Our International Educator Equity Statement
International education prides itself on being cross-cultural, linguistically versatile, and a bridge between nations. Unfortunately, not only are the voices of ethnically and culturally diverse educators often ignored or silenced (Gozali, Claassen Thrush, Soto-Peña, Whang, & Luschei, 2017), they’re too often not even given a chance to interview for positions and speak or publish in the international school community. International education was, in some regions, birthed out of a post-colonial mentality (Burke, 2017; Khalifa, Bashir-Ali, Abdi, & Arnold, 2014), fitting the needs of white, western expatriate families who frequently misunderstood, mischaracterized, didn’t engage, or even harmed host cultures and communities. While this has not always been the case—the more recent international education market exists due in part to the boom of globalized economies and the internationalization of education more generally— more than just small remnants of postcolonial racism, native-speakerism (Moussu & Llurda, 2008), exploitation, and cultural appropriation remain.
More than just relics, whiteness and western ideals continue to perpetuate longstanding eras of oppression in more socially “accepted” forms that often suppress differences. The veneer of 21st century skills, visa restrictions, and market demands; the sense of control or power some are unwilling to release; fear of change and the unknown; lack of awareness regarding our intersectional identities: these camouflaging-mentalities stifle the essence of international education, suppress many in the international community of educators, and reinforce untrue or stereotypical lens through which consumers of international education—students and their families—view the world. International education, however, is hardwired to disavow most of these mentalities and the institutions that perpetuate them.
As concerned international educators, instead we vow to create conversations, model what our school missions and visions promote, and take action to disrupt inequitable practices.
We acknowledge the important work that other equity-centered educators have been doing for years. The idea for this pledge takes its cue from CleartheAir, CleartheAirUK, BAMEed, DiverseEd, and EduColor. The #EducatorEquity Pledge inspired this new pledge. International groups and forums such as KDSL Global, EDspired, The Global Sleepover, Live.Love.Teach!, LLC, Women of Color in ELT, Association of International Educators and Leaders of Color, International Educator Equity Forum, the Diversity Collaborative of International Schools Services, and other individuals and groups inspire us to keep working together, to keep (un-)learning, and to keep moving forward.
We Pledge To:
Not wait any longer, but to speak up now about racism and all forms of discrimination in international education.
Be students of our host cultures and to actively work toward understanding and engaging our local communities.
Counter xenophobia and long-standing cultural biases that place certain countries or cultures above others.
At all levels (boards, recruitment, accreditation, graduate programs, schools, parents, associations) become aware of our racial and cultural blind-spots by reading about, listening to, and collaborating with racially and ethnically diverse educators. Focus on anti-racism work.
Challenge Whiteness, and even White Supremacy, in all its subtle and overt forms. For white educators, we acknowledge benefiting from privilege and structures of oppression against people of color, and we stand now to become part of the solution.
Actively ally with, amplify, and mentor educators of color who come from all parts of the globe.
Seek out and listen to diverse leaders and their opinions in our schools, organizations, and research because, through the inclusion of diverse ideas, we will come to better solutions for today’s educational needs across the world.
Work with schools to facilitate ongoing awareness, workshops, policies, and publications leading to greater equity for diverse educators.
Educate our students and parents about the value of racial and ethnic diversity through our conversations, curriculum, and school-community workshops.
Network with recruiters and their organizations to advocate for qualified, racially and ethnically diverse educators. If they cannot meet these needs, then we will seek alternative organizations.
Recognize that the English language—the medium of instruction in most international schools—can be learned and taught by any educator whose credentials indicate proficiency, experience, and instructional quality suitable for any international school setting.
Support those international education organizations committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion in order to create new pipelines for educators of color leading to greater employment opportunities and representation in conference presenters and organizers.
We believe that many international educators are already having conversations and taking action on these important issues. We also believe that far too few people are doing just these things. Waiting is a privilege that educators of color do not have. We are hopeful that the tide is turning,and urge that our eyes be fixed on international educator equity.
Join us #IntlEducatorEquity
Allen, R. L. (2001). The globalization of white supremacy: Toward a critical discourse on the racialization of the world. Educational Theory, 51(4), 467. Retrieved from https://wilkes.idm.oclc.org/login?url=https://search-proquest- com.wilkes.idm.oclc.org/docview/214143621?accountid=62703
Burke, L. E C. A. (2017). Casting a critical eye on the positioning of the western expatriate teacher. Journal of Research in International Education, 16(3), 213-224.
Gozali, C., Claassen Thrush, E., Soto-Peña, M., Whang, C., & Luschei, T. F. (2017). Teacher voice in global conversations around education access, equity, and quality. FIRE: Forum for International Research in Education, 4(1), 32-51. Retrieved from http://preserve.lehigh.edu/fire/vol4/iss1/2
Khalifa, M. A., Bashir-Ali, K., Abdi, N., & Arnold, N. W. (2014). From post-colonial to neoliberal schooling in Somalia: The need for culturally relevant school leadership among Somaliland principals. Planning and Changing, 45(3), 235-260. Retrieved from https://wilkes.idm.oclc.org/login?url=https://search-proquest- com.wilkes.idm.oclc.org/docview/1719405442?accountid=62703
Moussu, L., & Llurda, E. (2008). Non-native english-speaking english language teachers: History and research. Language Teaching, 41(3), 315-348. doi:http://dx.doi.org.wilkes.idm.oclc.org/10.1017/S0261444808005028