Cal State Fullerton’s College of Education faculty members are rising up to promote anti-racist teaching and learning.
In response to African Americans killed by police across the country and the disproportionate rate of COVID-19 infections among Black and Latinx communities, the Department of Secondary Education is offering a free webinar series this fall semester to address underlying racist policies and practices that exist in schools, said Natalie Tran, chair of secondary education and professor of educational leadership.
The webinars, open to teachers, teacher candidates, faculty and community members, focus on dismantling racist policies, practices and ideas that influence schools, teachers and children, and most importantly, on taking actions that address anti-racist teaching.
“We are in the business of creating anti-racist teachers and educational leaders who can create healthy classrooms where African American and Latinx students can thrive,” said Antoinette Linton, associate professor of secondary education and facilitator of the webinar series. Etta Hollins, professor emeritus in the School of Education at University of Missouri-Kansas City, is a consultant on the webinar series.
The College of Education's teacher preparation and degree programs center on just, equitable and inclusive education, and anti-racist teaching is an integral part of this work.
Linton explained that Ibram X. Kendi, a scholar of race and discriminatory policy, defines anti-racist teaching practice as “One who is supporting an anti-racist policy through their actions or expressing an anti-racist idea.”
College of Education faculty members, as well as guest educators, will discuss a range of topics in the webinars, such as the history of activism in education, creating curriculum that doesn’t harm children of color, developing teacher identity grounded in anti-racism and anti-racist distance learning. (See related story)
Linton, subject area coordinator for secondary science and a former high school biology teacher, hopes that the webinars create spaces for the college and the community to work together to talk about policies and practices that perpetuate racism, including teacher practices, and present opportunities for all involved to come up with solutions, new policies and new practices that actively deconstruct white privilege.
“Many of our secondary education faculty members have years and decades of experience with this type of work, placing us in a position to support anti-racist, social justice, sociocultural practices and policies, and just, equitable and inclusive education,” Linton said.
Online Anti-Racist Resources
The college also launched a new website with curated resources — from videos, articles and podcasts — to promote anti-racist teaching and learning. The resources, available to educators, future teachers, students, parents, school partners and the community, aim to dismantle racist policies and practices that negatively impact schools, teachers and children, said Kim Case, associate dean of the college.
“With just, equitable and inclusive education at the core of what we do, we knew it was critical to curate resources so our students, staff and faculty have tools to examine their own beliefs, uncover their unconscious biases and develop an understanding of their role in sustaining or dismantling systemic racism,” Case said.
Some resources provide the historical roots of systemic racism and oppression, while others provide data that highlights present-day disparities, Case noted. Topics range from becoming an ally, white privilege, the arts and activism, how to take action and the Black Lives Matter movement.
“Given recent events, it’s apparent now more than ever that those in a position of power and/or privilege must take action to change the system — and ensure that all children and families have access to a just, equitable and inclusive education,” Case added.
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