Research cites 'Cultural Proficiency' as today’s most promising...
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Press release writing sample - Sociedad Latina

Published on: Mar 3, 2016

Transcripts - Press release writing sample - Sociedad Latina

  • 1. NEW STUDY URGES SCHOOLS TO INTEGRATE CULTURE AND EDUCATION Research cites 'Cultural Proficiency' as today’s most promising approach for reducing achievement gap June 22, 2011 – Boston, Mass. – A new report released by Sociedad Latina and the University of Massachusetts’ Mauricio Gastón Institute for Latino Community Development and Public Policy calls on Massachusetts schools to formally integrate the diverse cultures of students into classroom instruction, describing this culturally proficient education reform as the most promising approach for reducing the persistent achievement gap among students of color (full report at “Cultural Proficiency” is defined as the ability of educators to successfully serve youth of all cultural backgrounds, particularly those from racially, ethnically, linguistically, or economically marginalized groups. Educators should be able to recognize cultural differences, understand how they play out in the educational process, and adapt school policies and practices so they are meaningful and productive educationally for children of all cultural groups within the school. The report, “Cultural Proficiency in Education: A Review of the Literature focused on Teachers, School Leaders, and Schools,” reviews dozens of studies nationwide to highlight current scholarly knowledge of Cultural Proficiency in schools. Despite strong evidence backing a culturally proficient approach to education reform, Massachusetts regulatory approaches to reform rarely include mechanisms for promoting Cultural Proficiency. One promising effort is a new recommendation from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education that includes Cultural Proficiency in teacher evaluations, however challenges remain for implementation without clear standards or training for teachers. For the past year, Sociedad Latina’s Youth Community Organizers have campaigned for culturally proficient education reform through their Initiative for Cultural Proficiency in Boston Public Schools. This report is part of the campaign, which has already seen victories including the appropriation of an additional $10 million in the BPS budget for English Language Learner support; maintaining ELL classroom student-to-teacher ratios at 20:1; and a Cultural Proficiency professional development requirement at 12 schools. "We are working to break the stereotypes and represent all of our cultures in the education system," said Youth Community Organizer Jhoannette Arias. Current Youth Community Organizer demands for BPS include a new youth task force to make recommendations on Cultural Proficiency standards and revisions to curriculum, more bilingual and multicultural teachers, and Cultural Proficiency training for all teachers. Given the educational disparities experienced by cultural- and linguistic-minority children, the report calls for comprehensive public policy intervention. Rather than expecting students and families to accommodate to school cultural structures and norms, school leaders and teachers should welcome cultural and language differences and be prepared to integrate cultural knowledge into academic activities. By creating institutional mechanisms for accountability, regulatory approaches can ensure equal access to quality education, foster a more diverse pool of teachers, and incentivize schools to make progress. Specifically, the report recommends: (1) Establishing a set of standards for the development of a culturally proficient K-12 education curriculum; (2) Including a Department of Elementary and Secondary Education funding allocation to develop partnerships with institutions that train teachers and community organizations like Sociedad Latina that support the educational aspirations of children and their families; and (3) Mandating performance measurements to assess progress toward Cultural Proficiency. ### Since 1968, Sociedad Latina has been working in partnership with Latino youth to cultivate the next generation of leaders by providing empowering educational, cultural, workforce development, and community engagement programming. 1530 Tremont St. Roxbury, MA 02120 ● (617) 442-4299 ● Fax (617) 442-4087 ● We are a nonprofit tax-exempt organization. ● Sociedad Latina es una organización sin fines de lucro

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