Meeting the challenge of educating all students within the U.S. has taken on a new meaning in this age of accountability. There is a plethora of data that points to a crisis that is neither silent nor invisible. One example includes dropout rates which are high for all students, but when we look at data for our culturally and linguistically diverse students in particular, we find that our nation’s schools have failed to hold on to more than 50% of all students who are African American, Latino, and/or Native American (Orfield, Losen, Wald, & Swanson, 2004; Swanson, 2004). Improvement efforts at many of these schools have focused on technical pedagogical solutions that have come up short on impacting national trends. A better approach includes systemic, comprehensive, and transformative interventions embraced simultaneously by educators at all levels of the school system. This chapter, focuses on culturally responsive education, emphasizes the need for educators to understand and build upon cultural identity in order to embrace the key features of culturally responsive education. The content will assist readers in applying their new knowledge to begin planning for and creating everyday culturally responsive practices within their own settings.
Keywords: Beliefs, cultural identity, empowered, systemic change, values, education, power, privilege, inclusive, responsive, leadership, equitable opportunities, disposition, equitable access, outcomes.