We have a diversity problem in our educator pipeline, with over 80% of our teachers being white and more than half of our students being of color. That has a profound impact on students in classrooms and teachers who are thrown into those classrooms unprepared.
So it makes perfect sense that colleges of education should be training teachers to be culturally responsive – building on students’ identities as assets in their learning, choosing empowering materials that reflect our diversity, and reaching out to families and communities to partner on children’s education.
The three-year-long process to adopt these new Culturally Responsive Teaching and Leading (CRTL) Standards culminated last week, as a legislative panel approved the Rules put forth by the State Board of Education.
Now that the rules are final, we need to thank the members of the committee who supported culturally relevant teaching standards. With one click, add your voice and say thank you for standing with Illinois teachers and students.
All Illinois teachers need to be prepared for the challenges they may face, and that includes making sure they are prepared to be culturally responsive. The new rules can help bridge the gap between teachers, students, and families in a caring and culturally respectful way.
You can learn more about the CRTL Standards in our recent blog post. It gets in the weeds and offers a little more background and detail on the Standards and how we got here.
Children learn better and families engage more when they feel welcome, safe, empowered, and respected. Teacher retention improves when teacher training adequately prepares them for the challenges they will face in classrooms. Cultural competency is a critical ingredient for all of this. I’m grateful to ISBE and the legislators on the panel who stepped up and made it happen.