A Policy Manifesto for Antiracist Teacher Professional Development

A Policy Manifesto for Antiracist Teacher Professional Development

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-5649-8.ch006
OnDemand PDF Download:
Available
$33.75
List Price: $37.50
10% Discount:-$3.75
TOTAL SAVINGS: $3.75

Abstract

The authors believe that the de-racialization of teacher professional development is as harmful to teachers as the deprofessionalization of teachers, leaving them without the tools needed to attend to the basic and unmet needs of Students of Color, immigrant students, low-income students, as well as of affluent white students. Teacher educators, administrators, and policy makers should invest in sustained and broadly applied antiracist practices and policies as a matter of public self-interest. To extend Kendi's notion of antiracist educational policies, the authors suggest a spectrum of small “p” and big “P” policies that address the uniqueness of schools as institutions of learning and human development, where children are sorted early by skin color and family income to their “assigned” school. The authors offer this chapter as both a call to action and an invitation to collaborate to create and broaden antiracist teacher professional development.
Chapter Preview

There is no such thing as a single-issue struggle because we do not live single issue lives. --Audre Lorde (February 1982)

Education...is the practice of freedom. The means by which men and women deal critically and creatively with reality and discover how to participate in the transformation of their world. --Paolo Friere (2000, pg. 34)

Top

Introduction

To begin this chapter, we revisit Ibram Kendi (2019) on racism, assimilationism, and antiracism as related to schooling. White supremacy defined by the Merriam- Webster dictionary is the belief that the white race is better than all other races and should have control over all other races. (Merriam Webster, 2019).” While there is no scientific support for the idea that there are differential “races” among humans (e.g., Gannon, 2016), there is ample evidence of the social belief in race as a descriptor of people. In the United States people who are defined as “white” are positioned as the dominant political and economic actors. Kendi (2019a) defines racism as support for policies, actions, inactions, and expressions that support these racial hierarchies. In his terminology, antiracism is manifest in support for policies, actions, inactions, and expressions that dismantle racial hierarchies (p. 9). Assimilationism positions “any racial group as the superior standard that another racial group should be measured against, the benchmark they should be trying to reach”. (Kendi, p. 29). Racial inequity is evidence of two or more racial groups standing on unequal footing, such that one can predict and measure winners based on their racial assignment (Kendi, 2019 b). To Kendi’s point, “every policy in every institution in every community in every nation is producing or sustaining either racial inequity or equity between racial groups” (Kendi, 2019 p. 18). These terms offer no clearer descriptions of schools in the United States, given the national, state level, and school district statistics on student academic achievement, school leaving, school disciplinary outcomes, college attainment, and so on as disaggregated by “race.”

We believe, as Srivastava (2007), that antiracist education and professional development “enable us to see that racism is learned and therefore can be unlearned” (p. 302) and that it is possible to foster an influential association between knowledge and conduct. While we have witnessed teachers’ capacities to be equity warriors (Rochmes, Penner & Loeb, 2017), we also believe that P-12 classroom teachers cannot and should not be left alone to do the work of dismantling 500 years of institutional racism. We argue that the de-racialization of teacher professional development is as harmful to teachers as the deprofessionalization of teachers, leaving them without the tools needed to attend to the basic and unmet needs of Students of Color, immigrant students, and low-income students, as well as of affluent “white” students. Antiracist teacher professional development may offer teachers the skills and tools for making progress if teacher educators, administrators, and policy makers invest in sustained and broadly applied practices and policies as a matter of public self-interest.

Complete Chapter List

Search this Book:
Reset