Part 1

Maintaining National Standards While Engaging Culturally Relevant Education

Saito discusses in his article “the relationship between the freedom granted to teachers to shape curricula and the function of national standards” (2020, p.39).  He discusses how educators are upset about having to cater to the multicultural curriculum while ensuring they follow the standards set they the education system (Saito, 2020).  He discusses how the education system must have a balance between “scope and regulation by the national government and the development of a citizenship education curriculum” (Satio, 2020, p.39).  The education system has brought in stricter testing and common core learning standards to keep children learning at the same level and not leave anyone behind.

Part 2

When changes must occur, there must be open communication about what is expected to change and how those changes will happen. “Gay (1988) considered the demographic change in the U.S. and indicated that “effective educational program planning for diverse learners is informed by the fact that these students bring school a great variety of interests, aptitudes, motivations, experiences, and cultural conditioning” (Saito, 2020, p.42).   The curriculum and content they provide must be up-to-date and include the changes happening while teaching practical lessons.  Teachers must ensure they have the proper training and mindset to teach students from all backgrounds to maintain their integrity.  When societal norms change and the education system adapts to it, it shows they accept anyone in their community and willing to make the necessary changes to ensure everyone feels welcome and included.

Gay, G. (1988). Designing relevant curricula for diverse learners. Education and Urban Society, 20(4), 327-340.

Saito, J. (2020). Maintaining national standards while engaging culturally relevant education: A comparative analysis of citizenship education in the United States and Japan. Educational Studies in Japan: International Yearbook14, 39–51.

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Part 1: Research

APA Citation

Hu-DeHart, E. (2000).  The diversity project: Institutionalizing multiculturalism or managing

         differences?  Academe; Washington, 86(5), 38-42.


Higher education institutions embrace diversity as a visionary practice, but do not follow thought with clear implementation.  While universities have responded to increased diversity with demands for equal access for all learners, there has not been a similarly successful initiative to increase faculty diversity, particularly faculty members of color.  Well-established departments at elite public and private universities rarely diversify faculty voluntarily, but rather in response to assessment feedback or target areas of growth (Hu-DeHart, 2000).  Leaders speak in overgeneralized terms that have no concrete actions.  Campus leaders must acknowledge that cultural differences have been socially and historically constructed and hierarchically arranged (Hu-DeHart, 2000).  They must encourage conversations about power and privilege.  In addition to increasing faculty diversity, ethnic studies must be emphasized on campuses and the department must be broad and inclusive of a wide range of ethnicities.  These changes are necessary to meet changing societal norms and cultural influences.

Part 2: Reflect

         Educators can adapt educational practices to accommodate changing societal norms and cultural influences, and they do not have to sacrifice standards and integrity to do it.  They simply need to transform their thinking and acknowledge that students enter the classroom with different lived experiences and learning preferences.  When educators care to discover these experiences and to find out how students learn best, they can be successful at helping a diverse student body to achieve standards through differentiated learning activities and accommodating student interests.  Laferriere et al. (2012) found that students increased their sense of motivation and responsibility for learning when teachers were given more agency over the curriculum.  When teachers were empowered to deviate from an inflexible, content-specific curriculum and accommodate student interests with open-ended explorations and authentic questioning, they helped students to improve critical 21st century learning skills and developed a sense of global responsibility and community in the process (Laferriere et al., 2012). 

         Despite any threat of resistance or fear of change, educational practices must adapt; otherwise schools run the risk of losing students who can no longer see themselves in their learning and feel disconnected.  Educators must acknowledge that a culturally-diverse student body cannot learn to their potential with a one-size-fits-all, cookie-cutter approach.  When leaders take the time to collaboratively examine their schools, faculty, and student body and are given the freedom to determine their own pedagogical design (Laferriere et al., 2012), new educational practices are far more likely to be implemented and sustained. 


Hu-DeHart, E. (2000).  The diversity project: Institutionalizing multiculturalism or managing

         differences?  Academe; Washington, 86(5), 38-42.

Laferrière, T., Law, N., & Montané, M. (2012). An international knowledge building network for

         sustainable curriculum and pedagogical innovation. International Education Studies,

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