Evaluating Cultural Diversity Within K-12 Institutions

April 23, 2024
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April 23, 2024
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Evaluating Cultural Diversity Within K-12 Institutions


Making strategies for the achievement of cultural diversity in K-12 institutions alone will not lead to the desired outcome. There is need to constantly evaluate that the stipulated goals and strategies are being implemented and gauge the timelines required to achieve the end goal.

The evaluation of the stipulated strategies evaluates how stakeholders are contributing towards achieving the set goals, what are the challenges towards the goal set, what is missing to reach the desired goal and what can be done to reach the set goal. This paper analyses the goals and strategies set towards implementing cultural diversity in K-12 institutions and provides possible interventions that may further push for the achievement of cultural diversity in the education sector.




Cultural diversity in K-12 institutions, is of importance in order to ensure a generation that lives coherently and appreciates the cultural differences of people across the world. Addressing cultural diversity at the K-12 level takes advantage of the tender age of a child and uses that opportunity to teach diversity to children at an age where they are malleable to learn new concepts and use the throughout their lives.

Promoting cultural diversity in K-12 institutions requires the collaboration and goodwill of different stakeholders in the education sector. Certain goals and strategies were discussed in the previous paper on how cultural diversity in K-12 institutions can be achieved. There were also certain challenges that were identified that limited the achievement of implementing cultural diversity in K-12 institutions. This paper will look to investigate if those goals and strategies have been met in line with achieving cultural diversity in K-12 institutions and provide interventions to address deficiencies that limit promoting cultural diversity in K-12 institutions.

Achievement of Goals set for the Implementation of Cultural Diversity in K-12 institutions

Shifting of the Curriculum

The goal with shifting of the curriculum was to introduce or increase more content in the curriculum that sensitizes children on the diverse cultures and instills skills for the understanding, appreciation and respect for the different cultures in the world. Certain steps towards this goal has been achieved as most schools in the US now dedicate a whole month to teach their students on the history and contribution of the black people in the US society.

While this is a step in the right direction, there are questions raised on the sustainability of such initiative and their long-term impact on the students. Some have argued that activities such as Black History month is done as a formality without impacting much on the students(Johnson, 2018). There is also the concern that other cultures are being left out of such opportunities therefore not being recognized in the education system.

A shift in the curriculum has not been achieved and may take significant time to achieve this goal as it is the reserve of the school district board and not the schools and this is usually a long process.

Promoting Readings Promoting Cultural Inclusivity

The idea behind this goal was to have teachers introduce to their students reading material by authors of different cultures, books describing cultural diversity or actual books on the issues of cultural diversity based on the age of the children. Such literature would trigger the curiosity of the children to explore culture diversity.

The goal to introduce new literature is being achieved across different classrooms especially in the US classrooms. Teachers are now introducing to their students books by authors of diverse cultures set in diverse backgrounds around the world (Schwartz, 2019). The books introduce students to new settings away from their normalcy. In reading such books, the students become inquisitive of new cultures and with the assistance of their teachers, the issue of cultural diversity is discussed in the classroom.

The reason behind the success of this initiative is because it less bureaucratic in its achievement and relies on the teacher and by minimal extension the school management.

Cultural Activities

Promoting cultural activities within the K-12 institutions will provide an opportunity for students to interact with diverse cultures. Since culture comes alive in the activities and way of life of the people, bringing such activities to the classroom bring the culture to the students as opposed to just reading about the culture.

The goal to introduce cultural activities is being implemented in certain schools. This is done by giving each student an activity to do that showcases their culture inform of the other students. These activities range from music, fashion or storytelling(Civitillo, Juang&Schachner, 2018). Before the Covid-19 pandemic, some schools would allow students to bring a meal from their culture to share with others. Such activities allow students to experience firsthand the differences in culture and also get an opportunity to ask questions about the various cultures in a safe environment.

Staffing Policies to promote Cultural Inclusivity

Staffing policies for K-12 institutions should ensure that students are exposed to teachers from different cultures to drive the knowledge of cultural inclusion. Having teachers from different cultural backgrounds and especially for minority communities helps to have teachers that offer culturally relevant education and can relate to the plight of the students in the education system.

The goal to have a diversified teaching force is far from being achieved especially in the US. While the student population is diversifying by the day, teachers in the classrooms remain predominantly white.  The situation is even worse for K-12 institutions where educators are less likely to be non-white(US Department of Education, 2016). The situation is caused by an outdated policy to get into the teaching process that does not take into account the need to diversity in the classroom(Partelow, Brown, Spong& Johnson, 2017).

Training of Teachers to Promote Cultural Inclusivity

Regular training of teachers to issues of cultural diversity was a goal aimed at providing educators with the requisite skill to promote cultural inclusivity in the class and to be prepared to handle any cultural issues within the classroom.

Training for educators for better cultural inclusivity is being achieved in certain states. The recent movements for the end to racial injustices have pointed to inequality of education which necessitated the need to train teachers for cultural inclusivity. States like Minnesota, through the Minnesota Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board (PELSB), have made it a requirement to show evidence of cultural competence training for educators hoping to renew their licenses in or after 2020(Minnesota PELBS, 2020). While this is a step in the right direction, the cost for the training is borne by the educator.

Regular Conversations on Culture

Promoting cultural inclusivity requires that discussion on cultural differences are openly discussed in class. The discussions are important as children already acknowledge the difference among their fellow classmates and it would be counterproductive not to acknowledge such differences. The goal is to have honest, open and respectful discussions on culture in a way that allows students to be respectful of different cultures.

The goal for regular conversations is being achieved across classrooms in the US. The Black Lives Matter movement and the subsequent movements on racial injustices set the pace to have discussions around cultural differences and especially those relating to race. Educators, now that schools are back in session, have been faced with question on cultural differences especially from the ever inquisitive K-12 students. It has therefore necessitated the need to have conversations to answer the student’s questions(Watson, Hagopian& Au, 2018).There is need to have such conversations facilitated by educators with training in cultural competence to prevent cultural inappropriateness or passing any negative bias to the students.

Challenges facing the Implementation of Cultural Diversity in K-12 institutions

Geographical Requirement for School Districts

In most countries, the school district is a concept where areas are subdivided intro districts each with public schools ranging from the elementary level, middle and high school. Some districts include tertiary education. The way the school districts work is that children have to attend school within their school district, unless they opt for private schools. While this system has its advantages especially in the management of the education system, it poses challenges to promoting diversity and especially in the K-12 institutions and especially in the United States.

In the US, the housing market means that minority communities and especially those with an immigrant background, are likely to be living in areas with affordable housing and therefore conglomerate in certain regions within the country(Wells, 2020). These means that it is possible to predict the composition of cultural diversity in classrooms across the US based on geographical locations. With this educational system, it is difficult to promote cultural diversity as some areas and especially in cities, the classrooms are likely to have more white students while areas like the Bronx are likely to have more black students(Wells, 2020).

What is Still Missing?

Lack of Collaboration Within the Education Stakeholders

The most significant missing piece for the promotion of cultural diversity within K-12 institutions is the lack of collaborative effort between the various stakeholders in the educations sector. The school district boards act in segregation with the teachers, parents and even the students(Johnson, 2016). Most teachers advocate for cultural promotion in the classroom and have firsthand experience dealing with cultural diversity. Any efforts towards promoting cultural diversity should include the teachers who are best suited to propose changes towards promotion of cultural diversity. However, school district positions are largely political with most efforts by the board members being to retain their positions and not the welfare of the education system.

Non Uniformity of the Curriculum

The education system in the US is based on the State System. Different States have different curriculums and different education standards. The rationale behind this provision it based on the autonomy given to the states to set rules that best fit their situation. The problem of the differences in curriculum is that it does not promote cultural diversity in schools(Washington, 2018). Some states in the country still have homogeneity of culture and therefore the school districts would not see the need to promote cultural diversity as it would not apply in the state.

Possible Interventions to Promote Cultural Diversity

Exchange Programs

Exchange programs could work to fill the limitation to promoting cultural diversity as presented by the formation of school districts. Exchange programs have become popular across tertiary institutions globally where a student moves to another school for a limited period within their country or even anywhere across the world. Exchange programs for K-12 institutions may be a little difficult as most students return home after the end of the day and their tender ages would limit their ability to move to a new school for prolonged durations.

Exchange programs for K-12 institutions would take the form of integrated school trips, having extra-curricular activities across different schools and even having certain classes taught across different schools. This would help children from different neighborhoods interact with each other and in the process promote cultural diversity. Since the curriculum within most states is similar, having the exchange program within a state would not be difficult as the content taught in the schools is similar.

Virtual Classes

Virtual classes have become a reality in the education sector globally during the Covid-19 pandemic. Virtual classes cure the limitation caused by the geographical limitation of the school districts and could be used to promote cultural diversity in the classrooms. How this would work would be to dedicate a lesson within a week to discuss culture and cultural difference across the students. The teachers of this unit would unit their students virtually with a screen in the classroom. This would mean that even children without access to virtual classes would not be disadvantages as this would happen within their normal classes.

Using virtual classes would mean students get exposed to a wider more diverse class which would make the diversity lesson more relatable and at the same time increase the reach of students to meet a wider pool of cultural diversity. Using virtual classes would also be a cheaper and better option for schools that would not afford regular exchange programs.

Legislation for Cultural Diversity in the Classroom

The federal government does not play a significant role in educational institutions and especially K-12 institutions, as that is a mandate of the state government. This arrangement has resulted in different curriculums some of which do not promote cultural diversity in eh classroom. The Federal government could make legislation towards the enforcement of cultural diversity in the classrooms, with certain basic standards towards its implementation(Washington, 2018). The effect of such a move would be to ensure that cultural diversity is taught throughout all schools without interfering with the state’s ability to implement education in their respective jurisdictions.

Legislative measures should also be made compelling educators to have training in cultural competency and that such training is regularly offered to the educators through an arrangement with the school district boards.


Cultural diversity cannot be wished away especially in the education sector. The classroom is becoming more diverse and it is the time to make sure that the education system evolves with the evolving demography in the classroom. Achieving the expected result of cultural diversity in the classroom requires constantly evaluating the progress of suggested initiatives within the education sector.

As analyzed above, certain set goals and strategies are already being implemented and this is a step in the right direction for cultural diversity in the classroom. However, the goals being achieved are those that require the intervention of the teacher or the school. Goals that require the intervention of the education system are proving difficult to implement due to the bureaucracy associated with the education system or the unwillingness of the education stakeholders. There is need for an overhaul of the education system in the US to allows for a system that swiftly addresses the changes required for an education that is suitable for cultural diversity as is the norm in the 21st century.





Civitillo, S., Juang, L., &Schachner, M. (2018). Challenging beliefs about cultural diversity in education: A synthesis and critical review of trainings with pre-service teachers. Educational Research Review24, 67-83. doi: 10.1016/j.edurev.2018.01.003

Johnson, P. (2016). Fostering Culturally Diverse Learning Environments. IDRA Newsletter43. Retrieved from https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED581443.pdf

Johnson, T. (2018). America Is Losing the Real Meaning of Black History Month. Retrieved 25 November 2021, from https://time.com/5162808/black-history-month-purpose/

Minnesota PELBS. (2020). Cultural Competency Trainings / Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board (PELSB). Retrieved 24 November 2021, from https://mn.gov/pelsb/current-educators/trainings/cct/

Partelow, L., Brown, C., Spong, A., & Johnson, S. (2017). America Needs More Teachers of Color and a More Selective Teaching Profession. Retrieved 24 November 2021, from https://americanprogress.org/article/america-needs-teachers-color-selective-teaching-profession/

Schwartz, S. (2019). Teachers Push for Books With More Diversity, Fewer Stereotypes. Retrieved 24 November 2021, from https://www.edweek.org/teaching-learning/teachers-push-for-books-with-more-diversity-fewer-stereotypes/2019/06

US Department of Education. (2016). THE STATE OF RACIAL DIVERSITY IN THE EDUCATOR WORKFORCE. Washington: OFFICE OF PLANNING, EVALUATION AND POLICY DEVELOPMENT U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION. Retrieved from https://www2.ed.gov/rschstat/eval/highered/racial-diversity/state-racial-diversity-workforce.pdf

Washington, S. (2018). Diversity in Schools Must Include Curriculum. Retrieved 24 November 2021, from https://tcf.org/content/commentary/diversity-schools-must-include-curriculum/

Watson, D., Hagopian, J., & Au, W. (2018). Teaching for Black lives. Rethinking Schools.

Wells, A. (2020). Racial, Ethnic, and Cultural Diversity Across K–12 and Higher Education Sectors: Challenges and Opportunities for Cross-Sector Learning. Change: The Magazine Of Higher Learning52(2), 56-61. doi: 10.1080/00091383.2020.1732787