Plan to Make Schools “Culturally Responsible” | NBC Connecticut

Plan to Make Schools “Culturally Responsible”

Plan is to close the educational achievement gap.

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    391429 06: A young student in Ms. McFaul''s second grade Early Intervention Bilingual class looks closely at a math exam during a summer school June 3, 2001 at Brentano Academy in Chicago. More than half of Chicago''s 430,000 public school students must attend summer school this year before they can go on to the next grade, Chicago Public School officials say. Former Chicago schools chief Paul Vallas said about 245,000 pupils failed to score high enough on the Iowa Tests of Basic Skills to be promoted. (Photo by Tim Boyle/Getty Images)

    Lessons taught in Connecticut schools should reach students of all races and ethnic backgrounds, Connecticut school officials believe, and the state Board of Education is considering creating a policy to make this a formal part of education.

    A plan in the works would mean that more discussion topics, books and classroom activities would go beyond reflecting just the culture of the 65 percent of students who are white.

    While it is not clear what this policy entails, an article in the Connecticut Birth to Three System newsletter recommends adapting activities and services to respond to the cultural and ethnic diversity of a particular individual or community.

    That would mean ensuring that the 17 percent of students who are Hispanic, the 14 percent who are black and those who are Asian, American Indian and other ethnic minorities would be represented as well.

    While the Department of Education has emphasized cultural responsibility for years, a formal policy will be discussed on Wednesday to make "culturally responsive education" a formal part of Connecticut's education philosophy.

    Supporters say this might help narrow the achievement gap by engaging minority students with whom the topics resonate, and by using test questions with examples relating to their experiences.

     Read more about cultural competence here.