Words like ‘diverse’ may soon be removed from training for Georgia public school teachers
ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - Deidra Rossell Wright is shocked to learn the word “diversity” could be removed from the education preparation of K through 12 teachers in Georgia public schools.
According to documents highlighting the proposed changes, the word “diverse” would be replaced with “different.”
“Diversity goes more in depth. It’s more than race, it’s about social economic class. If teachers are not prepared to know how to deal with those children when they get into settings, they can do more damage than good,” said Wright.
Wright, who is a 10th grade teacher at Morrow High School in Ellenwood, says she’s living her life’s purpose; she’s helping children tap into their geniuses.
Now, she’s worried about how proposed changes by the Georgia Professional Standards Commission will impact the next generation of teachers, but also students.
According to a proposed amendment, the changes aim to “remove and/or simplify ambiguous terms.”
Aside from replacing the word “diverse” with “different,” other changes include eliminating words like “equitable” and “inclusive.”
“It’s really concerning that we’re almost retreating from this more explicit language that has had an affect making school more welcoming for more kids,” said MiKayla Arciaga, director of advocacy for the non-profit IDRA, Intellectual Development Research Association.
Arciaga says the changes are just another way to politicize the classroom.
She’s a former math teacher in Georgia, and says removing language that highlights everyone’s unique differences can only hurt students.
“We are taking away tools that teachers need to better reach our kids and their families,” she said.
The Georgia Association of Educators gave Atlanta News First this statement about the proposed changes:
“Our 1.75 million students are more diverse today than they have ever been. Each one of those students deserves a caring, committed, qualified educator who understands and recognizes the diversity of our students and is ready to help those students embrace those diverse characteristics as they grow into respectful citizens of our world.”
Atlanta News First reached out to individual Georgia Professional Standards Commission members, but did not get a response back.
The vote on the proposed changes will take place in a virtual meeting on Thursday at 4 pm. If the commission votes in favor of the changes, they will go into effect on June 15th.
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