Cultural Proficiency

This is one of the latest buzz words in my district. So how do you suppose they decide if I’m culturally proficient? Well, they hire a bunch of consultants, of course!

During the first few weeks of school we were required to do a survey. The survey was linked to our email accounts and we had to have a specific individual password to take it. We were assured that our responses would be kept confidential, blah, blah, blah…

This was one of the strangest surveys I have ever taken. Here are the five choices for our responses.

Disagree

Disagree somewhat more than agree

Disagree somewhat and agree somewhat

Agree somewhat more than disagree

Agree

WTF? Just the choices alone make you think that they’re trying to trick you. At the end of the survey they were asking specific questions about race and how you handled situations that turned out well and also turned out poorly. It was the strangest survey I’ve ever done. Plus, while I took the thing, it made me angry that they were even asking a bunch of questions.

I really wonder how someone would determine if I’m culturally proficient. I’ve been teaching in an urban district for 13 years. Our population is roughly 30% Asian, 30% African-American, 26% Caucasian, 13% Hispanic and 2% Native American. Our students speak over 103 different languages and dialects.

I am a minority in my classroom. For 13 years, I have learned about my students and their cultures in a variety of ways. I’ve been to their homes for graduation parties. I’ve been invited to their quincineras. I was invited to the Karen New Year celebration last year. I often have conversations with my students about their cultures.  I even travel to places around the world where they are from.  But yet, time and time again, their lack of test score performance is being blamed on my lack of cultural competence (and a whole host of other things outside my control).

During the course of the school year everyone in my district is supposed to be trained to be culturally proficient.  I am quite curious how this is going to work.  The few that have been through the training haven’t been impressed.  And as with many things in a large district, somebody thought this was the magic bullet to help close the achievement gap and bought this program without any thought to implementation.

I have no idea when I’m slated to be trained to be culturally proficient.  In the meantime, I guess I’ll just keep plugging away, teaching mathematics under the assumption that I’m a racist…   Hmm…  I guess the title of my blog is pretty appropriate.

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3 Responses to “Cultural Proficiency”

  1. dkzody Says:

    Does your district require you to have a cultural credential? Ours does. They had a variety of ways to get it, the earliest option being a set of classes with a test at the end. I ended up taking the cohort of classes (18 additional units) to get mine. The biggest hang up was the 6 units of foreign language. The district only offered it every other summer so it took me awhile. When I finally got the credential (which cost $75), they did away with the language requirement! I can’t complain though; the 18 units, all paid for by the district, pushed me to the top of the pay scale, which for our district is over $73k. Not bad.

  2. certainabsurdity Says:

    In order to have a license in my state you are required to take some sort of Multicultural Education class. There are various other trainings that you go to throughout the years.

  3. dkzody Says:

    Heard on the news that you all have a big storm in your neighborhood. Hope you keep snug and safe. Merry Christmas.


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