Friday, November 30, 2012

An Objection to the Removal of Cultural Diversity Education in Our Schools

November 27, 2012

Nebraska State Board of Education
P.O. Box 16
Norfolk, NE 68702

Dear Nebraska State Board of Education,

On behalf of the Project Interfaith board of directors, I am writing to express our objection to the possible alteration or removal of the state geography standards regarding human systems (SS 0.3.4-SS 12.3.4.i). We urge you to keep these standards as part of the Nebraska state social studies standards as they are currently written.

These standards provide a comprehensive framework for students to explore, discuss and understand cultural diversity in local, national and global contexts.  We believe this framework facilitates open, respectful learning and conversation about the different cultures present in our state and world. This open, respectful learning and conversation about cultural diversity is vital to preparing our students to successfully live, work and thrive in the heterogeneous and increasingly interconnected world of the 21st century. 

Furthermore, a working knowledge about cultural diversity and the ability to communicate and cooperate with people from diverse cultural backgrounds are important knowledge and skills sets that are highly sought after in the workplace. Instilling a strong knowledge and skill base in this area can give students a competitive advantage within the workforce and can potentially increase their employability.

While we recognize that state standards alone do not ensure that students develop this critical base of knowledge and skills, we believe it is a necessary component.  State standards signify the educational priorities of a state.  By removing the human systems standards from the state social studies standards, we are concerned that teachers will be unable to justify prioritizing teaching this amidst the many other content areas that state standards mandate that they do include. We also fear the deletion of these standards may send the message to students that cultural diversity is not important.  With an increasingly diverse student population, we believe that this is the wrong message to send.

We share with you a desire to equip students with the necessary skills, knowledge and experiences to allow them to be successful and productive citizens in the 21st century.  It is because of this that we strongly urge you to retain the state geography standards pertaining to human systems as they are currently written.  Thank you for your time, attention and consideration.


Beth Katz
Executive Director
  • You can view the proposed changes (specific changes can be found on pages 36 through 38).
    Click here.
  • You can contact your state board of education elected official and share your concerns.
    Click here.


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