Our curriculum must be designed with our communities in mind, bringing our district into the next generation. That means we must ensure the academic achievement of our students so that they can succeed in the face of the challenges posed by our society. Education can truly be the “great equalizer,” but we can only achieve that when our support systems and programs set every student up for success.
The greatest resource that exists within our District 9 community is our diversity. Miami-Dade is a pathway to the international community, and is home to a multitude of different cultures, religions, languages, and life experiences. As a school system, it is our responsibility to capitalize on that resource and use it to provide an advantage to our students, providing them with the tools they need to succeed in a more globalized world.
As such, our teaching must be culturally responsive and directly applicable to the lives of our students. When curriculum is taught in the context of our diversity of experience and culture, it becomes more powerful, empowering our students to see how what is gained in the classroom translates into their lives. Furthermore, bilingual education represents one of the most important skills that students can learn and gain throughout their educational journeys. The ability to speak a second language allows our students to be able to interact with different people and cultures, especially Spanish and Miami’s valued Latinx community. The resources and classes necessary to learn a second language should not be narrowed down only to specific international magnet programs; rather, they should be available to every student at every school. By providing equal access to bilingual education, students countywide will have the opportunity to gain a key asset for the workplace and their daily lives. In addition, our county should provide students who speak Spanish or another language at home the resources necessary to expand on that skill. Learning English as a second language through an ESL program should be viewed as an asset in our district, and we will empower every student, regardless of the language they speak at home, with the academic support they need to expand upon their skills.
Career and Technical Education (CTE) provides a much needed form of curriculum in our schools. For many students, the hands-on and applicable coursework provides a direct pathway to good paying jobs. Ultimately, education should serve to fight the trends of intergenerational poverty and empower our students to obtain careers they enjoy, and CTE serves as the embodiment of these goals. Career and Technical Education serves to expand the skills retained by our students, ensuring that they enter the workplace and their lives fully prepared to excel to their fullest potential. Since CTE provides such needed skills to our students, we must fully support the CTE program.
We must begin by providing our CTE instructors with the full range of resources needed in order to teach the curriculum to the best of their abilities. By providing our instructors with every available resource, we in turn provide our students with the opportunities they need to succeed in the program and in their lives. Furthermore, we must expand the current scope of Career and Technical Education, allowing it to be more accessible across schools. By implementing CTE curriculum and opportunities in more schools, students will then have the ability to gain the valuable resources provided by the program. By creating well coordinated and staffed programs district wide, our students will be supplied with the options that will allow them to chart their path to success.