Culturally responsive education
When students are fully seen, supported, and affirmed in their unique identities and experiences, they have the potential to go on and do great things.
Creating such a learning environment - one that is just, equitable, and embraces the history and experiences of its learners, is not only good for students, but it is also good for our communities and our shared future.
Achieving equity in our public schools means ensuring students of color and those with other diverse identities see themselves reflected and respected in curriculum - in every class, every grade, every day.
Culturally Responsive Education is that vision realized.
Culturally Responsive Education (CRE) connects curriculum and teaching to students’ experiences, perspectives, histories & cultures. It advances students’ academic achievement and sense of themselves as agents for change; and it helps students sustain their connection to their own language, culture and identity while also developing skills to succeed in the dominant culture.
CRE is a method of rigorous, student-centered learning that cultivates critical thinking instead of just test-taking skills; relates academic study to contemporary issues and students’ experiences; fosters positive academic, racial and cultural identities; develops students’ ability to connect across cultures; empowers students and inspires them to fall in love with learning.
What Culturally Responsive Education Can Do
As parents, educators, and community members, we want children to graduate from high school prepared for college and careers and lives of learning and leadership. Many destructive forces can make it difficult to reach these outcomes, however, including the ways that systemic racism, overt and implicit bias play out inside schools, and create a “culture gap” that contributes to the opportunity gap.
Culturally Responsive Education ensures:
Schools hold community forums to hear from parents, youth, teachers and school leaders about their vision and ideas for culturally responsive curriculum and teaching
Schools create systems for monitoring and accountability to ensure that culturally responsive curriculum, professional development and instruction is of the highest quality and produces positive student outcomes
Schools mandate ongoing training and support for teachers and school leaders on culturally responsive teaching, as well as on the diverse student populations that they teach, and restorative practices
Schools are teaching curriculum that reflects the histories and backgrounds of students, in every course, starting in the earliest grades
Schools have a curriculum that is hands-on, experiential, connected with students’ lives and identities, and include native and indigenous cultures
Schools, pre-K to 12th grade, offer dual language programs or opportunities for students to learn more than one language, and recruit/train bilingual teachers to provide those classes
Schools and classroom libraries reflect diverse cultures, languages, religions and stories
Schools develop culturally responsive curriculum with teams of teachers in each subject and grade level, in collaboration with families, students and community elders
Research shows that students who see positive representations of themselves in their curriculum have improved educational outcomes. And for students of color as well as white students, CRE decreases dropout rates and suspensions, increases student participation, confidence, academic achievement and graduation rates.