By A’Breya Young
Our nation’s schools are a melting pot of cultural differences and diverse backgrounds. This presents a demand for creating a culture of inclusion in schools that represents various subcultures rather than specific groups. Mainstream media seems to have caught on to the revolution of “I Am Somebody” with their display of gender, race, and ethnic equality. However, our schools continue to grapple with diversifying curriculums that embody varying backgrounds and that includes the rich history of minorities that helped make our world what it is today. Whether deliberate or turning a blind eye, traditional school curriculum has been whitewashed, crippled our educational system from reaching its full potential and contributed to teachers’ inadequacies with regards to equity and cultural sensitivity.
According to Oxford Languages, equity is defined as “the quality of being fair and impartial.” An example of this is disparities in the quality of education that minority students receive versus that of their white counterparts. The subject of inequality in education has a history of being taboo and one that few have the bravery to approach. However, no matter its complexity, if there is any chance of restoring the breach that inequity has created in student achievement, undiversified curriculums and culturally insensitive instruction must be put on the table for discussion. The classroom is a good place to begin and a safe place for active discourse surrounding this specific content.
Students and teachers have long noticed how textbooks lack the history and experiences of peoples of color. Moreover, this matter significantly affects how teachers connect with their students and make it difficult to properly differentiate instruction. Professional development opportunities for teachers related to being culturally sensitive will no doubt bridge gaps in student achievement. However, creating space for healthy discourse with students and their families will give teachers and educational leaders a comprehensive perspective of what an inclusive curriculum looks like. Furthermore, it will also support student engagement in the classroom and create better relationships between teachers and students.
There is a saying that it takes a village. This cannot be truer as it relates to equity in education. All parts of the village need to be involved and recognized. We need all stakeholders involved to take part in the revitalization of curriculum and inclusion. Our nation’s future is at stake as this generation of students will be those who make decisions for the lives in our country and those of our allies. Therefore, let us keep in mind that it all begins with education—the key to liberty and the pursuit of happiness.