MP3 – Message

From teachers to parents, there’s no shortage of stories of people who are being left behind when it comes to their ability to speak with authority.

And while these stories often seem like isolated incidents, there are some who suffer the most, according to the Center for Educational Equity (CEE), which recently released a report on how to discuss these issues with your students.

“There’s been a lot of discussion around the fact that schools can be the most important places for gender diversity and diversity in STEM, but the fact is that there’s also a lot more to being a good teacher than just teaching a science class,” said Sarah McCollum, an education professor at the University of Colorado Denver and co-author of the report.

“We’re seeing it at home too.”

McCollums research on this topic comes from her years of teaching and writing about teaching and learning, including her book, The Teaching of Gender.

“One of the most frustrating parts about this issue is that we don’t really know what to do,” she said.

“When teachers and other educators are saying things that seem like they are coming from a place of privilege, we have a hard time getting a lot done in our classrooms.”

According to the report, there were 1.4 million students in third grade, about 8 percent of the overall U.S. student population, who were in a classroom where the gender of the teacher did not align with that of the student.

Of those, 1 in 4 students were in the classroom where their gender did not match their gender in their peers.

In the classroom with students who were transitioning, the number of students who experienced harassment, physical abuse, or other discrimination was significantly higher than for students in other settings.

“That’s an area where we need to look to policy makers, schools, and communities, as well as the teachers themselves, to really address this,” McCollumes report states.

The report comes as a national movement has emerged to change how schools and educators treat students with different genders.

The first federal law requiring schools to include a gender-neutral curriculum was passed in 2013, and the Obama administration has since launched a $2 billion initiative aimed at making schools and schools districts more inclusive.

Some schools have adopted policies that require teachers to address all students with respect to their gender identity.

And some schools are implementing “gender equity strategies” that include “gender neutral bathrooms, locker rooms, and other spaces where gender non-conforming students can learn and feel safe,” the report states, adding that “we need to do better to create a safe and welcoming environment for all students.”

The report calls for a national campaign to increase the visibility of these efforts, but also calls for more schools to take these issues seriously.

“Schools are a place where people of all genders can learn, feel, and have fun, but we have to make sure that we are all inclusive of all students regardless of their gender identities,” McColls report states in part.

“In schools, it’s important to take this seriously and make sure we have policies and programs that work to ensure that our schools are inclusive of students of all identities.”

For the full report, go here.