To dismantle racism, make teacher education more inclusive

By Brandon White and Amy Rudat
June 2021
America’s legacy of racism is insidious in teacher education. The systems that determine who becomes a teacher, how one becomes a teacher, what teachers learn, and what history and content they don’t learn have been polluted by the codependency between our societal rules and our internal beliefs. Discriminatory policies and practices create biased beliefs, behaviors, and attitudes among those who stand to benefit from them, thereby reinforcing the policies and practices. Perhaps most insidiously, this process often occurs outside of conscious awareness, creating a societal pattern that, over time, becomes a legacy in and outside of education. The word curriculum (Latin origin) describes the process of racing on a track or running a course. If we are to understand and address the inequities of teacher

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Key readings about segregation and the teaching profession

  • Teacher Wars: A History of America’s Most Embattled Profession by Dana Goldstein
  • Who Decides Who Becomes a Teacher? Schools of Education as Sites of Resistance by Julie Gorlewski and Eve Tuck
  • Latino Education in the United States: A Narrated History from 1513 to 2000 by Victoria Maria MacDonald
  • The Lost Education of Horace Tate by Vanessa Siddle Walker
  • Silent Covenants: Brown v. Board of Education and the Unfulfilled Hopes of Education Reform by Derrick Bell


Aguilar, R. (2021, February 22). The importance of grow your own programs to recruit teachers of color. The Education Trust.

Anderson, M.D. (2018, August 9). The secret network of black teachers behind the fight for desegregation. The

Barnum, M. (2017, September 12). Certification rules and tests are keeping would-be teachers of color out of America’s classrooms. Here’s how. Chalkbeat.

Center for Black Educator Development. (2021).

Delpit, L.D. (2006). Other people’s children: Cultural conflict in the classroom. New Press.

Dixon, D. & Griffin, A. (2021, February 22). If you listen, we will stay. The Education Trust.

Goldstein, D. (2015). The teacher wars: A history of America’s most embattled profession. Anchor Books.

Gorski, P.C. & Dalton, K. (2020). Striving for critical reflection in multicultural and social justice teacher education: Introducing a typology of reflection approaches. Journal of Teacher Education, 71(3), 357-368.

Ladson-Billings, G. (2004). Landing on the wrong note: The price we paid for brown. Educational Researcher, 33(7), 3-13.

Ladson-Billings, G. (2006). Yes, but how do we do it? Practicing culturally relevant pedagogy. In J. Landsman & C.W. Lewis, White teachers/diverse classrooms (pp. 25-41). Stylus Publishing.

Love, B. (2020). We want to do more than survive: Abolitionist teaching and the pursuit of educational freedom. Beacon.

Meckler, L. & Rabinowitz, K. (2019, December 27). America’s schools are more diverse than ever, yet teachers are still mostly white. The Washington Post.

TNTP. (2020). A broken pipeline.

Brandon White ( is an English language arts specialist.

Amy Rudat ( is senior director of English language arts at UnboundEd.

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