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Teaching Tolerance offers new curriculum to schools nationwide

The SPLC’s Teaching Tolerance project released today a first-of-its-kind literacy curriculum, Perspectives for a Diverse America, to help teachers across the country better engage their diverse students. 

The SPLC’s Teaching Tolerance project released today a first-of-its-kind literacy curriculum, Perspectives for a Diverse America, to help teachers across the country better engage their diverse students.

The release comes just days after the U.S. Department of Education projected that, beginning this fall, children of color – Latino, African-American and Asian students – will occupy a majority of seats in America’s public school classrooms.

Perspectives focuses on K-12 literacy instruction by offering a free web-based anthology of texts, teaching strategies and student tasks to promote academic achievement as well as social and emotional learning. Although the curriculum is aligned to the Language Arts and Literacy standards of the Common Core State Standards, it is compatible with any college- and career-readiness standards.  

Perspectives offers teachers a wide selection of texts – some that reflect their students’ identities and others that give them windows into the experiences of those whose lives are different than their own,” said Teaching Tolerance Director Maureen Costello. “Our pilot showed that Perspectives makes a difference. Pilot teachers reported a positive impact on student literacy development, engagement, empathy and behavior.”

Perspectives is supported by the Teaching Tolerance Anti-bias Framework, which draws upon the education goals identified by Louise Derman-Sparks and Julie Olsen Edwards in their work, Anti-Bias Education for Young Children and Ourselves. These “primary goals of anti-bias education in early childhood,” include identity, diversity, justice and action. The framework extends them through grade 12, with a set of anti-bias standards and grade-level outcomes.

“You’re creating an environment where real democracy and real equality is being practiced,” Derman-Sparks said of Perspectives. “It means that children are learning how to understand who we are and understand different perspectives and learn how to deal with different situations that come up that are not fair.”