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Manatee County Schools considering 'implicit bias' training for educators

Posted at 6:22 AM, Jun 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-10 07:18:57-04

MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. — The Manatee County School Board is now considering requiring a minimum number of hours of implicit bias training for educators to help reduce discrimination in the classroom.

In a Diversity and Inclusion Meeting held on June 8, there was a big emphasis on the importance of implicit bias training, according to Charlie Kennedy, a Manatee County School Board member.

Kennedy introduced the idea to the full school board at a meeting on June 9 about implementing this kind of diversity training as a part of a teacher's professional development in the upcoming school year.

Implicit bias refers to unconscious attitudes, reactions, stereotypes and categories that affect behavior and understanding, according to the Poorvu Center for Teaching and Learning at Yale University.

Examples cited by the Poorvu Center for Teaching and Learning include that instructors may assume that students from certain backgrounds or social groups have different intellectual abilities or ambitions.

That could mean a teacher might assume a student from a certain background will be satisfied with lower achievement levels.

Another example cited is that instructors may expect students who speak with certain accents to be poor writers.

The training can help lessen racial disparities in a school district and help close opportunity gaps as teachers better understand their reactions toward students and the effect these biases have on them, according to Education Dive, a weekly newsletter informing decisions that impact classroom learning.

This new understanding can cause them to reexamine how they handle discipline in the classroom, for instance, and look for better ways to handle situations that arise without resorting to referrals, according to Education Dive.

The Manatee County School Board will discuss how they could implement implicit bias training for teachers in the upcoming school year at a workshop to be held on Thursday, June 11.