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Gena Stenger, Robert Helfenbein, Ph.D.

An Expectation of Rigor, Not Cultural Proficiency

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My topic will explore the formal curricula that has been instructed to both white and black students over the last ninety years in America, since the publication of The Mis-education of the Negro (Woodson, 1933). I will utilize the Cultural Proficiency Continuum (Lindsey, Roberts & CampbellJones, 2013, p. 73) to examine examples of formal literacy and social studies curricula implemented into American public schools. I will also examine the null curriculum implicitly present in these curricula. I will use an ethnographic research approach compiling curricular experiences of different groups of American students and will conclude with the current literacy curriculum for students in Baltimore City Public Schools. I will use a culturally proficient lens while examining what has changed or not changed about American curriculum in elementary classrooms. I will seek to argue that our curriculum has not changed in the way we present and represent history for students of color, particularly black students. The study will conclude that culturally proficient curricula needs to be produced by the community in which the students teach while also holding students to a high level of rigor.

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