Find your next job fast at the Jan. 28 Virtual Career Fair. Register now.
Opinion
Curriculum Letter to the Editor

Curriculum as a Lever for Racial Equity

November 17, 2020 1 min read

To the Editor:

The special report “Big Ideas for Confronting Racism in Education” (Sept. 23, 2020) highlighted essential ingredients for creating anti-racist schools, including better teacher preparation, expanded anti-bias training, and universal internet access, among others.

Another powerful lever for change is culturally sustaining curriculum when it connects the present to the past and reflects and honors students’ identities and the diversity of our schools. For too long, we’ve relied on individual teachers to create lessons that pay down the debt created by the erasure of communities of color from the curriculum. This approach isn’t sustainable and often puts the burden of curriculum development on educators of color rather than on publishers and school districts. What’s more, while representation is important, it’s not enough.

Culturally sustaining curriculum presents ideas and concepts that are authentic to students’ traditions and experiences. For example, Appalachian, Latinx, and women’s histories are equally valid and worthy of study, and students should have the opportunity to explore how events and great thinkers associated with these groups shape the present.

Today’s students are more diverse than ever, and they are growing up during a time of unprecedented economic upheaval and a long-overdue reckoning on racial injustice. With many school buildings still closed, culturally sustaining curriculum is an important way to keep students engaged in learning by acknowledging their identities and making school relevant to their lives.

Evan Gutierrez

Managing Director of Curriculum & Assessment

Gradient Learning

Detroit, Mich.

Related Tags:

A version of this article appeared in the November 18, 2020 edition of Education Week as Curriculum as a Lever for Racial Equity

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
Branding Matters. Learn From the Pros Why and How
Learn directly from the pros why K-12 branding and marketing matters, and how to do it effectively.
Content provided by EdWeek Top School Jobs
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
How to Make Learning More Interactive From Anywhere
Join experts from Samsung and Boxlight to learn how to make learning more interactive from anywhere.
Content provided by Samsung
Teaching Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table With Education Week: How Educators Can Respond to a Post-Truth Era
How do educators break through the noise of disinformation to teach lessons grounded in objective truth? Join to find out.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

BASE Program Site Director
Thornton, CO, US
Adams 12 Five Star Schools
Director of Information Technology
Montpelier, Vermont
Washington Central UUSD
Great Oaks AmeriCorps Fellow August 2021 - June 2022
New York City, New York (US)
Great Oaks Charter Schools
Director of Athletics
Farmington, Connecticut
Farmington Public Schools

Read Next

Curriculum 6 Ways to Help Students Make Sense of the Capitol Siege
A week after the attack on the U.S. Capitol, teachers are helping students figure out how the country got to this point.
15 min read
Image of the Capitol building shown in a rearview mirror.
Macrocosm Photography/E+
Curriculum Theater Educators Struggle to Keep Shows Going Amid COVID-19
Convinced that the show must go on, high school theater troupes are turning to livestreamed shows, outdoor performances, and radio plays.
8 min read
Wearing masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19, students from New Albany (Ind.) High School perform the musical “Bright Star” earlier this year.
Wearing masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19, students from New Albany (Ind.) High School perform the musical “Bright Star” earlier this year.
Photo courtesy of Crit Fisher
Curriculum What Should Students Learn in Sex Education? In This State, Voters Will Decide
Washington voters will consider a statewide mandate for comprehensive sex education.
6 min read
sex ed SOC 2
iStock/Getty
Curriculum Does Social Studies Build Stronger Readers? A New Study Suggests So
Spending 30 more minutes per day on social studies in elementary school is linked with better reading performance by the end of 5th grade, according to a new study.
3 min read