Magazine article National Association of School Psychologists. Communique

Diversity Matters

Magazine article National Association of School Psychologists. Communique

Diversity Matters

Article excerpt

A badge of honor often touted as one of the greatest strengths of the United States is the diversity of its people. For many, diversity is imagined as being racial or ethic in nature. However, diversity also includes the many other identity components (e.g., social class, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, faith background, language) that make up who each of us is as a multicultural being. Essentially, education is a sociocultural process. Those with the power and privilege in a society control what is valued in education, what is taught, how curriculum is delivered, the acceptable behavioral and social and emotional standards against which everyone will be judged, and the assessment and evaluation of each of the components under the umbrella of education. Those with less power and less privilege often do not fare as well in schools as students who occupy more privileged identity statuses. Thus, school failure for some is a result of deeply embedded sociocultural forces external to a child rather than the personal or individual factors within a child.

When one group of students is vulnerable to negative outcomes because of how the system is set up, all students are vulnerable. School psychologists play important roles in establishing positive school climates for all students, particularly students whose identities and cultural ways of being may differ from what is recognized and valued in various school settings. Our abilities to be effective hinge on our willingness to engage in ongoing personal reflection and introspection. We must engage in the process of knowing ourselves as multicultural beings. We must reflect on our thoughts, feelings, and beliefs about persons different from us; why we hold certain thoughts, feelings, and beliefs; and what we must do to dismantle those thoughts, feelings, and beliefs that interfere with our work with students or that may cause harm to others, intentionally or otherwise. Only then can we apply the knowledge, skills, standards, and strategies we learn in our graduate education, professional practice, and continuing professional development endeavors to work with and to support all students.

Among the many areas of expertise we can apply, our data-based decision-making and consultation skills stand out. Test scores, grades, and evaluation results, in addition to other data, are symptoms, not causes, of academic, behavioral, and social-emotional problems. Unless everyone responsible for educating them understands exactly what is interfering with their students' performance, no one can intervene appropriately to eliminate the barriers, particularly those related to culture and identity, contributing to negative perspectives of students who do not perform like those of the more privileged and powerful majority. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.