any conversation or classroom. Robin DiAngelo, in her book, ‘White Fragility’: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk about Racism, explains so clearly the idea of race was created, “as an evolving social idea that was created to legitimize racial inequality and protect white advantage.” Despite this knowledge, the term racism has been weaponized to condemn anyone who uses it. When having discussion about racism, it is difficult for one to see beyond their emotion to get to the actual facts.
The Patton College of Education at Ohio University has initiated an educational series with the goal of enhancing knowledge about racist and anti-racist behaviors among citizens of the university and global communities. The Black Live Matters Munch & Learn Series features educators and industry leaders from diverse backgrounds who share the same passion for improving the culture that threatens U.S. communities and nation.
To date, three panel discussion have taken place:
Advocacy & Allyship: Every Day, Not Just When it is Trending
This session, which challenges participants to recognize and speak up against racism, features the following speakers:
- Brandi Baker, co-founder, Athens Parents for Racial Equality
- Tyrone Carr, director, Alumni Diversity Initiatives/Racial Equity Coalition of Athens
- Winsome Chunnu, director, Diversity and Inclusion
- Sarah Garlington, assistant professor, Department of Social Work/Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ)
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.
Passing of RBG Alters Landscape Moving Forward in Congress
The sudden passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg a week ago—and the subsequent immediate determination by President Trump that he would move a nominee to fill the vacancy quickly—have altered the DC landscape dramatically. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) quickly assembled the 51 votes he needs for confirmation of her replacement. Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Lindsay Graham (R-SC), has indicated that confirmation hearings for the new nominee may take place the week of October 12. All roads lead to a final floor vote in the Senate before the November 3 election, possibly on Halloween. The Democrats will be unable to block this vote. The only way it could fail is if three Republican Senators oppose the nominee. Two have indicated that they are opposed to this vote prior to the election (Sen. Collins of Maine and Sen. Murkowski of Alaska), but the elusive third appears out of reach.
The Ohio State University’s College of Education and Human Ecology will host a webinar series this fall on anti-racism in educational research for its alumni and the general public. This series, titled “Unapologetic Educational Research: Addressing Anti-Blackness, Racism and White Supremacy,” will examine how to conduct research on race that moves beyond the standardized approach to educational research. Participants will learn strategies to ensure that their research practices are equitable to inform findings that do not perpetuate the marginalization of people of color.
The series will launch on October 1, and feature sessions on a variety of topics, including engaging “diversity” in qualitative research, interrogating whiteness, and conducting research with indigenous methodologies. The webinar will feature guest alumni: D-L Stewart of Colorado State University, Rich Milner of Vanderbilt University, and April Peters-Hawkins of the University of Houston.
Learn more about the events and how to register.
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.
Congress Looks to Avoid Government Shutdown after Failing to Move COVID Relief Bill
Remember your students who waited until the last minute to turn in their assignments? Well, they are all Members of Congress now! Congress will walk right up to the September 30 deadline before passing a short-term measure that will avoid a government shutdown and keep federal funding flowing. Called a “Continuing Resolution”—or CR—the bill will be a “simple extension” to continue current levels of funding for the time being. The White House, Senate and House leadership agree that this must be passed by the deadline and a shutdown must be avoided.
Two outstanding questions remain. The first is: What will the expiration date be for the CR? The answer is anywhere between mid-December and March.
The second outstanding question is what will and will not be attached to the CR? While all parties are agreeing on a “clean” CR—meaning no “poison pill” amendments—there are always what are known in Washington-speak as “anomalies.” These are friendly changes to law, which are not supposed to be controversial. Of course, ensuring that all parties agree that something is not controversial can be a challenge. Given that passage of a COVID relief bill failed to make progress last week, there will be pressure to add COVID-related provisions to this bill. Most anticipate that there will be no further action on a COVID relief bill until after the election in November. Stay tuned for some action on the CR next week.
The horrific image of George Floyd taking his last breath is seared into our hearts and minds. Since that tragic event, we continue to bear witness to racial violence, police brutality, and incidents of discrimination that are played repeatedly in the news and via social media. The cumulative effect of these stressful reports can be traumatizing, and they are having a profound impact on our educators and students of color.
Racial battle fatigue (RBF), a term coined by critical race theorist William Smith, reflects the cumulative results of race-related stress. It emerges not only due to macroaggressions, but also from daily microaggressions, such as dismissive and demeaning comments directed at Black and Brown individuals. Basically, RBF is a wearing down based upon one’s racial identity. Some of the symptoms include depression, anger, frustration, and an overwhelming feeling of helplessness that a person of color is unable to contribute to positive change.
RBF is persistent and pervasive, and it manifests in different ways dependent upon who the person of color is and what he or she has experienced in the past. And while RBF impacts every aspect of our society, in higher education and K-12 environments, we predominantly see it’s imprint through hateful, divisive speech on social media, racial profiling in our society and our schools, and discipline policies that differ for students of color.
The following article by AACTE Dean in Residence Leslie T. Fenwick is reprinted with permission from Diverse: Issues In Higher Education, 2020.
Dear Generation Z Students,
You are digital natives. So, this letter would better reach you by video, Instagram, Snapchat, maybe Twitter or a hashtag. But I need more letter characters and time than these platforms allow.
Please bear with me as you read. I warn you: First, my history recitation may seem unrelated but stick with me. Second, you might be tempted to read my analysis of White male power as a screed against all White males. It is not.
Did you learn about Pickett’s charge at Gettysburg in your history class? I’d like you to consider this battle as a metaphor for what you’re witnessing now with the murders of George Floyd, a truck driver and bar bouncer laid off due to the COVID pandemic; Breonna Taylor, an EMT and emergency room tech; Ahmaud Arbery, an avid jogger; and, the assault of Christian Cooper, a Harvard grad and bird watcher victimized by a White woman who used an old, violent trick – call the police and lie about being attacked by a Black man .
General George Pickett (known as the Lost Cause General of the Confederate South) fought a losing battle on July 3, 1863. Pickett and his all White male brigade were fighting to maintain an apartheid south built on the brutalizing, free labor of enslaved African men, women, and children. Pickett moved well above the Mason-Dixon Line and took about 12,000 Confederate soldiers straight into the heart of Union territory, Pennsylvania.
This article originally appeared on the California State University, Fullerton new site and is reprinted with permission.
California State Fullerton’s College of Education faculty members are rising up to promote anti-racist teaching and learning.
In response to African Americans killed by police across the country and the disproportionate rate of COVID-19 infections among Black and Latinx communities, the Department of Secondary Education is offering a free webinar series this fall semester to address underlying racist policies and practices that exist in schools, said Natalie Tran, chair of secondary education and professor of educational leadership.
The webinars, open to teachers, teacher candidates, faculty, and community members, focus on dismantling racist policies, practices and ideas that influence schools, teachers and children, and most importantly, on taking actions that address anti-racist teaching.
Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash
This article orginially appeared in University Business and is reprinted with persmission.
We are living in a monumental moment in time. The unjust deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and many others call for greater social justice and equity in our society. While many institutions of higher education and educator preparation programs are talking about equity in education and the need for actionable change, having a deep passion and a meaningful, verbal commitment to social justice is not enough. We cannot move the needle forward in creating a more equitable education system until we address the root areas where change needs to happen—implicit, institutional, and systemic biases.
The data is clear. We live in a more segregated society now than the past 30 to 40 years. When students are segregated in elementary, middle and high school, they may not have any meaningful interactions over a long period of time with people who are different from them. When students graduate from high school and enter into a teacher preparation program, they could potentially complete their entire program without ever having a faculty of color.
Candidates have not adequately learned about racism in America, and they do not possess the context to understand the frustration and anger that underrepresented minorities feel. Students may be offered a gratuitous multiculturalism course in which they superficially learn about diversity, but do not learn about critical race theory, cultural responsiveness and proficiency as a standard part of the curriculum. They may never receive the opportunity to confront their own implicit biases, and then are placed in a classroom full of children with cultural backgrounds that they simply do not understand. From the lens of the children in the classroom, they do not see a teacher who looks like them or that they can relate to, and therefore, they are not drawn to pursuing a career in education.