American University’s School of Education received $150,000 from the Gates Foundation and $1 million from the Wellspring Philanthropic Fund to support the creation of “antiracist” learning environments across America.
As AU School of Education Dean Cheryl Holcomb-McCoy told Diverse, the grants will be utilized for the decolonization of the curriculum and antiracist practices through the school’s International Training and Education Program (ITEP).
According to American University’s website, ITEP is an interdisciplinary graduate program “with a strong foundation in theory, principles, and practice in international education, development, and intercultural exchange.”
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The funding comes in the wake of commitments from American University’s administration to create an antiracist campus.
Traci Dennis, chair of the school of education’s committee on diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), defines antiracist pedagogy as “building ideologies, literacies and capacities that will support the development of a critical framework for recognizing and counteracting racist constructions of reality as they affect individuals as well as institutions.”
The Gates Foundation has given hundreds of millions of dollars in funding to education-related groups, including the American Federation of Teachers — the nation’s second-largest teacher’s union — and the Center for American Progress, a progressive think tank founded by Hillary Clinton campaign manager John Podesta.
A Gates Foundation spokesperson told Campus Reform that the $150,000 grant “helps create a partnership between AU School of Education and the Antiracist Research and Policy Center (ARPC) to build more inclusive learning environments through research and community outreach, in addition to promoting a culturally competent and antiracist teacher workforce for America’s increasingly diverse public-school student population.”
Specifically, the grant has funded “initial exploration and dialogue on teacher preparation, recruitment and retention policies between the School of Education and the Antiracist Research and Policy Center, the Summer Institute on Education, Equity, and Justice, a national education conference here in Washington, DC, and a Summit for DC-based teachers and educators interested in increasing their capacity for policy-advocacy around important issues within the teaching profession.”