How Can a Culturally Relevant Pedagogy Narrow the Achievement Gap?

Existing curricula typically eschew minority students’ culture in favor of a more Eurocentric focus. This curriculum project seeks to reverse this trend, which has contributed to a race-based achievement gap wherein Latinos fall far short of their White peers in achievement tests. The project uses the culture that students bring with them to the classroom, including their language, to make content not only accessible, but engaging. Culturally relevant pedagogy has the potential to narrow the achievement gap by increasing achievement for Latino students. Thus, the curriculum centers on Mexican immigration during the 20th Century and the Civil Rights Movement, and includes cultural content relevant to students of the borderlands. Through this curriculum, White students develop cultural competence and a critical consciousness to question existing social structures. Finally, the project seeks to narrow the achievement gap of English learners and especially long-term English learners by providing necessary language supports to give them equal access to the curriculum, and to give all students an equitable education.