One of the main reasons myself and Luke started Students Protecting Education was because we were seeing so many students and kids being left out and felt invisible. At board meetings, students felt as if they couldn't stand up in front of our teachers and the people we communicate with everyday. That is an issue if I've ever heard one. No two students have the same background, even if they are siblings. No two students think the same or have the same mindset. This is what schools in America don't understand or care to understand. Diversity includes different ethnic groups, race, gender identity, disabilities, body type, and even ways of thinking. Nearly all school board elected officials are white, and Hispanic and black parents have a higher percentage of concerns compared to white parents (Research provided in Diversity in Education by Kristin Kavanagh). Although no two people have the same backgrounds, having no one from different cultures is a different thing. It is important to have many different cultures represented in order for all students to feel confident and seen. Another example of similar POVs include the mandatory and most commonly taught books. We see Shakespeare, 'The Mice of Men', 'To Kill A Mockingbird' and so on. Do you see a pattern? They are all written by white men or women who lived at least 100 years ago. Not only are they outdated, but they lack representation.
There are some simple solutions to be more diversified. Adding books with different points of view like 'I am Malala' , 'The Hate U Give' and 'Poet X'. These have themes such as women empowerment, Education, racism, and so on. They were all written in this century as well, and are way more relevant. I'm not saying that all of the classic books need to be replaced but considering adding a book like the ones mentioned above could only be a positive step forward. Another way schools can promote diversity is adding different clubs and programs. Clubs such as Gay Straight Alliance, Racial Equity and Diversity club are a few that have been started in my school district. Acknowledging and celebrating Black History and Asian Pacific American History Months are also ways to educate students and help students feel seen and appreciated. Many schools have also hosted Culture Nights, where different students of different cultures and ethnic backgrounds create and decorate tables that represent where they are from.
Overall, there are many ways diversity can be spread through our schools and education. I hope to see more inclusion this school year!