The American education system was not created to support the liberation of the powerless. Instead, it was designed to instill skills, habits, beliefs, and discipline that would allow for better control of the masses. The colonizers who became the architects of this country built a system that perpetuates the status of white-skinned privilege and wealth, while leaving those in the lower and middle classes burdened with the laborious task of building and supporting our nation’s economy and infrastructure.
Throughout the history of the United States, minoritized racial groups and those who live in poverty have suffered disparities in education through laws and policies that prohibited them from socioeconomic advancement, physical safety, and basic civil rights. The anti-literacy laws enacted before, during, and after the Civil War are just one example of how white-skinned privilege and power was used to perpetuate the oppression of enslaved Blacks and concretize a system that generated more wealth for those in power.
Our current education system continues to enable inequity through policies and practices that claim to be fair, colorblind, and neutral, but tend to privilege a small, elite portion of the U.S. population. We can no longer live by the adage “pull yourself up by your bootstraps,” when those who deserve a better education continue to be plagued by disparities. Addressing the persistent opportunity gap between our nation’s socioeconomic classes requires sustained engagement from leaders across every field of education.
The articles below originally appeared on the University of Washington College of Education website and are reprinted with permission.
Joining doctoral research and teacher education program improvement
While incorporating issues of equity and social justice in the preparation of future teachers has long been a focus at the University of Washington College of Education, it wasn’t well understood until recently how that commitment is reflected in graduates’ daily teaching practice.
That picture is getting clearer thanks to an internship for UW doctoral students in teacher education launched three years ago. In a new podcast, Patrick Sexton, assistant dean for teacher education, and Cristina Betancourt, a graduate student in teaching and curriculum, discuss the College’s work to marry teacher education program improvement with the learning of its doctoral students through its Teacher Education Research and Inquiry (TERI) internship.
Sexton and Betancourt are part of a team who will present their work developing case studies of recent alumni for program improvement at the 2020 meeting of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education.
Incorporating disability studies curriculum in teacher education
While Washington has recognized October as Disability History Month for more than a decade — and schools are asked to honor the month in some fashion — teachers have had limited resources available to help them actually enact disability studies curriculum in the classroom.
This article originally appeared in Education Week on February 12, and is reprinted with permission from the author and former AACTE Board Chair Renée A. Middleton.
To the Editor:
The Jan. 8 article, “Sure, We Teach History. But Do We Know Why It’s Important?” (Big Ideas special report), noted that 78% of educators surveyed believe the primary purpose of teaching history is “to prepare students to be active and informed citizens.” The article also said that understanding the present in historical context can help us “decide on the best course of action ahead.”
I would like to thank the author of this article, which focused on Japanese-Americans forced into prison camps after Pearl Harbor and the decades-later response from President Ronald Reagan and other Americans. History provides a foundation for action and affects how people perceive—and respond—to present-day horrors. All educators should take note.
In 2019, I traveled to Poland for a study tour of the Jewish Holocaust, which showed how far hate can go if left unchecked. My experience of the study tour reinforced the meaning of the Jewish rallying cry “never again.”
AACTE has chosen an article by Amy Rector-Aranda, Ph.D. of Texas A&M University, the recipient of the 2020 AACTE Outstanding Journal of Teacher Education Article Award. Her article, “Critically Compassionate Intellectualism in Teacher Education: The Contributions of Relational-Cultural Theory,” was published in the September/October 2019 issue of the journal and will be recognized formally with the award at the AACTE 72nd Annual Meeting, February 28 – March 1, in Atlanta, GA.
In the article, Rector‐Aranda explores how the critically compassionate intellectualism framework might translate as a framework for teacher education. Educational theorists Cammarota and Romero describe critically compassionate intellectualism (CCI) as a trilogy of critical pedagogy, authentic caring, and social‐justice oriented curriculum used to lift up previously disempowered Latinx youth. Because the compassion element in CCI is understudied in teacher education, yet crucial to the success of the framework as a whole, Rector‐Aranda applies the tents of Relational‐Cultural Theory (RCT) to enhance understandings of this component. Based in feminist theories of psychosocial and moral development, RCT expands the original framework to account for varied experiences of privilege and vulnerability when applying CCI to teacher education while retaining core emphases on relationships, empathy, and associate aspects of authentic caring. This study makes a conceptual contribution by offering an integrated framework for teacher education.
AACTE is delighted to announce Christina Restrepo Nazar, Ph.D. as the recipient of the 2020 AACTE Outstanding Dissertation Award for Youth as Teacher Educators: Supporting Preservice Teachers in the Developing Youth Centered, Equity-Oriented Science Teaching Practices. The author completed her dissertation for the Ph.D. at Michigan State University College of Education. She currently serves as assistant professor of K-12 science education in the Charter College of Education at California State University Los Angeles. She will be recognized formally with the award at the AACTE 72nd Annual Meeting, February 28 – March 1, in Atlanta, GA.
In her dissertation, Restrepo Nazar conducted three separate, but interrelated studies that examine the ways preservice teachers (PSTs) generatively developed youth-centered, equity-oriented pedagogical imaginaries in their methods courses and how they enacted these practice(s) in their field experiences. The purpose of this dissertation is to understand how and in what ways a science methods course can support PSTs in the critical uptake of youth (and community) knowledge(s) and practice(s) and how classroom communities in the field can shift/shape these enactments. In this work, Restrepo Nazar foregrounds youth counternarratives of the culture of power in science as a critical part of learning to teach science for PSTs—a study that has never been done before.
A Look at Black Males and Education Using Critical Race Theory
Ed Prep Matters features the “Revolutionizing Education” column to spotlight the many ways AACTE, member institutions, and partners are pioneering leading-edge research, models, strategies and programs that focus on the three core values outlined in the current AACTE strategic plan: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion; Quality and impact; and Inquiry and Innovation.
Newly-elected AACTE Board member Kimberly A. White-Smith and her colleague Quaylan Allen published the following two studies in Urban Education and Equity & Excellence in Education in which they examine practices that influence the education of black males in the United States. The studies are summarized in the abstracts below with links to the full articles.
“That’s Why I Say Stay in School”: Black Mothers’ Parental Involvement, Cultural Wealth, and Exclusion in Their Son’s Schooling
This study examines parental involvement practices, the cultural wealth, and school experiences of poor and working-class mothers of Black boys. Drawing upon data from an ethnographic study, we examine qualitative interviews with four Black mothers. Using critical race theory and cultural wealth frameworks, we explore the mothers’ approaches to supporting their sons’ education. We also describe how the mothers and their sons experienced exclusion from the school, and how this exclusion limited the mothers’ involvement. We highlight their agency in making use of particular forms of cultural wealth in responding to the school’s failure of their sons.
“Just as Bad as Prisons”: The Challenge of Dismantling the School-to-Prison Pipeline Through Teacher and Community Education
Drawing upon the authors’ experiences working in schools as teachers, teacher educators, researchers, and community members, this study utilizes a Critical Race Theory of education in examining the school-to-prison pipeline for black male students. In doing so, the authors highlight the particular role educators play in the school-to-prison pipeline, focusing particularly on how dispositions toward black males influence educator practices. Recommendations and future directions are provided on how education preparation programs can play a critical role in the transformation of black male schooling.
If you would like to share your story about how your institution or organization is revolutionizing approaches to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion; Quality and Impact; and Inquiry and Innovation, please contact Katrina Norfleet at email@example.com.
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.
As you know, all eyes are focused on the Senate impeachment trial this week. And with the House being in recess, there is no Congressional business underway directly related to education. This may be the case next week as well, since the trial will continue in the Senate. We will keep our eyes peeled. But meanwhile there is a lot going on over at the Department of Education.
Secretary DeVos Announces new Civil Rights Compliance Center
The Department of Education is launching a new unit in the Office for Civil Rights, which is intended to assist schools and universities in “proactively” complying with federal civil rights laws before complaints are filed. Dubbed the Outreach, Prevention, Education and Non-discrimination (OPEN) Center, the initiative will provide targeted support to schools, educators, families, and students in relation to federal non-discrimination laws.
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.