In the context of the increasing number of states imposing restrictions on teaching and classroom content, and given the pressure that many schools and teachers are receiving from a small number of parents about curriculum, I have been thinking a lot about the responsibility we all share for supporting diversity, equity, and inclusion in schools and school curriculum.
There’s great benefit to all of us consistently speaking up proactively and non-defensively about some important and indisputable facts:
- Students of today are more diverse than ever.
- Students are directly impacted by the significant issues of our times.
- Students are harmed by non-inclusive educational environments, by lack of representation, and by gaps and omissions in educational content.
- Students benefit from inclusive education and from thoughtfully taught honest history and current events.
- Prohibiting legitimate educational content has legal implications.
- Teachers know how to teach.
- Students want to learn.
- Students want to make a difference – and are making a difference!
I will be using this page as a place to expand on each of those statements, linking where I can to research, statistics, and articles. My goal is to provide at least a few useful resources in each area for continuing to explore the topics.
This will be an ongoing project, so content will be added fairly regularly If you have suggestions for links to include below in any of the sections, please let me know. Thank you!!
Students of today are more diverse than ever
In every imaginable way, students and families are more diverse than ever. There is no “norm” or “average” or “typical” student or family or life experience. So it’s not “controversial” to have classroom content, curriculum, and conversations that reflect the full range of diversity of student experiences. It’s only controversial not to.
- Article: 6 Facts About America’s Students
- Article: A view of the nation’s future through kindergarten demographics
- Article: Children Are At the Forefront of U.S. Racial and Ethnic Change
- Article: The nation is diversifying even faster than predicted, according to new census data
- Article: Transgender Population Size in the United States
- Article: Younger People Are Less Religious Than Older Ones in Many Countries, Especially in the U.S. and Europe
- Statistics: America’s Children – Race and Hispanic Origin Composition
- Statistics: America’s Children at a Glance
- Statistics: Facts About LGBTQ+ Families
- Statistics: Immigration and Refugees
- Statistics: Kinship Care
- Statistics: Racial/Ethnic Enrollment in Public Schools
- Statistics: Students With Disabilities
- Statistics: What the Data Say About Race, Ethnicity and American Youth
Students are directly impacted by the significant issues of our time.
Kids experience in their daily life the significant issues of our time. When teachers are required to avoid “controversial” topics, they are being required to deny the reality of their students’ lives.
- Article: Children and Racism
- Article: Female imprisonment rates are increasing. So, too, are the number of children with incarcerated parents
- Article: How Climate Change Affects Children
- Article: How Racial Discrimination Impacts Child Health
- Article: How Racism Harms Children
- Article: Kids Are Suffering From Climate Anxiety. It’s Time for Adults to Do Something
- Article: More Than 5 Million Children Have Had an Incarcerated Parent
- Article: Most American Teens Are Frightened by Climate Change
- Article: Most US. LGBT+ Students Face Homophobic or Transphobic Abuse
- Article: New Data Show Stark Racial and Ethnic Difference in Young People’s Healthy Development
- Article: The Basic Facts About Children in Poverty
- Statistics: Child Poverty
- Statistics: Child Poverty
- Statistics: Concentrated Poverty
- Statistics: Facts About Bullying
- Statistics: Food Security
- Statistics: Housing Problems
- Statistics: How Many Students Are Bullied at School?
- Statistics: YouthStats: Environment and Climate Change
Students are harmed by non-inclusive educational environments, by lack of representation, and by gaps and omissions in educational content.
Non-inclusive settings and lack of representation harm students emotionally, physically, socially, and academically. Curriculum gaps and omissions prevent topic mastery and accurate understanding. They also mean fewer opportunities for skill development including problem-solving and critical thinking
- Article: Addressing Racial Inequity in Curriculum and School Culture
- Article: American history textbooks can differ across the country, in ways that are shaded by partisan politics.
- Article: Book Challenges Suppress Diversity
- Article: Conservative activists in Texas have shaped the history all American children learn
- Article: Does Teacher Diversity Matter in Student Learning?
- Article: Ending Curriculum Violence
- Article: Experts fear ban on critical race theory could harm civic education
- Article: Half Of LGBTQI Students Are Bullied At School – But Most Don’t Report It
- Article: How Implicit Bias Impacts Our Children in Education
- Article: How Racism Affects Children of Color in Public Schools
- Article: How Systemic Racism Infiltrates Education
- Article: Schools’ reading lists biased against authors & characters of color: report
- Article: Serious historians are criticizing Trump’s 1776 report. It’s how most U.S. history is already taught.
- Article: Seven Forms of Bias in Instructional Materials
- Article: The Psychology of Belonging (and Why It Matters)
- Article: When Bully Parents Cancel an Author Visit
- Report: Chronically Absent: The Exclusion of People of Color from NYC Elementary School Curricula
- Report: Teaching Hard History
Students benefit from inclusive education and from thoughtfully taught honest history and current events.
Students are empowered by inclusive and supportive education that incorporates accurate, age-appropriate, and non-traumatic instruction and discussion of historical and current events. They develop academically, socially, and emotionally. They gain self confidence, empathy, problem-solving skills, critical thinking skills, depth of knowledge, and civic engagement and community participation skills.
- Article: All Students Need Anti-Racism Education
- Article: Becoming Upended: Teaching and Learning about Race and Racism with Young Children and Their Families
- Article: Books Matter: The Power of Children’s Literature
- Article: Children and Racism: The Importance of Age-Appropriate Listening and Support
- Article: Comprehensive civics education should lead with equity
- Article: Cultivating Youth Engagement: Race & the Behavioral Effects of Critical Pedagogy
- Article: Culturally Responsive Teaching Strategies: Importance, Benefits & Tips
- Article: Developing Citizens: The Impact of Civic Learning Opportunities on Students’ Commitment to Civic Participation
- Article: Diversity in Children’s Literature Key to Understanding Today’s Civil Rights Issues
- Article: Expert: Civics lessons should start in kindergarten. Here’s how to get started
- Article: How Diversity Makes Us Smarter
- Article: Research Suggests Class Discussions of Race Benefit Students
- Article: Students Have a Right and a Need to Read Diverse Books
- Article: Teaching Controversial Issues and Critical Thinking: Evidence of Importance and Outcomes
- Article: The Benefits of Inclusion and Diversity in the Classroom
- Article: Threading the Needle: On Balancing Trauma and Critical Teaching
- Article: Why Representation Matters to BIPOC Teachers and Their Students
- Article: Why We Need Diverse Books
- Letter: Statement on Critical Race Theory by Michael Casserly, Executive Director, Council of the Great City Schools
- Report: How Racially Diverse Schools and Classrooms Can Benefit All Students
- Report: The Importance of Diversity in Library Programs and Material Collections for Children
Prohibiting legitimate educational content has legal implications.
- Article: ACLU Washington State Guide: Free Speech Rights of Public School Teachers in Washington State
- Article: ACLU: Know Your Rights: Students’ Rights
- Article: Critical Race Theory Law Violates Teachers’ Free Speech, ACLU Argues in New Lawsuit
- Article: If Critical Race Theory Is Banned, Are Teachers Protected by the First Amendment?
- Article: Laws Aimed at Critical Race Theory May Face Legal Challenges
- Article: Lawsuits Over Bans on Teaching Critical Race Theory Are Coming
- Article: Legal scholars question Tennessee’s new bill restricting how educators teach about racial injustice
- Article: Right-Wing Campaign to Block Teaching for Social Justice
- Article: Rights of Students
- Article: The First Amendment in Schools
- Article: The Legal Balancing Act Over Public School Curriculum
- Article: The Students Suing for a Constitutional Right to Education
- Article: What Arizona’s 2010 Ban on Ethnic Studies Could Mean for the Fight Over Critical Race Theory
- Article: What Critical Race Theory Is and What It Means for Teachers (includes article sections “Are the anti-CRT laws legal” and “What Can I Do to Address anti-CRT laws”)
- Report: Educational Gag Orders – PEN America Report
- Resource Page: American Library Association: Schools and Minors’ Rights
- Resource Page: National Coalition Against Censorship: The First Amendment in Schools
- Toolkit: Preemption of Critical Race Theory & Other Curriculum Decisions
Teachers know how to teach.
Teachers are trained in teaching methods. They know how to support student growth and learning even when teaching challenging topics. Teaching is their career and their passion. Trust them to teach, and let them!
Longstanding laws and policies already require that classroom instruction and discussion be curriculum-based, age-appropriate, and informational. Teachers are aware of this and teach within these guidelines. They also follow a code of ethics.
- Guide: NEA Code of Ethics for Educators
- Article: The big lesson from the world’s best school system? Trust your teachers
- Article: Want a Positive School Culture? Give Teachers Voice and Choice
- Article: We Must Restore Respect to the Teaching Profession, Nation’s Top Teachers Say
- Article: Where Do Teachers Get the Most Respect?
Students want to learn.
Students are curious and capable and want to understand. Education helps them learn to gather, process, assess, and use information, and to think critically, creatively, and independently.
- Article: Curiosity: The Force Within a Hungry Mind
- Article: New Survey Finds That 83 Percent of Teens Acknowledge That Systemic Racism is an Issue and They Want to be Included in the National Conversation Around Social Justice
- Article: Students Say Teach The Truth
- Article: Why Conversations About Racism Belong in the Classroom
Students want to make a difference – and are making a difference!
Students are fully aware of the world around them, and they are actively working to make a positive difference.
- Article: “I Need People to Hear My Voice”: Teens Protest Racism
- Article: 14 Students Sued Rhode Island Over Civics Education. Now, They’re More Politically Engaged Than Ever
- Article: A Year of Activism: Students Reflect on Their Fight for Racial Justice at School
- Article: America’s classrooms shut down this spring. Civics lessons shifted to the streets.
- Article: California student activists push to lower voting age to advocate for change
- Article: How I Found My Confidence as a Teen Activist
- Article: Indianapolis Public Schools students call for more Asian American history and culture lessons
- Article: Minnesota Students Walk Out of Class to Protest Racial Injustice
- Article: Student Activism on the Rise
- Article: Students take their future into their own hands on climate change activism
- Article: This 13-year-old Organized a Rally for Cross-Racial Solidarity
- Article: Transgender students prevail with school policy in Maryland
- Articles: Youth Organizing in the U.S. (multiple articles featured)