Top 2023 Articles Spotlighted Culturally Relevant Curriculum

Dec 15, 2023 2:07:36 PM


At the end of another trip around the sun, a review of the most-read articles published by Ed Post reveals that educators and advocates are working on issues that have been top of mind for years.

Change takes a long time, a reality Martin Luther King Jr. described best when he said, "The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” This truth feels like a natural law in the education world, where we see evidence of progress, but the end of the arc is difficult to see. Ed Post is a platform for education advocates to promote solutions and trumpet calls to action that move us toward justice.


EXPLAINED: The Truth About Critical Race Theory and How It Shows Up in Your Child’s Classroom

Many people react to discussions of Critical Race Theory with anger, but arguments consistently show that few of the loudest voices grasp what CRT includes and the change it promotes. With that in mind, it's reassuring that readers found their way to a detailed breakdown of CRT's history, purpose, and influence on a school's curriculum. 

"... For school systems that have operated the same way for decades, these are big changes. There are some who would like to see less change and believe that the steps above are forcing a new worldview on their kids—even calling it “indoctrination.” In IdahoFloridaArkansas and Tennessee, for instance, state governments are acting out of direct concern that critical race theory is at the root of these changes. 

And about that, they might be right. They needn’t worry that grade-schoolers will start reading legal texts and academic monographs, but the critical race theory movement certainly has played a huge role in the broader reexamination of our society through the lens of race and racial oppression. And schools are a big part of that."


EXPLAINED: What's an IEP and How to Ensure Your Child's Needs Are Met

This article isn't a dramatic read, but the simplified description of a complicated and sensitive topic is undoubtedly appreciated by people who encounter Individual Education Plans. 

"If you have a child with disabilities, you’re not alone: According to the latest data, over 7 million American schoolchildren — 14% of all students ages 3-21 — are classified as eligible for special education services. With this classification comes a set of rights, codified in federal law through the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA), that your school district guarantees to your child. While parents generally advocate for their children, parents of students with disabilities have to advocate a little harder. Here is a set of questions and answers to help you secure what your child needs to thrive."


Is There a ‘Science of Math’ Too?

Alarm bells have been ringing about the state of reading and math education in American schools for years. The bells were upgraded to blaring sirens when NAEP report cards were released last year, confirming the damaging learning losses caused by the pandemic. Some educators feel math scores will only recover if we fundamentally change how we instruct students. 

“Take every single thing that’s been written about the science of reading, and hit ‘find/replace’ for math,” said Sarah Powell, associate professor of special education at the University of Texas, Austin.  She also leads a group of psychologists, cognitive scientists and math educators committed to evidence-based instruction, called, fittingly, The Science of Math. “Just as we know there are foundational skills in reading, there is the same thing in math. Schools have been swayed by sexy practices, but that’s not how people learn.”


EXPLAINED: What Is "Title I" and How Is It Used to Fund Our Schools?

Do you understand everything that factors into your school's funding? Odds are you probably don't, and that puts you in the majority among your neighbors, but it also means it's easy to be misled about funding allocated to help low-income students break out of the cycle of poverty. Title I is a target for conservative lawmakers who are stumping for steep cuts. This article lays out the fiscal lifeline Title I provides for schools in plain detail. 

"When national politicians and lobbyists argue we should spend more money on K-12 education, they’re almost always talking about increasing allocations for a federal funding stream called “Title I,” which supplements state and local education funding for low-income students. 

Indeed, in July, the House Appropriations Committee passed a bill that would allot $36 billion in order to address vast proficiency gaps that primarily affect children from needy households. Along with the three pandemic rescue packages passed earlier this year, this education budget will double how much the federal government typically spends in a fiscal year, providing the biggest boost ever for American schools." 


EXPLAINED: What Are Standardized Tests and Why Do We Need Them?

A growing number of higher-education institutions no longer require students to have a standardized test score when they apply. That decision is a step in the right direction for many educational equity advocates. However, the problem isn't necessarily that we test students; the problem is how we do it—one of many aspects of the issue addressed in this explainer.

"Current standardized tests, while vital for improving learning gaps, are stuck in the Stone Age. In order to minimize the time and money spent on assessments, state education systems need to invest in innovating our testing infrastructure. The technology is there to automatically grade essay questions but we don’t use it. The technology is there to customize test questions to individual students’ level of proficiency but we don’t use it. The technology is there to turn around test results within 24 hours but we don’t use it."


Parents, You Think You Know Critical Race Theory, But You Have No Idea

The outrage surrounding Critical Race Theory has a real-life impact on students and teachers. A veteran educator and regular advocate on Ed Post, Kwame Sarfo-Mensah, felt fed up with false narratives, and his impassioned commentary closes the door on what shouldn't be in the discussion.

"... critical race theory does provide much-needed context and justifies why Black history, as well as the experiences of other historically marginalized groups in America, should be taught extensively in our schools. It also provides context for the discriminatory policies that continue to disenfranchise Black students. By denouncing this theory, you are also disregarding the intersectional struggles and realities of Black folx in America."


Here Are 8 Things That Make a Good School

Another regular voice on Ed Post, Shawnta Barnes, is a dedicated education professional with years of experience in research and the classroom. Her conscientious perspective provides invaluable insight for people who want to determine if their school is "good." 

"Educators have difficulty agreeing upon what makes a “good school.” My thoughts about this topic have continued to change as I progressed through K-12, earned my bachelor’s degree, began teaching, returned to school to earn my master’s degree, and then became a parent with children in school. Each of these experiences has shaped, changed, developed and further defined my ideas of a good school. I believe as my children continue to progress through the education system, my thoughts will continue to evolve. However, I also believe there should be some non-negotiables for all educators and parents."

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Renowned Diversity Educator Jane Elliott Discusses 'Jane Crow Education'

Martin Luther King Jr. assured us that justice eventually wins out. The day after his life and participation in the journey along that long arc was cut short by a terrorist, Jane Elliott conducted her famous blue eyes/brown eyes experiment with her all-white class of third graders for the first time. Unfortunately, more than 50 years later, her message remains pertinent for school children struggling to understand America's complicated history. 

Elliott graciously met with Ed Post to talk about the role white women play in education and upholding racist systems. She also shares how to be a true ally in the fight to for a more equitable future.

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Were You Ever Told You Are Not a Math Person?

It's easy to feel defeated in math class. Ed Post readers sounded off on their experiences in the classroom that deeply affected how they felt about a critical part of their education.

"It’s a big deal when educators lie to children about their ability to overcome math problems. But when you get the right teacher, a new universe of possibilities opens. Facebook follower Susan Wallace-Ward shared her experience." 

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28 Essential Black History Books Educators Need to Read

The topic of book bans regularly scorched social media feeds in 2023 and has been the subject of tense school board meetings. With so much discussion about books people don't want you to read, here's a list that can help open eyes, instead of close them.

In celebration of Black History Month and in collaboration with the Center for Black Educator Development, Ed Post curated a list of 28 essential books on Black history and culture that educators need to read.

They offer insight into the historical and present-day hurdles that have long hindered black educators, students, and parents in their quest for high-quality and equitable education.

Ed Post Staff

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