In addition to improving access to state-sponsored English as a second language courses, schools and districts across Massachusetts need to make curriculum and learning more culturally relevant for Latino youth who have been historically marginalized by our education system (“Harsh realities for Latinos, but little action,” Editorial, March 13).
For many Latino students, the material they learn too often does not reflect their history or a celebration of culture that supports motivation and engagement in the classroom. Education officials in Massachusetts can look to efforts in community organizations across the state that are working with schools to advance culturally relevant learning inside and outside the classroom.
In Boston, Sociedad Latina has been instrumental in providing direct training to educators around cultural proficiency and producing research on this topic. The Youth Civic Union, based out of the Latino Education Institute at Worcester State University, is engaging young people to advocate for more culturally relevant curriculum in Worcester Public Schools, and Hyde Square Task Force, based out of Jamaica Plain, is working to increase culturally relevant art opportunities for Boston Public Schools students.
By teaching content that young people can better relate to, Massachusetts can actively work toward closing the serious equity gaps our education system has created.
The writer is a senior program officer with the Nellie Mae Education Foundation.