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Online Submission, Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (AERA) (San Francisco, CA, Apr 11, 2006)

The world of educational quality in 2006 is infused with conflicting ecopolitical agendas that constitute evidence of social strain and what Cherry Banks (2006) calls the tension between unity and diversity. That tension is increasingly prevalent among growing multicultural communities where centuries of inadequate educational funding have created class and race based poverty (Cochrane-Smith, 2004; Cochrane-Smith & Zeichner, 2005). This poverty continues to reproduce annual patterns of under-achievement or achievement gaps. When these gaps are taken as a whole, we find ourselves faced with what Gloria Ladson-Billings (2006) so aptly refers to as a collective educational debt. This debt is not random or coincidental. It represents a systemic attempt to benefit from cheap or free labor provided by an underclass of largely non-White individuals in denial of their constitutional right to a quality education (Berliner, 2006). Stories of rats, broken plumbing, and frigid classrooms speak to the unacceptable physical conditions that many North American children and teachers are forced to endure in our nations' schools. Yet, these physical deficits are nothing in comparison to the moral disgrace of staffing these schools with unprepared teachers and failing to provision them with sufficient teaching and learning resources. Worst of all, and despite rich bodies of research on school climate, cognitive development, learning theory, and the debilitating effects of marginalization, very little is being done to recruit, train, and support teacher education candidates with life experiences and identities that mirror those of the children whom they are hired to teach. This paper introduces critical diversity theory (CDT) as a framework for understanding and operationalizing the diversification of our teaching work forces in Canada and the United States.

Descriptors: Foreign Countries, Preservice Teacher Education, Preservice Teachers, Student Diversity, Diversity (Faculty), School Policy, Educational Quality, College Admission, Social Influences, Educational Trends

Autor: Stead, Virginia


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