Joe Biden Promises Education Justice--Will He Deliver?
In December 2019, the Schott Foundation co-hosted a first-of-its-kind presidential candidate forum in Pittsburgh. Seven leading contenders for the Democratic nomination directly faced questions from students, parents, and educators. Joe Biden was among them.
Native American Heritage Month is a time to celebrate the rich and diverse culture, traditions, histories, and often ignored contributions of Native people. Nationally, only 2 percent of teachers identify as American Indian or Alaskan Native. Educators can work to ensure their curriculum is culturally responsive by incorporating content representing Ingenious peoples’ histories and cultures--which are often underrepresented in American history. These resources can help educators do just that.
The most recent protests for the Black Lives Matter movement, and racial justice consequently led to positive changes for Native Peoples - renaming the Washington NFL team, exposure of medical racism in Indian Country, and the removal of racist monuments. TheIllumiNATIVE Projectacknowledges this as good momentum to continue to do the work of undoing the centuries of settler colonialism's erasure. “Invisibility creates a void that is filled with toxic and negative stereotypes that have been perpetuated and institutionalized by K-12, pop culture, media, and other sectors. These harmful stereotypes have been used to justify racist campaigns and slurs, build pipelines on sacred lands, and pass policies that negatively impact our sovereignty and our communities.” Their "Reclaim Native Truth" project, a $3.3 million public opinion research and strategy setting initiative, resulted in comprehensive data and learning about the challenges and opportunities that Native Americans face in educating Americans and changing public perceptions. Here are their top findings:
Invisibility is the modern form of bias against Native Americans;
The majority of Americans know little to nothing about Native Americans;
Many Americans are not clear how many Native peoples still exist;
Invisibility is one of the biggest barriers Native peoples face in advocating for tribal sovereignty, equity & social justice;
Stereotypes and myths inform many Americans that all Native Americans receive federal government benefits and are enriching themselves off of tribal gaming;
Many of the judges and law clerks interviewed admitted to knowing little about tribal sovereignty and Federal Indian Law; and
Findings show how invisibility, erasure, stereotypes, and false narratives underlie the stories being told right now about Native people in the 21st century.
Here is the opportunity and hope moving forward:
78% of Americans are interested in learning more about Native cultures and that strong majorities support Native positions on most issues;
72% of Americans support significant changes to K-12 curricula to ensure accurate Native history and culture is taught in schools; and
78% of Americans polled support increased representation and inclusion of Native Americans in entertainment.
Connecticut's Department of Education is preparing to review and approve a new Black and Latinx history curriculum for all public schools in the state. Last year Connecticut passed a law requiring schools to offer the course. When the new curriculum is approved next month, it will reportedly be the first statewide Black and Latinx history course in the country.It will be required in schools in the fall of 2022.
Please note that the articles and events in the NCTR E-Blast do not reflect the opinions of our organization, but rather represent information that we believe will be relevant to you and your programs.