Joint Statement on the Importance of a Culturally Responsive Education
The Connecticut State Department of Education, Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents, Connecticut Association of Boards of Education, Connecticut Association of Schools, American Federation of Teachers Connecticut, and Connecticut Education Association are committed to the Connecticut State Board of Education’s goal of improving the academic lives of Connecticut’s increasingly diverse student body. This includes sustaining equitable and welcoming learning environments in which all students feel valued, respected, and safe to learn and grow.
This diversity, which represents a multitude of backgrounds and identities encompassing race, gender, gender identity or expression, religion, nationality, status of citizenship, and sexual orientation, is a strength to be celebrated. In response to challenges to our public education system, and to continue the mission of advancing opportunity for all, it is our shared priority to affirm, value, and leverage this diversity as an asset embodied and mirrored in teaching and learning.
Education must continue evolving to remain relevant to, and reflective of, students’ social, cultural, and linguistic backgrounds to assist in the development of their lifelong respect and compassion for themselves, their classmates, their communities, and the world around them. Engaging in inquiry-based learning that broadens students’ appreciation of perspectives beyond their own results in stronger motivation, open-mindedness, and critical thinking skills.
We want our students to graduate as responsible, well-rounded, and productive citizens who are ready to engage with others and thrive in our interconnected, diverse global society. Our students are best served when empowered with the tools to understand and investigate the countless lived experiences that exist in the world around them.
To ensure the well-being of and positive life outcomes for Connecticut’s students, we pledge ourselves to carrying out the following:
• Building a culturally sustaining and responsive education system that fosters our children’s cultural awareness and development.
• Cultivating authentic relationships with all members of a school community, including culturally diverse families, via two-way, reciprocal conversations around the development of curriculum, instructional methods, and expectations for student learning.
• Supporting the State Board of Education’s 2020 Position Statement on Culturally Responsive Education – updated from 2011 – which strongly encourages public school districts to adopt policies that demonstrate their commitment to all students because we know there is a greater impact on student outcomes when we meet them with culturally and socially relevant content that resonates.
• Aligning and providing resources, guidance, and support to districts to continue developing and implementing policies, procedures, and relevant curricula that affirm their students’ identity and their sense of belonging.
We believe and fully support fostering inclusive and culturally responsive educational environments that welcome, respect, and acknowledge the individual identities of all members of a school community as a cornerstone of preparing each and every student to succeed in college, career, and civic life.
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