UNPACKING BARRIERS TO LEARNING: RACE AND ETHNICITY IN SCHOOLS IN NORTHERN COLORADO
Educational leaders look at demographic data of students in relation to many educational outcomes such as attendance, discipline, graduation rates, etc. but the conversation about demographics, particularly race and ethnicity, is often left out of the continued conversations in educational success and reform. “As a culturally proficient school leader, you need to understand what currently exists before you can begin to understand what should exist (Giroux, 1992)” (Lindsey, Nuri Robins, & Terrell, 2003, p. 118).This paper invites a reflection on how race plays out in communities, schools, and classrooms in certain parts of the United States. Partial study results completed in 2011demonstrate individual and societal racism impacting 105 middle and high school Hispanic and Latino/a students in their schools and communities in Northern Colorado. A barrier to learning is based in the participant’s race and ethnicity. 62 verbal racial microaggressions are examined, and 62 physical racial microaggressions are examined through Pierce (1988)’s theory on the stress and low self-esteem created by racial microaggressions. Attendees can learn more about what it means to be a teacher in a global context by understanding the verbal and nonverbal racial microaggressions impact Hispanic and Latino/a students and how the described racialized experiences create a barrier to learning in classrooms, and what they can do to ease and eliminate that barrier to learning.