Cultural Competence

is apparently going to be the new requirement for educators. Though teachers are not yet required to show cultural competency, according to Fox, school administrators will be required to prove cultural competency by 2007. If you think that’s a new name for diversity and affirmative action, you may be right.

Norman Levitt, Professor of Mathematics at Rutgers University, explains, “‘Cultural competence’ is…a bureaucratic weapon. ‘Cultural competence,’ or rather, your [an educator’s] presumed lack thereof, is what you will be clobbered with if you are imprudent enough to challenge or merely to have qualms about ‘affirmative action’, ‘diversity’ and ‘multiculturalism,’ as those principles are now espoused by their most fervent academic advocates.”

According to Levitt, the beliefs that are likely to torpedo an educator’s career include:

— affirmative action conflicts “with other standards of justice and equity.”

— feminism’s theory of “the social constructedness of gender” is incorrect.

“Cultural competence” has achieved some momentum. For example, in March 2005, the Corvallis, Ore., Gazette Times reported, “A quiet effort by state officials to require that all newly certified Oregon teachers be ‘culturally competent’ looks to be dead-on-arrival in the Republican-controlled House, despite firm support from education advocates.”

(Oregon is one of dozens of states exploring and implementing “cultural competency,” but it seems be on the cutting edge. For example, starting in 2007, the state’s Teachers Standards and Practices Commission says it will require new school administrators to demonstrate cultural competency.)

Thanks to Absinthe and Cookies for the heads up.

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