Public Montessori is growing rapidly with 500 public Montessori schools enrolling over 125,000 students. They serve a diverse population of students: over half are students of color; almost half are living at or near the poverty line. Some non-profit Montessori schools work with similar populations in the private sector.
We know that Montessori offers children the executive functioning skills that link to long-term school success, skills that are missing from other successful public education reform models like “No Excuses” charter schools. Yet even the most successful of these public Montessori schools can still have achievement gaps by race, a disproportionately white teaching force, and enrollment obstacles like preschool tuition fees, lack of transportation and information gaps that can prevent the most vulnerable students from enrolling. We want to offer low income students and students of color a spectacular Montessori education, and convince policy-makers that Montessori is an effective model of education reform.
Our mission: Montessori for Social Justice is a network of educators, parents and community members committed to offering Montessori for all students, particularly in underserved communities. We hope to:
- demonstrate that Montessori is effective at enrolling a diverse population of students in its public district, magnet and charter schools
- show that public/non-profit Montessori schools can result in high achievement for students of color and help close the opportunity gap
- increase the number of Montessori teachers of color
- increase the cultural competencies of all Montessori teachers so that Montessori is culturally responsive to students of color.
Here’s how we’re working to achieve these goals:
- Opening and sustaining a dialogue: As a group, Montessori for Social Justice has created a space in the Montessori community to have conversations around these 4 aims through an online community of over 600 Montessori teachers and parents who share information and ask questions.
- Building a community: Recognizing the importance of building a strong network of like-minded educators, since 2014, we have hosted an annual conference in a local school or training center. Our 2016 gathering is at Tobin Montessori in Cambridge, MA in June, and will feature an anti-bias/anti-racism leadership workshop.
- Developing and sharing best practice materials:
- Our website, http://montessoriforsocialjustice.org, is a site to share resources to represent the diversity of students and teachers working in Montessori and a place to share best practices developed by our “Codifying Practices” committee.
- We created 9 short films of public Montessori teachers talking about their work to be used for teacher recruitment.
- We plan to create a “How culturally responsive is your school?” rubric to support administrators and teachers, and develop a training module that could be used by Montessori training centers.
4. Collaborating with other Montessori organizations, social justice institutions and the education reform community to increase the representation of these topics at Montessori conferences and to increase awareness of Montessori in mainstream education gatherings like the TFA 25th anniversary summit, the Progressive Education Conference, and the Yale Educational Leadership Conference.
How you can help:
– Come to our 4th annual conference in 2017
– Write for the Montessori for Social Justice Blog to share your own story
– Develop and share classroom/video materials featuring Montessori students and teachers of colorShare This: