This article is part of a series that originally appeared on the Education First Blog and is reprinted with permission.
Here in the College of Education at California State University Sacramento, we’ve been in the business of preparing teachers for 73 years, and in the past few years have prepared approximately 380 teachers annually across 12 certification areas. A central aspect of our offerings across these programs is a focus on helping candidates understand the relationship between societal inequities and student learning, with special focus on race, class, gender, and other socially constructed categories. We knew that these understandings were key to our candidates’ success in developing equitable, healthy relationships with their K-12 students.
But we found that this wasn’t enough. The mentor teachers who support our candidates in their clinical experiences started asking us faculty some tough questions about whether these aspects of our preparation really prepared our candidates to be ready to teach all children on day one. Was the preparation coherent and clear for candidates? Were candidates provided opportunities to practice the ways in which teachers cultivate equitable, culturally responsive anti-racist classroom environments?