Why race matters in classrooms: Teaching Colorado’s students of color

February 12, 2015

Throughout 2014, I investigated more deeply one of the many concepts that play into the achievement gap between students of color and their white peers: the issue of race, both how it plays a role in how teachers view their students and, how the topic of “race” is taught in class as a way to help students understand their world. I have observed how race is fundamental to the lives of so many students but it is often ignored by many educators, creating a culture gap. There is also almost no coverage in the education media about issues of race on a deeper level.  The montage includes stories focusing on the following: how one teacher came to realize that she treated her students of color and white students differently; the process teachers can go through to uncover biases and learn techniques and strategies to help their students of color succeed; inside the classroom of an African-American teacher to understand how he builds relationships with students; the obstacles to attracting more teachers of color into Colorado classrooms and what’s being done about it; and several stories examining how teachers explore racial issues and the topic of race in class, including the grand jury decision in Ferguson, Missouri.