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CMS Updating Policy To Make Curriculum More Diverse

Mark Hames
Charlotte Observer
CMS Superintendent Ann Clark says district's multiculturalism policy should reflect the diverse makeup of the city and state.

Amendments to the policies that govern student reassignment and transfer requests will get a first reading at Tuesday night's Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board meeting. CMS board members will also take a first look at an update to the policy that seeks to make the district’s curriculum more culturally inclusive of all students.

The last time the district’s multiculturalism policy was updated was in 1993. The purpose of it is to ensure that what’s taught in the classroom reflects the history and backgrounds of all students. During a policy committee meeting last week, board member Ericka Ellis-Stewart encouraged her colleague to update the policy with definitive language that sets goals.

"Absent of the regulations, I don’t have a huge amount of faith in what we are trying to accomplish. With our current curriculum, I hear from parents all the time that we aren’t teaching children of color history that is reflective of them."

The specifics of how the policy will be carried out will be up to staff, says Superintendent Ann Clark.

Clark says new textbooks and supplemental materials that target the history and culture of students of color are being ordered. She says professional staff and teachers are also being trained on how to incorporate diversity in the curriculum and how to work with students of different backgrounds.

“We are doing cultural proficiency training and trying to get all 9,000 teachers trained,” Clark said. “We’ve trained our principals, our executive staff but it’s most important that we complete that training with our teachers. We have that as an urgent need that I’ve identified and we’re seeking funding to make that happen for all of our teachers as soon as possible.”

Clark says so far 1,500 teachers have been trained and another 1,400 will be trained by the end of the summer. 

Gwendolyn is an award-winning journalist who has covered a broad range of stories on the local and national levels. Her experience includes producing on-air reports for National Public Radio and she worked full-time as a producer for NPR’s All Things Considered news program for five years. She worked for several years as an on-air contract reporter for CNN in Atlanta and worked in print as a reporter for the Baltimore Sun Media Group, The Washington Post and covered Congress and various federal agencies for the Daily Environment Report and Real Estate Finance Today. Glenn has won awards for her reports from the Maryland-DC-Delaware Press Association, SNA and the first-place radio award from the National Association of Black Journalists.