Why America needs inclusive curriculums and diverse educators

Over the past few years, our conversations related to critical race theory, book bans, and inclusive curriculum have shifted to thinking about the impact on students. Creating inclusive and welcoming spaces for students to understand who they and others are is critical to ensuring they are prepared for a diverse and global workforce.

When we consider the impact of curriculum decisions, we must also consider teachers and school leaders and their ability to feel a sense of belonging in the classroom as they work to prepare students across differences and prepare them for life outside the classroom. Inclusion The curriculum provides students with the ability to learn and understand a variety of perspectives, and they are also valued and celebrated.

The Hunter Institute leads the 1 Million Teachers of Color campaign with seven partners. Our goal is to increase the number of teachers of color by 1 million and the number of leaders of color by 30,000 over the next decade. This is an important goal that will require parents, local, state and territorial leaders, and policymakers to work together to ensure our classrooms are representative of the students we serve.

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It has not been forgotten by me or my colleagues that this program is nuanced by many factors; faculty salaries, resources and licensure, etc., and many obstacles. Faculty capable of teaching inclusive lessons is also a retention technique. Imagine having a classroom where the history and culture of yourself or others in the school or your classroom cannot be taught or discussed. A lack of inclusion often leads to teachers feeling undervalued in their schools. District leaders should ensure that all educators receive bias training and provide a space to learn more about dismantling systems that create barriers for teachers of color.

Ultimately, creating inclusive classroom spaces benefits both students and teachers and provides them with opportunities to create practices and lessons that are relevant to the communities and classrooms they serve. As policymakers and district leaders make decisions related to curriculum standards, it is important to remember that representation matters. Promoting culturally responsive education helps make learning more relevant and supports students and teachers in engaging learners to enhance their understanding of diverse populations and perspectives.

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Creating spaces for educators to develop professionally that lead to more inclusive classroom practices is critical to recruiting and retaining teachers and leaders of color. Policymakers should strive to invest in appropriate materials and training, and ensure materials are representative of the communities they serve. Monitoring and collecting data to track the diversity of the educator workforce is also important for developing intentional policy recommendations aimed at increasing the retention of educators of color.

Hiring teachers and school leaders who are proficient in culturally responsive curriculum is one strategy for improving or implementing measures that address inclusive curriculum and classroom practices. Research shows that the practice itself benefits all students, and that’s what matters most. Banning educators from delivering inclusive education defeats the whole purpose of preparing students for success. Limiting their ability to learn and engage with differences is important to ensuring the success of our education system.

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Our work at The Hunt Institute aims to engage lawmakers from both parties to foster dialogue that advances equity in education. Conversations about educator diversity and culturally relevant curriculum are critical to our work and to preparing today’s students.

Helping students and educators understand the most important part of who they are is not only creates a welcoming learning environment, but makes everyone feel valued and included in the most important aspect of their development – education.

Dr. Javaid Siddiqi is the President and Chief Executive Officer of The Hunt Institute. With more than two decades of educational experience, he has served as a teacher, principal, school board member, and secretary of education for the Commonwealth of Virginia.


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