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Culturally responsive teaching (CRT) is a research-based approach that makes meaningful connections between what students learn in school and their cultures, languages, and life experiences. These connections help students access rigorous curriculum, develop higher-level academic skills, and see the relevance between what they learn at school and their lives. Source: Culturally Responsive Teaching: What You Need to Know.

Videos and Examples


Achievement Gap:  The term achievement gap refers to any significant and persistent disparity in academic performance or educational attainment between different groups of students, such as white students and minorities, for example, or students from higher-income and lower-income households. Source:  The Glossary of Education Reform

Quote: "When we speak of the achievement gap, we include the disparities that have been well documented and exist among cultural and socio-economic groups. But we, do not stop there. We also speak to the achievement gap of children and youth who are locked in insulated school systems that provide them with a sanitized curriculum that shelters them from learning about the rich history, literature, art and music of people who are culturally different from them."
Source: Culturally Proficient Coaching. Delores Lindsey, Richard Martinez, Randall Lindsey, Corwin Press 2007.  

Cultural Competence: Cultural and linguistic competence is a set of congruent behaviors, attitudes, and policies that come together in a system, agency, or among professionals that enables effective work in cross-cultural situations. 'Culture' refers to integrated patterns of human behavior that include the language, thoughts, communications, actions, customs, beliefs, values, and institutions of racial, ethnic, religious, or social groups. 'Competence' implies having the capacity to function effectively as an individual and an organization within the context of the cultural beliefs, behaviors, and needs presented by consumers and their communities. (Adapted from Cross, 1989).

Cultural Proficiency: Cultural Proficiency is the policies and practices in an organization or the values and behavior of an individual, that enable the person or institution to engage effectively with people and groups who are different from them. Cultural Proficiency is an inside-out approach that influences how people relate to their colleagues, clients and community. Cultural Proficiency is a lens for examining one’s work and one’s relationships. The four tools of cultural proficiency are the Elements, the Continuum, the Barriers and the Principles.  Source:  Culturally Proficient Instruction. Nuri-Robins, Lindsey, Lindsey, Lindsey and Terrell.  Corwin Press, 2012.

Video and Resources

Cultural Competence: What Does It Mean For Educators? - Uploaded on Apr 8, 2010 -Academic experts from across the United States were brought together by the National Education Association to share their thoughts on the importance of cultural competence for today’s educators.

The Center for Appropriate Dispute Resolution in Special Education (CADRE): Equity and Cultural & Linguistic Competence - Resources to Consider. CADRE has compiled resources geared toward assisting states, parent centers, practitioners, and families who are interested in equity initiatives and developing or improving cultural competency in their own practice or within their professional environments.

Disparity: Disparity is the condition of being unequal and refers to the difference in outcomes and conditions that exist among specific groups as compared to other groups due to unequal treatment or services. A health disparity is a particular type of health difference that is closely linked with social or economic disadvantage. Health disparities adversely affect people who have experienced greater social or economic obstacles to health based on their racial or ethnic group, religion, socioeconomic status, gender, mental health, physical disability or other characteristics historically linked to discrimination or exclusion.  Source: Center for the Elimination of Disproportionality and Disparities 

Disproportionality: Disproportionality is the overrepresentation of a particular race or cultural group in a program or system compared to their representation in the general population. Disproportionality affects all systems such as the educational, mental health and judicial systems creating additional costs within these areas. Anytime you have an overrepresentation of people that is adversely affected by other issues then you also have an issue that affects the community.  Even when factors of poverty, single-parent households, and risk level are taken into consideration, the rate of removal for African American children remains higher, keeping them disproportionate in the system. .  Source: Center for the Elimination of Disproportionality and Disparities

Equity: In education, the term equity refers to the principle of fairness. While it is often used interchangeably with the related principle of equality, equity encompasses a wide variety of educational models, programs, and strategies that may be considered fair, but not necessarily equal. It is has been said that “equity is the process; equality is the outcome,” given that equity—what is fair and just—may not, in the process of educating students, reflect strict equality—what is applied, allocated, or distributed equally. Source: The Glossary of Education Reform  

Implicit Bias:  Also known as implicit social cognition, implicit bias refers to the attitudes or stereotypes that affect our understanding, actions, and decisions in an unconscious manner.  These biases, which encompass both favorable and unfavorable assessments, are activated involuntarily and without an individual’s awareness or intentional control.  Residing deep in the subconscious, these biases are different from known biases that individuals may choose to conceal for the purposes of social and/or political correctness.  Rather, implicit biases are not accessible through introspection.

Project Implicit

Project Implicit is a non-profit organization and international collaboration between researchers who are interested in implicit social cognition - thoughts and feelings outside of conscious awareness and control. The goal of the organization is to educate the public about hidden biases and to provide a “virtual laboratory” for collecting data on the Internet.


Institutional racism: Institutional racism is distinguished from the explicit attitudes or racial bias of individuals by the existence of systematic policies or laws and practices that provide differential access to goods, services and opportunities of society by race. Institutional racism results in data showing racial gaps across every system.  Infographic:  What Racism Looks Like Public awareness campaign describes four levels of racism and uses a narrative to show how they can have a wide variety of impacts on children.  Source: The Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Office, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Multicultural Education: Multicultural education to any form of education or teaching that incorporates the histories, texts, values, beliefs, and perspectives of people from different cultural backgrounds.  Source: The Glossary of Education Reform 

Racism: Racism also called racialism, the belief that humans may be divided into separate and exclusive biological entities called “races”; that there is a causal link between inherited physical traits and traits of personality, intellect, morality, and other cultural and behavioral features; and that some races are innately superior to others. Source:  Encyclopedia Britannica: Audrey Smedleym Professor of Anthropology, Virginia Commonwealth University. Author of Race in North America: Origin and Evolution of a Worldview.


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