Ed Week: Cultural Diversity a Critical Consideration for Native Students

Here, and an excerpt:

What’s a research concern that we still need answered about early-childhood education?

What follows is Susan C. Faircloth’s response to this question. See more responses.

Susan C. Faircloth

Susan C. Faircloth

Research suggests that the quality of early-childhood education and care plays a critical role in helping to shape children’s school readiness, as well as their subsequent academic achievement. In effect, the more prepared students are to learn, the likelier they are to perform better academically. Unfortunately, the bulk of this strain of research fails to adequately acknowledge the role that schools must play in preparing children, particularly children from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. This oversight raises a number of important concerns and questions, including what does it mean for these students to be ready for school and what does it mean for schools to be ready for these students.

In the case of American Indian and Alaska Native children, “ready schools” reflect an ability and willingness to accommodate the tribal, cultural, and linguistic diversity of the more than 600 federally and state-recognized tribes and Alaska Native groups within the United States, as well as the indigenous languages (approximately 200 of them) that tribal members still speak today.

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