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How can we help educators realize the wealth and relevancy that culturally and linguistically diverse families and students bring into the schools? Preparing teachers to effectively teach across socioeconomic, cultural, linguistic, and gender differences is complicated by a lack of familiarity with or valuing of the cultures, learning styles, and communication patterns of diverse groups (Bohn & Sleeter, 2000). Today, however, 84% of teachers are white (Feistritzer, 2011), despite serving 74 million children in the United States (defined by the U.S. Census Bureau as those under 18 years of age), of which 59% are White; 19% Hispanic, 15%; Black, 4%; Asian, and 3% Other ethnicities, (National Center for Children in Poverty, 2006). Because our nation’s teaching force is predominantly white, female, and middle-class, the values, perceptions, and decisions of these teachers will vary greatly from those of this increasingly diverse student population.

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This document was originally published by Texas Education Review (TxEd): University of Texas in Texas Education Review. Copyright restrictions may apply.

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