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Teaching about Racial Equity Issues in Teacher Education Programs

African American Children in Early Childhood Education

ISBN: 978-1-78714-259-6, eISBN: 978-1-78714-258-9

Publication date: 22 May 2017


This chapter addresses the National Association for the Education of Young Children’s ethical principle of “First Do No Harm” from the perspective of racial equity issues that seemingly are not obvious to educators or often overlooked in the education of Black children. Two complementary points are made. First, many educators tend to view discrimination in terms of intentional and overt actions, but may not realize how they can and do inadvertently harm children during everyday classroom routines, instructional practices, policies, and curriculum that position African American culture invisible or abnormal. Second, even though teachers might not be cognizant or aware of institutional racism that is endemic in policies, instruction, curriculum, practices, and routines, their involvement in these practices represents an ethical problem and violates the “do no harm” principle. While most P-12 teachers and teacher educators agree in theory with the idea of valuing cultural and linguistic diversity, changing actions, and deeply-seated teaching practices and dispositions can only be accomplished by challenging and disrupting normalizing discourses in the policies that inform instructional practices, curriculum, and the pedagogies used in teacher education programs and in P-12 schools. This chapter suggests that teacher education programs use decolonizing frameworks for addressing equity academic and social issues for African American students. A discussion of institutional levels of oppression and praxis are included. Examples of barriers and promising practices are shared. An overarching theme is that early childhood teacher educators must unapologetically, thoughtfully, intentionally, and comprehensively advance issues concerning educational equity for African American students.



Boutte, G. (2017), "Teaching about Racial Equity Issues in Teacher Education Programs", African American Children in Early Childhood Education (Advances in Race and Ethnicity in Education, Vol. 5), Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 247-266.



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