Culturally Responsive Education Resources for Federal, State, and Local Stakeholders

Dec. 14, 2020

What is Culturally Responsive Education?

Culturally responsive education (CRE) is an approach to schooling that promotes student engagement, learning, and achievement by centering their knowledge, cultural backgrounds, and everyday experiences in the classroom. Students who experience CRE engage with academic content in ways that are personally meaningful, build purpose, counter stereotypes, and develop their ability to connect across lines of difference. Other common frameworks that describe this education philosophy include culturally relevant pedagogy, culturally responsive teaching, and culturally sustaining pedagogy (to learn more, see “Understanding Culturally Responsive Teaching”).

Why Culturally Responsive Education?

Schools have a long way to go to deliver welcoming, engaging, and effective learning environments for all students. Indeed, research shows that Black, Indigenous, students of color, and LGBTQ students disproportionately experience teacher biases, punitive discipline, and narrow, decontextualized curriculum. This helps to explain why so many students are less likely to engage and succeed in school. But it does not have to be this way. When educators and education leaders lift up students' cultures, sources of knowledge, and the issues they care about, it can increase their confidence, interest, motivation, and academic success. Culturally responsive teaching also promotes positive racial and ethnic identities, self-esteem, socioemotional well-being, and the ability to overcome discrimination (to learn more, see “5 Ways Culturally Responsive Teaching Benefits Learners”).

New America’s Work

Over the last several years, New America has provided spotlights and recommendations to help policymakers, education leaders, and individual educators foster an aligned and coherent culturally responsive education system.

Teacher Competencies that Promote Culturally Responsive Teaching
Jenny Muñiz
March 28, 2019

As the term culturally responsive education gains popularity, misconceptions have emerged. To promote clarity, New America developed a set of eight core competencies that describe the mindsets, skills, and practices of culturally responsive teachers. From its publication in 2019, the framework has been used by teachers, school districts, nonprofit organizations, teacher preparation programs, and states to bolster culturally responsive teaching practices nationwide.

Culturally Responsive Teaching: A 50-State Survey of Teaching Standards
Jenny Muñiz
March 28, 2019

All 50 states articulate what teachers should know and be able to do using professional teaching standards. These often anchor teacher preparation coursework, pre-service field experiences, licensure assessments, induction programming, systems of evaluation, and professional development offerings. Because of their important role, New America conducted a nationwide scan of professional teaching standards to determine whether these included

Culturally Responsive Teaching: A Reflection Guide
Jenny Muñiz
September 23, 2020

New America published a set of reflection questions that make self-appraisal, goal setting, and critical conversations across the eight culturally responsive teaching competencies more concrete.

Embracing Culturally Responsive and Sustaining Instructional Materials: Promising Strategies for State and District Leaders
Jenny Muñiz
August 24, 2021

Choosing instructional materials wisely is one of the most important jobs education leaders and teachers have, perhaps now more than ever. Unfinished academic instruction resulting from the COVID-19 crisis demands better ways to reignite student engagement and accelerate learning. At the same time, the disparate impact of the pandemic on students of color and growing efforts to quash discussions about systemic racism in schools reveals an urgent need to approach this work through a racial equity lens. This report argues that embracing high-quality instructional materials that are both rigorous and relevant is crucial to addressing these priorities.

Supporting LGBTQ-Inclusive Learning
Sabia Prescott
June 24th, 2019

Unlike most proprietary educational resources that prohibit teachers from editing or sharing them, open educational resources (OER) are free to use and repurpose. Additionally, open licenses permit the free distribution of these resources as long as credit is given, ensuring they are available to all students who need them. In this resource, New America explains how OER can be used by teachers to create more culturally responsive learning, particularly queer-inclusive experiences.

Supporting LGBTQ-Inclusive Teaching: How Open Digital Materials Can Help
Sabia Prescott
October 18, 2019

OER can be used to support teacher learning when it comes to culturally responsive teaching. For example, New America has spotlighted how open, digital materials are helping teachers learn to cultivate LGBTQ-inclusive classrooms. This report is also the first to consider the opportunities in harnessing digital materials for helping to enable.

The Representation of Social Groups in U. S. Educational Materials and Why it Matters
Amanda LaTasha Armstrong
December 1, 2021

This report synthesizes the results of more than 160 studies to explain the connection between culturally responsive education materials and learning, and examines representation of different social groups. More specifically, it captures the frequency and portrayal of different racial, ethnic, and gender groups within printed and digital educational media to provide a comprehensive understanding of who is presented and how. Findings from the report suggest there is disparity in representation of characters from different racial, ethnic, and gender groups. When portrayals of these groups are present, they tend to be affirming and authentic portrayals. However stereotypes, limited roles and inaccurate information are still present and tend to be unique to specific communities. Based on the review, the results indicate a need for educational materials that create a sense of belonging, develop cultural authenticity, and recognize nuanced identity in different characters.

Invention Education: Developing Tomorrow’s Innovative Problem-Solvers
An-Me Chung, Erin Tochen, and David Coronado
February 27, 2023

Through the growing practice of invention education, students at all grade levels challenge themselves to solve real-world problems. Alongside their teachers, they ideate and iterate, prototype and experiment, fail and try again. Some end up with a patent. All end up with more resilience, creativity, and inventiveness—the core competencies that drive innovation.

Related Topics
Culturally Responsive Education