By Ariama Long
Aneth Naranjo, 23, is originally from Ecuador. She migrated to the city when she was 7 years old. Once she was settled in Brooklyn, she ended up attending primarily white schools near Manhattan Beach. She said it was next to impossible to find books about her culture in the classroom or school library for a long time, so she didn’t think about her indigenous heritage growing up. Most of her teachers made her feel like she wasn’t a part of the classroom.
“It was really a shock of different cultures. I think that not knowing the language and not knowing how things worked and the lack of adequate resources meant I would often feel isolated in school settings,” said Naranjo.
Research shows that major publishing companies that produce content and books on English Language Arts curricula in public schools across the country lack racial diversity, and that the vast majority of authors were white with a handful of Native American, Latino and Black authors.
The NYU Metropolitan Center Research on Equity and the Transformation of Schools (Metro Center) analyzed the Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, McGraw Hill and Savvas Learning Company (formerly known as Pearson) publishing companies. Each has their own prepared standardized curriculum: McGraw Hill’s “Wonders,” Savvas’ “myView” and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s “Into Reading.” Using a culturally responsive scorecard, which Naranjo participated in, NYU in partnership with NYC Coalition for Educational Justice (CEJ) and a team of public school parents, students and educators analyzed three of the nation’s most widely used elementary school ELA curriculum.