We are called to teach with high-expectations and clear objectives, using standards-based curriculum with backwards planning for heterogeneous student populations.
While many people think that they are not prejudiced or bigoted because they are much more open to diversity than the preceding generation, the truth is that openness to diversity has taken an underground route in the muddy water of pity and self-respect. It is a suffocating combination, is it not? Low expectations, ‘willing to meet people halfway’ when the other side has no idea of what your halfway point might be and could care less about finding out, subjective grading on curriculums with a hidden agenda understood only by one learning style in one cultural group are all versions of the same theme. The word ‘embedded’ is not a good sign.
Our urban children are truly diverse and multicultural. Many are learning the English language. In Minneapolis Public Schools 1/5 of the student population spoke 55 different languages (2009). We are not a homogeneous society, we are a heterogeneous society and we need curriculum that deeply understands this fact and is designed for the success of multicultural students. All teachers must become reading teachers. Math teachers need to teach the reading and vocabulary of the math lesson before they teach the math. It is not just words our students need, they need the words around the words.
For the first time in history, we have standards upon which to base our curriculum, our instruction and our assessment, all aligned as anyone would understand to be only logical. With standards based education we can all be clear about what it is we are teaching. This is not ‘narrowing the curriculum.’ This is being fair. Such a simple thought! The work of our lifetime to achieve!