Intercultural competence is the capability to shift perspective and adapt behavior effectively across cultures. Including learning how to think, act, communicate and work with people from different cultural backgrounds. This means you can reflect on cultural differences, commonalities in values, expectations, beliefs, practices and build an inclusive environment. A mutual adaptation perspective environment is created, all have opportunity meet their full potential.
According to the Developmental Model of Intercultural Sensitivity, intercultural competence functionality ranges from denial to adaptation. When a person pushes equality over equity without recognizing the difference in terms, they often highlight commonality and universal values but lack recognition and appreciation for cultural differences. What our K-12 schools need in this model is to move to an orientation of acceptance and adaptation where our schools function with understanding and recognizing cultural differences and commonality.
Reviewing the most recent graduation rates in DCSD we see a decrease in graduation rates and a more significant decrease for our culturally diverse students. This highlights a continued problem and the desperate need for equity.
Equity is crucial for success and learning to work in a global economy. Those charged with developing an equity policy cannot develop it from a political agenda rooted in minimalizing differences.
Both equality and equity are needed for success. Equality to assure all students have the same quality of resources and opportunities. Equity takes into consideration their baseline assessment, background, and any unique challenges they face. This means teachers need to be trained in how to consider each student's situation and background. Although the terms are thrown around as the same, they have vastly different implications when developing policy and educational practices. Both equality and equity are needed to yield the best outcomes for students.
Our pediatric professional organizations have jointly declared a national emergency in mental health. With this declaration, they pointed to inequities in systems that contribute to a disproportionate impact on children from diverse backgrounds, these inequities exist in DCSD.
Common ground exists, parents want best outcomes academically, socially and emotionally. For that to happen we cannot root our decisions in political agendas. We must root our actions in creating an equal and equitable K-12 learning environment. Remove politics in policymaking and use research-based evidence to develop policy. If we do not, our children lose.