For almost a decade, teachers and administrators at the Bowman Elementary School in Lexington, Massachusetts, have been working to increase staff diversity and become a more inclusive, culturally proficient community. But about a year ago, says Principal Mary Anton, they realized that teaching children the language to recognize and understand race and bias is an important part of the work of dismantling racism through education. “We can’t assume that children will learn this later and be okay,” Anton says.
Working in conjunction with Reimagining Integration: the Diverse and Equitable Schools, an initiative at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, the school developed and implemented a curriculum called Dismantling Racism. Its biweekly lessons — taught in a dedicated block — explore issues of identity, perspective, privilege, oppression, and activism.