Anti-Bias K12 Education (online)

Instructor Name: 
Zapoura Newton-Calvert
Course Description: 

The Black Lives Matter at School week of action and call to anti-racist curriculum year round was initiated by Seattle educators in 2016 in response to bomb threats by white supremacists toward students and teachers wearing Black Lives Matter/We Stand Together t-shirts at John Muir Elementary School.  Inequity in curriculum, curricular violence, bias in textbooks, lack of access to diverse authors and representation in school libraries all contribute to the “achievement gaps” that both federal and state education departments often focus on in their initiatives and data tracking.

The “achievement gap” has been at the forefront of discussions about the U.S. education system since the implementation of NCLB in 2001.   According to the Children’s Defense Fund’s  State of America’s Children Report, the gaps (more accurately and truthfully described as opportunity, wealth, curriculum, or access gaps deeply rooted in systemic inequities) in income, graduation rates, and well-being of students are not substantially decreasing year to year (Children’s Defense Fund). 

But what are the roots of these gaps and disparities and what role does curriculum play?  To dig deeper, we will read and study the history of education on this land, critical race theory, ideas of decolonizing the classroom, and anti-bias and anti-racist curriculum in order to investigate the ways that cultural and institutional racism play a pivotal role in disparities in public school education.  

In this Capstone, we will question and critique this idea of “gaps” and investigate the roots of the social injustice we can so clearly see in our nation’s schools as we work in community with our community partners (institutions, organizations, or teachers committed to anti-bias education work).  Each community partner has a social justice mission in alignment with the objectives of the teaching and learning in this course. The alignment is vital to the work we can do together.

Critical Service Learning Model: Using Dr. Tania Mitchell’s Traditional vs. Critical Service Learning model (2008) with transparency and as a touchstone throughout the term gives rigor to our work and presents an opportunity for deeper social justice learning. Three concepts: (a) building authentic relationships, (b) working in a social justice perspective, and (c) redistributing power, are woven throughout the coursework and used to assess and analyze everything from individual actions in work with the community partner to teamwork. 


Online Capstone

There are both 100% virtual and face-to-face volunteer opportunities for this Capstone.