Freedom of speech is an ideal to which those who founded this country believed in. I recall President Barack Obama’s many talks about the “American Ideals” of freedom, justice, and liberty, which I believe, includes free speech. Inherent in President Obama’s message was the notion that these ideals were not fully realized by historically marginalized communities in the United States. The current climate of our society further challenges our ability to see “freedom of speech” as something that is unifying rather than polarizing. This has become an increasingly important topic in higher education. The Chronicle of Higher Education, for example, continuously highlights issues regarding the intersection of free speech and civil discourse that are impacting education in unprecedented ways.
Two professors of education at Mount St. Joseph University, in partnership with the Ohio Department of Education and University of Cincinnati School Psychology program, have been awarded a $1.2 million federal grant to work with three local school districts on improving the literacy of students with or at risk for dyslexia.
The U.S. Department of Education Model Demonstration Projects for Early Identification of Students with Dyslexia Grant was awarded to a team led by the Ohio Department of Education’s Office of Approaches to Teaching and Professional Learning in collaboration with Amy Murdoch and Wendy Strickler, professors of reading science at the Mount.
Why are schools still segregated in 2019? The answer to this question is a complicated one. One with roots deep in the history of our educational system. The surface answer has to do with the fact that racist curricula and prejudice within our society still exist. Where you live determines where you go to school. Many times, the poorer, minority students live in lower income neighborhoods. And as children become racially isolated, it then trickles into our schools, resulting in segregation.
In fact, segregation is even evident in schools that are racially diverse. You’ll notice that most students in advanced placement classes are Caucasian or Asian. Who do we see in remedial classes? We see African American students, particularly African American males. Even with a diverse student population, the evidence of systemic segregation is scarily rampant. The deep vestiges of racism and segregation subtly permeate through our schools and it sets dangerous precedents.
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.
Last Thursday, Congress postponed the showdown over government funding until Dec. 20 and hit the road for Thanksgiving. They are planning some fancy footwork upon return as the impeachment process steams forward and a government shutdown remains a possibility.
Showdown over Government Funding Postponed until Dec. 20
Once again, the Congress has punted on funding the government. December 20 is the new deadline for determining overall spending levels for each of the 12 funding bills and completing them. Funding for education hangs in the balance with the House passed bill including a $5 billion increase, but no such increase in the Senate bill. The budget agreement adopted earlier in the year provides for an increase of about $100 billion for defense and domestic spending for this fiscal year. If Congress cannot agree on new funding levels, this new infusion of funds will be left on the drawing table.
America is a country of immigrants. Through each wave of immigration, our public schools incorporate immigrant children into the fabric of our country. Our public schools serve as a cultural incubator to aid and nurture acceptance of diversity. Our local classrooms should be a microcosm of a global demographic. We, as educators, need to harness that belief for our teachers and the students they teach and guide.
How do America’s immigration challenges impact schools?
The challenge is that there are undocumented students entering U.S. schools, colleges, and universities who were not given the option to decide for themselves whether they wanted to come to this country. They have been incorporated into society, but are affected by current practices that impact their safety and security. It is projected that by the year 2040, one in every three children in the United States will grow up in an immigrant household (Suárez-Orozco, Suárez-Orozco, & Todorova, 2008). It begs the question: How do we work with those students?
Educators, school support staff, and service providers are often the first individuals in whom a student and/or family confides and reveals that they are undocumented. Recent efforts to identify undocumented parents and children in the United States challenge public schools in their efforts to meet the needs of all children residing within their school districts. Public schools are often embroiled in politically and legally sensitive situations, in which they must balance their responsibilities to serve immigrant and undocumented children, while meeting the expectations of local authorities to identify undocumented individuals.
What role do educators play in supporting immigrant children and their families?
The annual Best Practice Award in Support of Multicultural Education and Diversity honors members for their outstanding work infusing diversity throughout all components of a school, college, or department of education (SCDE) as critical to quality teacher preparation and professional development. This award, sponsored by the Committee on Global Diversity, represents one of the nine categories of the annual AACTE Award Program that recognizes excellence in educator preparation.
This video features the 2018 Best Practice Award in Support of Multicultural Education and Diversity recipient, University of Colorado (UC) Denver School of Education and Human Development (SEHD). The Committee selected this program for it outstanding efforts in preparing teacher candidates from diverse, multicultural backgrounds to gain the foundational knowledge and experiences necessary to advocate for the educational equity for all children.
Educators and students are facing unprecedented times. The challenges both students and their teachers confront today vastly affects the efficacy of even the best educator’s efforts to create and foster students’ zeal for learning and to contribute to the society they will one day shape. Yet, educators must stay committed to fulfilling their social responsibility now more than ever before.
What Should Social Responsibility Look Like in the Teaching Profession?
This varies from educator to educator, so the answer to this question is complicated and multi-faceted.
Education is about opening minds, creating new knowledge. It is an expansive endeavor. In theory, education should provide us with the understanding and capacity of what it means to be a citizen of this nation and the world. Our nation’s founders understood the importance of an educated citizenry. Today, I believe that we need educators to support both a students’ academic development and citizen development.
As today’s leaders in educator preparation, we must address the persistent problems and inequities of access, discrimination, and bias that plague our schools and communities. It has long been the work of educators to embrace their social responsibility and instill in children the importance of making a difference in the world. We must continue to tackle social justice issues, including the underrepresentation of culturally and linguistically diverse populations among educators. Please take a few minutes to watch the video below (or read the transcript) to learn how you can engage with AACTE to promote the social responsibility of educators.
The September/October 2019 issue of the Journal of Teacher Education (JTE) is now available online, while printed copies are arriving in the mail to subscribers around the country. Below is a summary of the articles included in Vol. 70, Issue 4, 2019:
In “Teacher Agency and Resilience in the Age of Neoliberalism,” members of the JTE editorial team, Tonya Bartell, Christine Cho, Corey Drake, Emery Petchauer, and Gail Richmond, address how the articles in this issue provide insights into ways educator preparation programs can support teachers in developing and enacting agency. They discuss how making small shifts or adaptations in everyday teaching practices can create more just and equitable teaching and learning.
In the paper, “Whiteness as a Dissonant State: Exploring One White Male Student Teacher’s Experiences in Urban Contexts,” Stephanie Behm Cross of Georgia State University, Nermin Tosmur-Bayazit of Fitchburg State University, and Alyssa Hadley Dunn of Michigan State University, suggest that Whiteness itself is a dissonant state. The authors argue that
AACTE board member Donald Easton-Brooks is widely known as a scholar of educational policy and culturally responsive teaching. This year, he released his book Ethnic Matching: Academic Success of Students of Color. In a recent Q&A with AACTE President and CEO Lynn M. Gangone, Easton-Brooks talked about the book and how his research shows diversifying the teaching profession will ultimately improve student’s success. The following summary highlights the conversation.
How would you describe the concept of ethnic matching and its importance to student learning?
What ethnic matching initially suggests is that teachers of color can play a significant role in enhancing the academic experience of students of color. As this research and other research progress, findings have shown that teachers of color can play a significant role in also enhancing the academic experience of white students and can assist in enhancing a more culturally responsive profession as a whole. Therefore, the concept and research related to the concept suggest that we need to diversify teacher education. Mainly because as our communities are becoming more diverse, we are seeing our public schools also becoming more diverse. Yet what is happening is that our educator profession is not growing at a similar rate as these communities of students. The research around the concepts shows that perceived knowledge or knowledge from a preceptive culturally lens can play a role in students’ understanding of concepts, learning, and processing of information. This often can lead to these students being misinterpreted by teachers and feeling somehow misunderstood by teachers if they do not have that cultural lens to understand them. That is what teachers of color can bring to the table that can be of assistance to educational systems.