Skip Navigation
We use cookies to offer you a better browsing experience, provide ads, analyze site traffic, and personalize content. If you continue to use this site, you consent to our use of cookies.
NEA Report

The Legal and Pedagogical Case for Culturally Responsive and Racially Inclusive Public Education for All Students

Laws that censor, punish educators, and deny students a full and honest education are harmful and unlawful
Published: September 29, 2022
This resource originally appeared on

An established body of research affirms what educators have long known: a culturally responsive and racially inclusive education benefits all students – and is the most effective pedagogical approach.

These studies show that students who participate in ethnic studies and a curriculum that is culturally responsive and racially inclusive are more academically engaged, perform better academically, and graduate at higher rates. This pedagogical approach also facilitates many of the core goals of public education: promoting democracy by preparing children for citizenship and voting, teaching cultural literacy, developing citizens’ capacities for critical thinking and self-directed learning, and cultivating a workforce that can compete in the global marketplace.

Teaching ethnic studies and a culturally responsive and racially inclusive curriculum is also consistent with federal and state law. Moreover, prohibiting culturally responsive and racially inclusive education harms students and likely violates federal law. Nevertheless, law and policymakers across the country are attempting to prohibit honest curricula, chill classroom instruction, stoke discrimination, and undermine faith in public education and our nation’s educators. But as politicians mischaracterize and stoke fears about what is taught in schools, educators are holding firm in their support for a proven, research-based, and culturally responsive and racially inclusive education for all students.

This joint report with the Law Firm Antiracism Alliance is a reflection of the National Education Association’s longstanding belief that no matter their color, background, or zip code, all children deserve an education that imparts honesty about who we are, integrity in how we treat others, and courage to do what’s right. We hope this report generates new advocacy strategies and ideas about how to pushback against attempts to inhibit with teachers’ ability to do their jobs and students’ ability to learn and grow.

Read the press release

Download the report

Ready, Set, Grow!

VT-NEA provides high-quality, member-driven professional learning to improve professional practice, support student success, and build educator community across Vermont.
VT-NEA members at the NEA Teach Truth rally in Orlando, FL in July, 2023.

Stand Up for Students!

VT-NEA has a number of toolkits to help you understand the issues and defend the civil rights of all students.

The Union of Vermont Educators

The Vermont-National Education Association is the union of Vermont educators, 13,000 professionals who teach the state's children every day. As the state's largest union, Vermont-NEA is proud to represent the people who make a difference in the lives of students in classrooms across Vermont.