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.”
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
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.
“Democracy cannot succeed unless those who express their choice are prepared to choose wisely. The real safeguard of democracy, therefore, is education.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt
As educators, we have confronted monumental challenges this year, and yet, have managed to still make great strides. In mid-March, while closing our classrooms due to the COVID-19 outbreak, we found ways to educate our students virtually. Amidst mounting challenges, educators united to ensure that our nation’s children were able to continue learning.
Then, just as we were discovering coping mechanisms to live amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, we bore witness to incredible injustice and racial bias with the unjust deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and countless others. Educators heeded the call for justice, uniting with the community at large, to show that racism will not be tolerated. But despite having met these challenges head on, we cannot rest upon our laurels. The battles that lie ahead are too important and necessary to protect the core of our democracy.
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.
Check out a recent JTE Insider blog interview 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 interview features insights on the article entitled, “Rethinking High-Leverage Practices in Justice-Oriented Ways” by Angela Calabrese Barton, Edna Tan, and Daniel J. Birmingham. The article was published in the September/October 2020 issue of the Journal of Teacher Education.
Article Abstract: Justice-oriented teaching must address how classroom-based disciplinary learning is shaped by interactions among local practice and systems of privilege and oppression. Our work advances current scholarship on high-leverage practices [HLPs] by emphasizing the need for teaching practices that restructure power relations in classrooms and their intersections with historicized injustice in local practice as a part of disciplinary learning. Drawing upon a critical justice stance, and long-term collaborative work with middle school teachers and youth, we report on empirically driven insights into patterns-in-practice in teaching which yield insight into both what justice-oriented high-leverage practices may be, and the cross-cutting ideals which undergird them. We discuss the patterns-in-practice and their implications for teaching and learning across subject areas: HLPs that work toward equitable and consequential ends need to be understood in terms of the practice itself and its individual and collective impact on classroom life.
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.
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.
This article is a personal reflection of the 2020 Washington Week Holmes Policy Institute by attendee Angeline Dean.
“People, Policy, Politics, and Processes” – Jane West
The knowledge of this framework and its relation to analysis and advocacy spearheaded the Holmes Advanced Policy Course. This framework, along with homework given by AACTE staffers Jane West and Weade James was not only the necessary grounding to an understanding that truly “all politics are local” but also ripe for Luis Maldonado to address the navigating of politics and policies. Immediately following, Lakeisha Steele, professional staffer and policy team leader for Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA), chair of the House, Education & Labor Committee, “ripped the runway” with her honesty, passion, and commitment to social and transformational change! She reminded us that “we are our ancestors wildest dreams!” Therefore, we like our ancestors and so many who have transitioned this year, must be prepared to live in “good trouble” spaces and we must Persevere.
“If they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair” – Shirley Chisolm.
As we segued into the rest of the Holmes Policy Institute, we were gifted with the Power statement of “Miss Unbought and Unbossed” herself, Shirley Chisolm. How befitting as this statement resonated as an overarching theme for such a time as this. AACTE Dean in Residence Leslie Fenwick challenged us to thwart the narratives that brand Black bodies in lies and deficits. She pushed us to exercise our Positionality as spaces of truth, resistance, power, and countered narratives that honor civil rights ancestors in the proper telling of history and data in education. With that, students posed questions that blended and asserted their politics, processes, power, and positionality as people such as: What exactly is the role of a dean in residence and how or does it relate to Holmes students and their needs? What systems are in place to protect (another p word) BIPOC students against whiteness and internalized racism in predominantly white institutions?
This article is an excerpt that originally appeared in the AACTE Journal of Teacher Education (JTE) and is co-authored by Marleen C. Pugach, Ananya M. Matewos, and Joyce Gomez-Najarro. AACTE members have free access to the articles in the JTE online archives—log in with your AACTE profile to read the full article.
Preparing teachers for social justice has long been a driving force within teacher education, reflecting a commitment to educating students from multiple social identity groups who are marginalized and oppressed in schools. Given any particular decade, specific social identity markers may take center stage in this work—with new markers gaining visibility as previously neglected identity groups begin to receive vital, much needed attention.
Alongside social justice concerns for equity regarding race, class, ethnicity, gender, language, socioeconomic status and, more recently, sexual orientation and religion, stands the question of disability. As part of the overall vision for social justice, disability is generally viewed as a key social marker of identity. Yet students with disabilities continue to be marginalized and have persistently lower academic outcomes, such as graduation rates, compared to their mainstream peers (U.S. Department of Education, 2015). The connection between social justice and disability was amplified with the emergence of the disability studies in education (DSE) movement in the 1990s, which views disability as a socially constructed phenomenon, shifting its historical definition away from an immutable individual characteristic (Baglieri et al., 2011). Furthermore, the inclusion of students with disabilities itself has long been viewed as a social justice issue (Artiles et al., 2006).
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.
We live in a society that is rapidly changing. The worldwide pandemic has shown us the harsh, but important, reality that divisiveness, inequality, and discrimination persist in our country. The murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and too many others are stark evidence that racism still has deep and seemingly impenetrable roots in our country. This profound moment in time has brought despair to and heightened protest not only within the Black American community, but to people of all races throughout our country and the world. While addressing and rectifying these injustices requires the concerted effort of all American citizens, educators play an essential role in creating and ensuring an equitable existence for everyone.
Throughout our nation’s history, education has been pivotal in fostering citizenry. Abolitionist leaders understood the importance of a quality public education in promoting democracy. William Lloyd Garrison called for “a broader basis for government which includes all the people, with all their rights in their hands, and with an equal power to maintain their rights.” Wendell Phillips insisted that knowledge was given to impart upon others. Harriet Tubman instilled within us that “every great dream begins with a dreamer.” And Frederick Douglass wrote that “once you have learned to read, you will be forever free.”