Creating State Education Systems That Value Student Cultures
The last two years disrupted public education systems, but they also highlighted opportunities. Schools and districts can apply the nimbleness they demonstrated during the pandemic to efforts to reconnect and reengage their students. In this moment, state boards of education are in the perfect position to guide schools and districts, not just to a return to normal, but to a system that invites back students’ whole selves through inclusive, culturally relevant practices.
At a time when school systems have reported sharp declines in student enrollment, it is important to recognize that when students are disconnected from school they are disconnected from multiple facets of development. Culturally responsive practice makes use of culture as a basis for engaging and motivating students, and it fosters proactive classroom management and positive student behavior. Such practices also lead to improved academic performance, attendance, credits earned, retention rates, and positive self-identity.
Also In this Issue
State policymakers looking to increase recruitment and retention should keep an eye on these long-term trends.
State statutes impede students' equitable access to profession-ready teachers.
Lowering teacher standards may fail to solve actual pipeline problems and can create new ones.
State leaders have a role in ensuring that educator preparation both models and reflects the science of learning and development.
State leaders commit to efforts to attract and keep teachers in the classroom.
State-level criteria for programs' design can yield better outcomes in preparing and retaining diverse teachers.
State boards can set the stage for learning environments that connect and engage all students.
Four practices to increase the pool of skilled early educators stand out as promising.