We recently lost another giant of social justice work and a great inspiration for us all.
The Guardian calls him ‘Godfather of multiculturalism’ –Stuart Hall died yesterday at age 82
Sociologist influenced academic, political and cultural debate in Britain for over six decades. Read more:
•• Read more here ••
On January 21, 2014, the Board of NAME released the following position statement on edTeacher Performance Assessment (edTPA)
DOWNLOAD the Complete NAME Position Statement on the edTPA
The National Association for Multicultural Education is committed to respecting and appreciating cultural diversity, ending racism and discrimination, promoting economic justice, and developing curricula that are culturally responsible and responsive. These are manifested in teacher education programs through course syllabi, teaching practices, in the diversity of faculty and candidates, and in the assessment process of pre- service teachers. The practice of critical multicultural education cannot, by its nature, be standardized, nor can the development of teachers who will engage critical multi-cultural education in their classrooms. Therefore, NAME supports the principle that authentic assessment of pre-service teachers should be conducted by those who know teacher candidates and their work in the classroom, including cooperating teachers, supervisors and faculty, who are best able to both support and assess the developmental work of becoming a teacher. While not all of these educators will be versed in critical multiculturalism, their commitment to their students and their students’ students make it more likely that they will pursue equitable, multicultural practice in evaluating their students than outside scorers for whom candidates are merely numbers. Indeed, NAME encourages schools of education to pursue initiatives that will incorporate multiculturalism throughout their programs. Further, NAME rejects any incursion of outsourced, private, corporate interests into this sensitive and critical human work, deeming it contradictory to our commitment to critical multicultural public schools that are responsive to the voices of the communities they serve, and seek to develop a socially and economically just world.
It is in this context that NAME supports the concerns of teacher educators and students with respect to the spread of high stakes teacher performance assessments that standardize and outsource teacher performance assessment. Further, NAME calls on educators and community members to investigate how the Teacher Performance Assessment (edTPA) undermines critical multicultural education, and demands an end to the standardization and outsourcing of teacher candidate assessment required by this test. In taking this stance, NAME takes its lead from student teachers and faculty at the University of Massachusetts Amherst who have spoken out against the standardization and corporatization of teacher education occurring through the marketing and imposition of the Teacher Performance Assessment (edTPA) under the auspices of Pearson, Inc.
Pearson, Inc. is a corporation that claims on its website to be the world’s leading education company and a member of the Financial Times Groups that “provides business and financial news data, comment and analysis in print and online to the international business community.” The Teacher Performance Assessment was constructed and devised by a national consortium of educators, under the leadership of faculty at Stanford University. The prototype was the Performance Assessment for California Teachers (PACT), which has been used in California since 2006. The TPA just completed field testing by Stanford and Pearson in 25 states, 6 of which are accelerating the adoption of the TPA for licensure endorsement.
In the summer of 2011, Stanford entered into a contract with Pearson for the distribution and scoring of the TPA. Pearson hired individuals on a contract basis to score these TPAs, offering $75 per reviewed TPA, each of which is estimated to take 2 hours to score. The assessment includes four tasks, each with a number of questions, including one task that requires submission of video clips of teaching lessons. These tasks are scored on a set of rubrics, leading to a numerical score. Pearson’s website indicates that, while there was no charge to the students for the field test scoring, students would be charged up to $300 dollars once the TPA is part of the student teaching assessment. The test is now being called edTPA and being promoted by Stanford Center for Assessment Learning and Equity, the American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education, and Pearson, Inc. through available ‘usage plans.’
The test is currently being used in different states to evaluate student teacher preparedness for licensure, and/or program effectiveness. As a high stakes (gate keeping) instrument for teacher credentialing, the edTPA presents the same problems as high stakes standardized tests do for K-12 students, including the fact that standardized assessment rubrics tend to be reductive, leaving out much of the complexity necessary to evaluate teacher performance on a multicultural scale, and privileging dominant cultural norms that reproduce inequities. As an instrument scored by ‘calibrated’ scorers hired on a piece-work basis, the edTPA limits teaching readiness to what can (ostensibly) be assessed on these rubrics through what is essentially a writing test and brief video clips. Further, there is not compelling evidence that the edTPA is either reliable or valid. As a high stakes measure, it narrows the curriculum to what the authors consider to be the essence of good teaching. Unless future rubrics allow for alternative, multicultural, and student-teacher involvement in their development, a diversity of perspectives on teaching and learning is likely to be marginalized. While it is true that not all teacher educators preparing students for licensure are versed in the complexity of critical multicultural education practices, most have deep knowledge of their candidates and encourage candidate self-knowledge. The nuanced practices necessary for working with culturally and linguistically diverse students cannot be fully assessed by distant observers using a standard rubric. Nor are credential candidates’ attributes such as kindness, promotion of social justice, the ability to think on one’s feet, or to adjust teaching to the exigencies of the moment assessed or assessable by the edTPA.
NAME shares the concerns of many that public education, K-12 and teacher education, like other aspects of the public sector, are under assault by privatizing forces that commodify teachers, students, and the knowledge we build together. These attacks entail high levels of surveillance, devalue teachers, teacher educators and children, and distort the process of teaching by reducing it, ultimately, to quantitative data points. Whatever the intent of those who developed the edTPA, the outcomes of this test do just this. In fact, those who are disseminating the test across the nation quite clearly explain that a quantitative outcome is required as part of the current, hyper-accountability, national agenda.
Standardizing teacher education, and the outsourcing of teacher education assessment to Pearson, a publically traded company, are not only contrary to the values we hold most dear, but are destructive of those values. Attacks on any aspect of education, pre-K through teacher education, have rippling effects throughout the system as they contribute to a shift in the underlying purposes and possibilities of public education. In terms of the edTPA, given the likelihood that Pearson-delegated scorers will embody the norms and values of the dominant culture, and given existing evidence from schools that have adopted the edTPA that the high-stakes test takes over their programs resulting in candidates and professors “teaching to the test,” these assaults are likely to include:
- Imposing a common and pre-determined curriculum on teacher education that severely limits faculty ability to enact their commitment to preparing teachers to promote critical multicultural education, social justice, and democratic citizenship.
- Privileging the teaching practices of the dominant culture by distance scorers who are asked to use reductive, standardized assessment rubrics to evaluate student writing and brief video clips.
- Reinforcement of institutional racism, classism, and white supremacy through standardization and the centralization of authority that accompanies it.
- Marginalizing the contributions of teachers, supervisors, and school administrators that are generally central to teacher development.
- Marginalizing opportunities to learn to teach through critical dialogues and feedback from others. Furthering the problematic “hidden curriculum” that proscribes teaching as a process of obedience to prescribed mandates rather than critical thinking and empowerment.
- Invasion of privacy of classroom students and student teachers in the sharing of video and, for student teachers, intellectual property with a private company.
- Encouragement of high-surveillance mechanisms and dehumanizing high-stakes measures as instruments of control in teaching and learning to teach.
- Further encroachment of corporate control into the intensely personal, human, humane, and democratic endeavor that is public education.
- Introducing, through the additional fee of $300 suggested by Pearson, Inc. of another barrier to diversifying the teaching force.
While NAME respects that people of good will have been a part of the edTPA initiative, we see the efforts to create a standardized assessment and scale it up through outsourcing to a private corporation as, at best, nai?ve and, at worst, very dangerous. It is critical that educators at every level be aware of the dangers of standardization and of ongoing privatizing efforts and the insidious manner in which corporate profiteers enter the public commons and eventually overtake it. We cannot fool ourselves. We know that corporate interests are ultimately reducible to profit, and that education for democracy and for profit are incompatible. Further, as educators who understand that classroom teachers must be knowledgeable about and attentive to the culture, context, and lived experiences of their students, so too teacher educators must be knowledgeable about and attentive to the local, contextual, lived reality of the student teachers with whom they are working. Indeed, our commitment to the knowledge created within these culturally and linguistically diverse communities, and then shared across communities, is core to our understanding of multicultural, social justice education.
Therefore, we call on all teacher educators, pre-service teachers, teachers, administrators, parents, and community members to join with the student teachers and faculty of UMass Amherst in questioning and resisting this imposition of standardization and privatization into the work of preparing teachers. We can take specific actions to join this resistance:
Teacher educators: Claim your professional knowledge about the education of teachers, including your commitment to have critical multicultural education as the core of teacher education. Demand that student- teaching assessment reflect a critical multicultural framework, and happen within the relationships of supervision, mentoring, and coursework. Organize locally and regionally to demand the removal of corporate interests from teacher assessment.
Teachers and school administrators: Engage parents, students, and community members in conversation about the purpose of education and the complex work of teaching. Identify and reject the standardization and corporatization of teaching and learning wherever it occurs. Refuse to allow any video recording in your classrooms except for local use.
Student teachers: Demand critical multicultural, social justice education as the core of your teacher education programs and assert your right to developmental work within the context of relationships with teachers, students, faculty, and parents. Communicate with cooperating teachers, parents, and school administrators to engage their support in questioning and resisting the edTPA and Pearson.
Parents: Engage teachers, administrators, community members, and your children in conversations about the purpose and possibilities of education, of what teaching and learning can and should look like. Identity and name any corporate incursions into public education. Refuse to allow your child to be in any video recording not for local use.
Community members: Demand that children and teachers be protected from their commodification by corporate interests, and the tools of surveillance and standardization.
DOWNLOAD the Complete DOWNLOAD the Complete NAME Position Statement on the edTPA
See additional NAME Position Statements here.
“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: What are you doing for others?”
…. then, act.
NAME: The Change you wish to see in the World.
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use
to change the world.”
The National Association for Multicultural Education (NAME) joins with people around the world in mourning the passing of the great Nelson Mandela of South Africa and in celebrating his life.
Nelson Mandela’s courageous leadership of the struggle against Apartheid, a struggle that inspired much of the liberation impetus of the 20th Century, was historic and deeply instructive. His organization, the African National Congress, began the fight when it seemed truly impossible to challenge the overwhelming power of the Afrikaans regime. They began with hope for the future and confidence in their strategy. With tremendous sacrifice and creativity, they pushed the struggle ahead at every juncture.
Our own struggles for equity in education, for the full inclusion and blossoming of all cultures and peoples in the service of democracy in America, have been inspired by the example of Nelson Mandela and the ANC.
We recognize that he is now being reframed as a one-dimensional and saintly icon by the media – much as was done with Martin Luther King. But we honor the whole and concrete Nelson Mandela, the one who fearlessly confronted power and united the diverse populace of South Africa, the one denounced as a terrorist by the South African regime and by British and US government leaders, the one who endured decades of demeaning life in prison, the one whose historic Rivonia trial speech immortalized the right to rebel, the one who dared criticize Israeli treatment of Palestinians as similar to Apartheid, the one who forged a new sense of social justice through the Truth and Reconciliation Commissions.
We honor Nelson Mandela and continue to be inspired by his example.
Free Download—NAME Toolkit!!
CLICK to download NAME Media Toolkit on Evaluating Teachers
NAME developed and offers this toolkit to assist NAME chapters, members, and other advocates of equity and social justice in education to collectivize and speak out through the media.
This toolkit includes:
• Tips for collectivizing and for speaking through the media, including links to many other resources
• A research brief with background information on this legislative trend, and where you can learn more
This toolkit was produced by the NAME Political Action Committee, the NAME Public Consciousness-Raising Committee, and in particular, research assistant Michael Barnes. We hope that, together, we can use this toolkit to speak collectively on the real dangers that rushed teacher-evaluation reforms can have on our schools and our children.
NAME has just issued the following Position Paper on the recent anti-immigration policies and laws…
The National Association for Multicultural Education expresses its deep opposition to recently passed state laws designed to drive out undocumented immigrants. We call for repeal of laws that punish immigrant children and their families, and for a campaign to educate U.S. citizens about the rights and contributions of immigrants, and about U.S. policies that have prompted people to come to the U.S. seeking work.
Georgia’s HB87, enacted in April 2011, requires private employers to verify the immigration status of employees, and to hire only documented residents. Alabama’s HB56, enacted in June 2011, took Georgia’s law several steps further. It prohibits undocumented immigrants from receiving any public benefits at either the state or local level. It requires every P-12 public school to report the immigration status of every student and every student’s parents, although it does not prohibit school attendance of undocumented students. Further, HB56 bars undocumented immigrants from attending public colleges or universities. Additional requirements are designed to discourage undocumented immigrants from being in Alabama. Among other things, in addition to prohibiting hiring undocumented immigrants, the law requires police to attempt to determine the immigration status of anyone they stop, and it prohibits landlords from renting to undocumented immigrants.
The Alabama law has created a hostile climate for Latino students, whether documented or not. The Southern Poverty Law Center, which implemented a hotline for people concerned about the law, reports between September and mid-November, receiving nearly 4,000 calls from terrified Latino immigrants – undocumented and documented alike. Children who are citizens are afraid to go to school, fearing their parents will be deported. Latino students (documented or not) are being bullied by classmates, and harassed by teachers who question their immigration status. Undocumented older students who came to the U.S. as very young children worry that they will not be able to continue their education regardless of the merits of their academic record. No one should have to fear going to school on the basis of identity, but this law is creating such fear.
We are also concerned that the laws in both states rest on inaccurate but largely uncorrected assumptions: 1) that undocumented immigrants do not pay taxes (at the very least, all immigrants pay sales tax on purchases in the U.S.); 2) that they contribute nothing (an assumption that ignores immigrant labor for very low wages); and 3) that the U.S. bears no complicity in the reasons why people are undergo major hardship to find work in the U.S. What most U.S. citizens do not realize is that the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has enabled the U.S. to flood Mexico with cheap, subsidized produce that has shut down many Mexican farms and displaced millions of rural Mexican farmers, while turning profits for large agricultural corporations.
Because of the hostile education climate these laws create, and the inaccurate assumptions on which many people support them, we call for their repeal, and for an education campaign about the roots of immigration.
Click here to download NAME’s Position Paper on Anti-Immigration Policies
The Bay Area Paul Robeson Centennial Committee (Oakland, CA) is co-sponsoring a curriculum video/essay contest with the National Association for Multicultural Education.
Deadline for submissions: EXTENSION: NEW DEADLINE: MAY 15th 2012
Paul Robeson was the winner of letters in 15 sports, an anti-fascist organizer during World War II, a beloved singer and actor, an internationalist, and a courageous fighter for the rights of African-Americans. Many adults have learned history by following the intersection of his life with the events in which he participated. But many students have not had that opportunity because his life has not been included in traditional U.S. history texts.
To enter the contest:
- Create and video an original lesson that uses Paul Robeson’s experiences and talents within the lesson content
- Submit the video, a detailed written plan, and student evaluations of the lesson to The Bay Area Robeson Committee by midnight March 18, 2012. Send it to: Bay Area Paul Robeson Centennial Committee, P.O. Box 3628, Oakland, Ca. 94609-0628
- A panel of educators and others, including a representative from NAME (the National Association of Multicultural Education), will judge the lessons and present two awards – one for $1000 and the other for $500. The lesson plans will then be distributed online with credit to their creators.
(Teachers should follow their school’s policies with regard to filming students. The videos will be made available on line.)
In response to Seattle Public Schools delaying full implementation of its plan to serve secondary bilingual immigrant students, NAME President Christine Sleeter has released a statement calling upon the district to move forward without delay. President Sleeter references Seattle PS’ long history as a leader in developing innovative approaches to serving its multicultural/multilingual populations. The current delay in implementation of the approved and funded plan not only puts the district in violation of federal policy and case law, but also negatively impacts the state’s economic and social development.
Here is the full Press Release:
National Association for Multicultural Education
Dr. Christine Sleeter President
For Immediate Release: Thursday, February 3, 2011
Nation’s Foremost Multicultural Education Organization (NAME) urges Seattle Public Schools to Keep its Commitment to Bilingual Immigrant Students.
(Washington, DC) It has come to our attention that Seattle Public Schools is continuing to delay serving its immigrant students. The National Organization for Multicultural Education calls on Seattle Public Schools to move forward with its adopted plan to serve this significant student population.
The district has already developed a high quality plan to serve its immigrant bilingual students. That plan would not only serve them well, but also put Seattle in compliance with federal policy embodied in the court decision Castan?eda v. Pickard (1981), which clarified school district legal obligations under the 1974 U.S. Supreme Court decision Lau v. Nichols.
We believe that Seattle has the potential to serve as a high quality model for serving culturally and linguistically diverse students. Many years ago, Seattle Public Schools was noted for its voluntary desegregation plan at a time when many other school districts around the nation were having to go through litigation to desegregate their schools. Seattle also created one of the nation’s first multicultural curricula to facilitate its desegregation plan, working with Ethnic Heritage Act funds. At present, Seattle has approved a well-researched plan for a school to serve its immigrant students at the secondary level excellently. The district also has funds that had been raised and allocated to implement that plan, as well as an audit by the Council for Great City Schools that underscores the tremendous need for the planned school. To delay implementation of such a program is to deny immigrant students the education to which they are legally entitled, and to fail to live up to the potential that Seattle Public Schools has demonstrated in the past.
We should point out that not only would it mean following the law to adhere to the approved plan for its secondary level immigrant bilingual students, but in the long run, doing so would also contribute to the economic and social development of the state. When students cannot complete their education, many leave school and later become an economic burden. In contrast, as research shows, developmental bilingual education programs are correlated with the strongest academic outcomes for English Language Learning students, including both academic achievement and retention/graduation. When students are offered an education program that enables them to complete high school and possibly go on for further education, they are able to become the productive and capable citizens that the city, the state, and the nation need.
Because education is so critical to the lives of young people, and so important to the development of this nation, we call on Seattle Public Schools to live up to its commitment to its immigrant students and move forward with its adopted plan, without delay.
CLICK HERE TO Download the NAME Press release, Seattle immigrant students
In honor of NAME’s 20th Anniversary Conference,
you can enjoy interviews with
NAME Founder Rose Duhon-Sells
NAME President Christine Sleeter, and
NAME Scholar Sonia Nieto.
The interviews were conducted by Karen Dade and can be found at