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Katie Brosnan Diversity in Sectarian Schools Introduction Student populations in Sectarian schools are continually changing.

As a teacher in a Catholic School, I am able to observe the changes in the population in comparison to when I attended a Catholic school as a student throughout grades K-12. Although there has been a great shift in the population, I have observed minor alterations to the long-standing framework of which the schools were originally designed around. I have noticed few changes in the curriculum and its attempt to teach about and for differences. Many sectarian schools are still teaching with the same traditional approaches as though they have their original student population. Enrollment regulations have changed and there is a need for a curriculum shift to be made as well. Although efforts are being made among curriculum directors, many teachers are still teaching with an old-school mindset and approach that strictly adheres to old rigid religious disciplines. It is my goal to reach out to those teachers and provide them with quickaccess to various ways to change their approach to acknowledging differences in schools. Rationale and Problem to be Investigated Historically, admittance to Sectarian schools has been dependent upon a familys religion, ability to pay the required tuition and, in some cases, the race and structure of the family unit. These factors have limited prevalent diversity in private schools for centuries. However, over the years the diversity in Sectarian schools has dramatically increased. Among private schools, the racial and ethnic composition in 2008 was 74 percent non-Hispanic White,

10 percent non-Hispanic Black, 9 percent Hispanic, 6 percent Asian/Pacific Islander, and 1 percent American Indian/Alaska Native (Public and Private). Private schools have begun to face more difficulty in keeping enrollment numbers up due to difficult tuition demands and increased preference of a public-school education. Decreases in enrollment have caused Sectarian administrators and school parishes to recruit students outside their traditional norm. For example, student populations in Cincinnati private, Catholic schools have traditionally been German Catholic and Irish Catholic. However, those student populations have become more diverse as big companies such as P & G have brought more diverse families from other countries who are strong supporters of private schools. Additionally, private schools have begun to accept more vouchers and have increased organized efforts to raise money for economically disadvantaged students of different races and religions as a way of opting out of public schools. Interestingly, many schools have reduced tuition for particular student groups in efforts to increase the diversity in their school as well. Financial challenges have made it difficult for families to afford private school education and many schools are having to make changes in their enrollment processes, consequently changing their traditional school populations. In the past, Sectarian schools have used religion to justify exclusion of the other, but now they see inclusion of the other as a way to demonstrate how religion can create ties amongst all people. Although there are still schools that require students to share the religious orientation of the school, many sectarian schools are invoking biblical commands in order to support admission policies that do not include religious qualifications (Sikkink). Flexibility in admission policies has increased the diversity in Sectarian schools. Not only do socio-

economically disadvantaged students have increased opportunities to attend these schools, but privileged students of other races and religion are permitted to attend as well. While some Sectarian schools still stick to rigid policies that adhere to their religious commands, many schools have begun to foster environments that allow for creativity and social solidarity as they view differences through the lens of religious moral. Changes in school culture result in a stronger need for changes in the curriculum and teaching processes. Sectarian schools aim to influence students to put religious principle above all else. In progression it can be difficult for educators to enhance individual identities in their classroom, especially given that the framework of these school structures have been traditionally set up to foster a designated group of students. Historically, the approach in Sectarian schools has been that in learning religious moral, students will be more accepting and understanding of differences. It is for this reason that the Sectarian school framework faces the greater challenge of disrupting the ways in which students see themselves and others than most public schools. Teaching through a religious lens further supports the assumption that developing empathy for others will effectively oppose all ignorance and prejudice. That is not to say that a religious lens of moral is unsuccessful in challenging oppression. However, while such efforts do help the Other, they do not necessarily bring about structural and systemic change, redefine normalcy, and disrupt processes that differentiate the Other from the privileged ( Kumashiro, 44). Students need to be empowered to challenge oppression with knowledge, empathy, and critical thinking skills.

Research Questions to be Investigated and Specific Definitions of Key Terms Sectarian schools seem to place great emphasis on being compassionate of differences and in highlighting the ways in which people are alike. In teaching through a religious and humanistic lens, it is assumed that students are learning how to be combative against ignorance and prejudices. Humanism trumps racial-ethic difference and its conflicts and can aid in multicultural understanding (Thomas, 34). Some religious schools avoid discussions about particular differences due to the religious sensitivity of their church. With the increase of diversity in Sectarian schools, there is a need to rethink the ways in which multiculturalism is approached through the curriculum. Teachers and administrators need to analyze their everchanging admission policies to address the following two questions: 1 Should curriculum strictly reflect our traditions and religious demands? Or 2 Should our curriculum foster creativity and adhere to supporting inclusiveness of our gradually changing student population? My focus is with the latter, to support Sectarian schools that have the flexibility to move away from teaching only specifically to their original student population and towards a school environment that fosters critical understanding of the differences amongst not only their student population, but to other diversities amongst the general population as well. In my approach, I assume that religious schools have already created an environment that strives for empathy of differences. I also assume that many Sectarian schools have omitted details about particular populations due to strict religious restraints. The knowledge many students have about the Other is either incomplete because of exclusion, invisibility, and silence, or distorted because of disparagement, denigration, and marginalization (Kumashiro, 40). Ironically,

Sectarian schools have more opportunities to have real conversations in their classrooms (due to legal flexibility) that are necessary in developing critical thinking skills. My focus is on supporting Sectarian schools that are willing to be flexible with their religious restraints to work towards developing a curriculum that enhances critical thinking skills about multiculturalism amongst students. However, the idea that we are similar because we are people is prevalent in the teacher styles of many educators and in the m indset of many students. Couple with this humanism is a corresponding multiculturalism, or the simultaneous acknowledgment that people have a diversity of personal histories, cultures, and geographies that need to be respected (Thomas, 32). Many students and educators have the central organizing belief that understanding humanism will ensure peaceful multiculturalism. My argument is that Sectarian schools teach to this understanding of humanism, even more so than public schools. However, what is lacking in Sectarian schools is direct acknowledgment of difference. I am interested in providing a supportive, online resource that will help schools look to the margins to find populations that have needs that are not being met (Kumashiro, 38). In order to do so, I focus on four approaches: 1 - Thinking through Difference- Using an understanding of different experiences to question and place oneself in the position of others. It means thinking to understand what difference is and why it has been the basis for systems of power in which some are privileged and dominant, and others are subordinated, marginalized, oppressed and exploited (Druvarakan, Vanaja and Vickers, 12).

2 - Genuine Engagement with Difference- having encounters with difference that allow us to think creatively beyond the framework of me and people like me and examining our own situation and how we are related to others from whom we are different. Genuine engagement can be accomplished by discovering new approaches and strategies by providing us new insights from others who take is different than ours (Druvarakan, Vanaja and Vickers, 31). 3 - Critical Multiculturalism examining and interpreting differences in cultures, races, languages and genders by situating them in a specific political and ideological context, with the aim being social transformation or change. Critical Multiculturalism examples not only how some groups and identities are Othered in society, but also how some groups are privileged (Kumashiro, 44). 4 - Knowledge about Difference/ The Other- Focusing on what both privileged and marginalized students should know about the Other, while enriching student understanding of different ways of being (Kumashiro, 39). This category will focus on providing resources on how to teach about the Other for schools that have provided incomplete knowledge about marginalized/silenced groups. 5 Disruptive Knowledge Opening up to further learning to view multiple voices with the goal of learning more, rather than a means end. Disruptive knowledge requires understanding that the desire for final knowledge is itself problematic and encourages a desire to open up for further knowledge (Kumashiro, 43). Intended Plan of Action

In creating a website, I aim to develop an online resource that will be useful in supporting Sectarian school teachers in their efforts to support and acknowledge student populations that are marginalized in their schools and communities. My website will share websites and exhibit various lessons that teachers can utilize in their classrooms. Educators will also have the opportunity to showcase their own resources/lessons and discuss those that have been revealed by others. These resources will be organized according to the five approaches I previously defined: Thinking through Differences, Genuine Engagement with Difference, Critical Multiculturalism, Knowledge about Difference/the Other, and Disruptive Knowledge. I strive to include lessons that address race, culture, religion, gender, and varying family structures/dynamics. My website will be inclusive in a Weebly website that I have begun to create for a separate class entitled Real Interventions. While Real Interventions currently address short interventions for RTI, this branch of the website will focus on all classrooms. Though the focus and basis for my website is on Sectarian schools, my website will ultimately be of use to teachers in all schools. Annotated Bibliography Cook, Husari, and Mijatovic. Beyond Tolerance: Learning and Teaching the Appreciation of Human Diversity. City College of San Francisco, California. Beyond Tolerance is a collaborative online resource for anyone interested in teaching and learning how to build empathy and appreciation of diverse humanity. I use this website to highlight great lessons and resources.

David, Dan, and Chris. "Free Website | Free Blog | Create a Free Website | Weebly." Sequoia Capital, Baseline Ventures, Ron Conway, and Y Combinator, 2007. Web. 08 Nov. 2013 Weebly is a free blog and website creation site. I have previously begun a website/blog called Real Interventions and my intent is to build upon that site to include page that showcases practical classroom ideas surrounding multiculturalism. Druvarakan, Vanaja and Vickers, Jill. (2002). Gender, Race, and Nation: A Global Perspective. Toronto, Buffalo, London: University of Toronto Press. This book forges a new approach to Women Studies and Global Social Transformation. It discusses open scholarship to the experiences of woman in all of their diversities. The authors make connections between the differences in local contexts and global contexts. They relate woman with the understanding of their various positions and privileges. I choose this book for its definitions of Genuine Engagement with Difference and of Thinking through Difference. Erdrich, Louise. (2012). The Round House. Harper Perennial. The Round House is a fictional story about a young boy quest for justice while growing up on a reservation in North Dakota. It depicts the hardships and injustices of life as an Indian on a reservation. I chose this book because I feel it demonstrates vo ices and injustices that arent often being taught in school curriculums. Gorski, Paul C. (1995-2012). Critical Multicultural Pavilion: an Ed Exchange Project.

This website provides resources, lesson plans, articles, awareness activities, and training to inform educators how to transform schools. I will use a few lessons on this site to showcase ways to provide critical multiculturalism in classrooms. Kumashiro, Kevin K. (2002). Troubling Education: Queer Activism and Anti-Oppressive Pedagogy. Routledge. This book highlights the strengths and weakness of various approaches of teaching that address different forms of oppression. Additionally, it offers a rare alternative approach to social and cultural difference. I selected this source for guidance in my defining of Disruptive Knowledge and Teaching About the Other, as well as for its acknowledgement of the ways in which teachers need to teacher not only for the privileged but for the Other. Love, Bettina L. (2012). Hip Hops Lil Sistas Speak: Negotiating Hip Hop Identities and Politics in the New South. Peter Lang. Hip Hops Lil Sistas Speak explores how young women navigate the space of Hip Hop music and culture to form ideas concerning race, body, class, inequality, and privilege. I chose this book for its examination of socially conservative politics and race relations. Media Smarts: Canadas Centre for Digital and Media Literacy. (2009). . National Film Board of Canada. The Media Smarts website provides adults with the support they need to teach children the critical thinking skills they need when interacting with media. I chose this site for its resources to support my views on critical multiculturalism.

Teaching Tolerance: a Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center. My Multicultural Self This link provides a lesson that addresses student identity and school culture. I chose this as an example lesson for Genuine Engagement with Difference. Niehuis, Sylvia. (2005). Helping White Students Explore White Privilege Outside the Classroom. Utah State University, North American Journal of Psychology. This article reviews previous strategies designed to teach students about White skin privilege. I use this article because of its analysis of an out-of-class experiential assignment and its findings that the assignment succeeded in making White privilege visible to White students. Pillow, Wanda S. (2004). Unfit Subjects: Educational Policy and the Teen Mother. New York and London: RoutledgeFalmer. Unfit Subjects presents a critical analysis of the ways in which educational policy defines and addresses teen pregnancy. I chose this book as teen pregnancy is often an issue that private schools do not often take ownership over as their rules and regulations do not always require them to. Private schools need to consider this book in their policies geared towards prevention, curriculum, education, and consequences. Public and Private School Comparison (2008). National Center for Education Statistics.

This report provides statistical analysis in comparison of public and private schools. I used this report to compare and contrast the racial and ethical composition of students enrolled in various schools. Sikkink, David. (2000). Diversity in Christian Schools. This article provides an analysis of Christian schools. I utilized it in my description of the challenges in Sectarian schools and the problem that I will address in my research. Teach Unicef (2013). Unicef This website is a portfolio of free global web resources including lesson plans, stories, and multimedia cover topics. I chose this site to research ideas for promoting gender equality in the classroom. Thomas, Mary E. (2011). Multicultural Girlhood: Racism, Sexuality, and the Conflicted Spaces of American Education. Philadelphia: Temple University Press. The author of this book interviews 26 female students after a race riot in their Los Angeles school. The girls denounced the outbreak, called for multicultural understanding and peaceful coexistence. The book discusses the spaces of teen girlhood and their role in perpetuating social difference. I choose it because of its contrast between banal understanding and critical multiculturalism. I used the book in my defining of Critical Multiculturalism.