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[Education News]
Kate McDonough, Director, Dignity in Schools Campaign-NY: “Creating an equitable school system means ensuring that young people can see themselves reflected in the curriculum, now is the time to create the schools young people deserve.”
Photo: Facebook

NYC School Chancellor Carranza is said to be trying to introduce cultural diversity to curriculum of schools in the city.

Yesterday Black, Latinx and Immigrant parents from the NYC Coalition for Educational Justice (CEJ) stood with New York City School Chancellor Richard Carranza in support of diversifying the NYC 365 booklist and the addition of parent input and a new Culturally Responsive Education Fellows program to assist teachers in adjusting their existing curriculums to be culturally responsive.

In a report released earlier this year CEJ exposed how deep the lack of representation goes in curriculum and booklists used in NYC public schools.

Stats from current New York City curriculum and booklist:

* 85% of students in NYC are students of color, 41% Latinx, 26% Black and 16% Asian but 84% authors in elementary curriculum are white.

* The DOE’s elementary school booklist has 140 books and 118 are by white authors.

* There is a high likelihood, a student of color can graduate 5th grade having almost never read a book by an author of their own cultural background; Latinx and Asian students can graduate elementary school having almost never read a book about someone of their cultural background.

* By the time a student is in the 5th grade odds are they would have read more books with animals as characters than people of color as characters.

* Of the 82 books in the K-5th grade Great Minds curriculum, there is only one Asian author.

* In the DOE’s 365 booklist there were more books feature cover characters with animals than cover characters with Latinx, Black, Asian and Native peoples combined.

We applaud Chancellor Carranza’s efforts to create a school system free from racism and oppression in all of its forms. This is yet another major step forward, but there is more to do. To get even closer to systemic, citywide change there must be a high quality, culturally responsive curriculum in the hands of every teacher, from 3K through 12th grade. Culturally responsive education must be in every class, every grade and every day.

“It was only 45 years ago that young people with disabilities in New York City were not legally entitled to an education, and many young people with developmental disabilities lived in institutions like Willowbrook. With curriculum focusing on cultural responsive sustaining education, 1.1M students and 80,000+ school staff members will learn about the young history of special education. As a result, our school system will see students with disabilities differently, and people must be seen in order for others to change their views and expectations of them,” said Lori Podvesker, Director of Disability and Education Policy at INCLUDEnyc.

“Creating an equitable school system means ensuring that young people can see themselves reflected in the curriculum, now is the time to create the schools young people deserve,” said Kate McDonough, Director, Dignity in Schools Campaign-NY.

“We support the Chancellor’s announcement today about creating a more diverse book list, and developing a group of teachers who are expert in CRE and can teach other teachers. Now it is urgent that we have a new curriculum as well. Today we immigrants are under attack from the government and our children feel invisible because nobody talks about where they are from or how they feel,” said Consuelo de León, Public School Parent from Make the Road NY.

"It is important to understand that having diverse books gives children more opportunities to read by having more books that will interest them and hear stories that reflect their own personal experience. But reading about another culture gives them the opportunity to be more open about the world that is around them and most of all learn to respect one another for who they are and where they come from, and empathize with," said Grisel Cardona, District 75, District 9 and NYC Coalition for Educational Justice Parent Leader.

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