CRE Stories: Being Culturally Responsive as a White Teacher

When Erin Dunlevy left her hometown in suburban New Jersey to teach in the South Bronx, she was shocked to see a line of 2,500 students wrapped around the school building waiting to pass through the only operational metal detector on campus.

Close to 80% of teachers in New York City schools are white women who teach a student body with predominantly students of color.

Erin shares her learning about what it means to be an ally who is responsive to community needs and to honor community voices.

Culturally Responsive Education (CRE) connects curriculum and teaching to students’ experiences, perspectives, histories & cultures. It advances students’ academic achievement and sense of themselves as agents for change; and it helps students sustain their connection to their own language, culture and identity while also developing skills to succeed in the dominant culture.

CRE is a method of rigorous, student-centered learning that cultivates critical thinking instead of just test-taking skills; relates academic study to contemporary issues and students’ experiences; fosters positive academic, racial and cultural identities; develops students’ ability to connect across cultures; empowers students and inspires them to fall in love with learning.

Richard Gray and his team from the NYU Metro Center is partnering with Manauvaskar Kublall, MediaSutra, to tell 9 stories of culturally responsive education from the perspectives of teachers, administrators, teacher educators, and parents.


Tweet it: Being #CulturallyResponsive by talking about race in the classroom as a white teacher isn’t just possible – it’s absolutely necessary. Here’s one teacher who’s doing it: #FutureForLearning

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