Growing Critically Conscious Teachers Through Ethnic Studies and Creating Pathways into Teaching: Improving Schools through Community-Anchored Partnerships

For those working to advance equity in their education systems, teachers can be a wonderful asset. The National Advancing Equity in Adult, Community College, and Career and Technical Education Symposium presenter, Dr. Angela Valenzuela, proposed one way to strengthen teachers' roles using ethnic studies and community partnerships to enhance teachers' understanding and impact. This presentation tackles tough conversations, including institutionalized racism, internalized racism, and intersectionality with real world examples. Dr. Valenzuela proposes the solution is to grow your own educators, "Not just by creating pathways into teaching, but growing a roots-based consciousness." Critical to this effort is partnering with community members and their voices to create "meaningful, educational practices are constructed precisely out of students’ languages, cultures, and community-based identities." The presentation discusses several examples from the Austin, TX area, which used this approach to great success.