New Requirement for Minnesota Teachers: Native American Cultural Competency Training
Minnesota teachers are now required to undergo cultural competency training, with a specific emphasis on Native Americans. This training aim...
Minnesota teachers are now required to undergo cultural competency training, with a specific emphasis on Native Americans. This training aims to address personal biases related to various racial, cultural, and socioeconomic groups, as well as specific topics such as religion, systemic racism, gender identity, sexual orientation, language diversity, and individuals with disabilities and mental health concerns. The goal is to help teachers understand how these biases can affect their relationships with students, their families, and the school community. This requirement is mandated by Minnesota law.
The Training Program
The Minnesota Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board (PELSB) has implemented cultural competency training for teachers. Originally enacted in 2020, the training has now been updated to include a separate category for Native Americans and Alaskan natives. Teachers must meet the Standards of Effective Practice to pass the training, which involves understanding and affirming the diverse identities and beliefs of their students. The goal is to help students develop positive social identities based on their membership in multiple groups in society.
Teachers are now expected to not only be aware of, but also actively support students in recognizing and addressing biases, discrimination, prejudices, and structural inequities. They are also required to show respect for and be responsive to the identities and beliefs of their students, both through their words and actions.
The Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board (PELSB) has argued that it is important for teachers, who are predominantly white, to acknowledge and address their implicit bias. PELSB believes that understanding their own biases and recognizing the diverse experiences of their students should be a fundamental requirement for teaching.
Cost and Approval Process
The article discusses the cost and approval process for cultural competency training. The training can range in price from $30 to $670 for two graduate credits. The approval of valid cultural competency training is done by PELSB's Committee to Increase Teachers of Color and Indigenous Teachers, which took on this responsibility in January 2021.
Resistance and Criticism
The article discusses the current members of a committee, namely Angela Osuji, Reuben Moore, Jessa Cook, and Gift Saloka. It mentions that there was resistance to the cultural competency training changes during the public input period last year. The Foundation Against Intolerance and Racism (FAIR) Twin Cities argued that such training leads to divisiveness and rejects common culture and fairness in treatment.
A training program is being criticized for promoting the segregation of students based on their group or cultural identity, such as race or gender. The program encourages constant recognition and affirmation of this segregation, which has raised concerns. Critics argue that teachers should instead encourage students to explore different perspectives rather than conforming to the views associated with their respective groups or cultures.
Defending the Requirement
The Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board (PELSB) is defending the requirement for teachers to have a license, stating that it is necessary for teachers to build trust with their students and provide a quality education. PELSB argues that teachers need to have pedagogical knowledge in order to create positive learning environments and effectively work with all types of learners.