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Want To Address Teachers’ Unconscious Biases? First, Talk About Race

As Ayana Coles gazed at the 20 teachers gathered in her classroom, she knew the conversation could get uncomfortable. And she was prepared. “We are going to experience discomfort — well, we may or may not experience it — but if we have it that’s OK,” said Coles, a third grade teacher at Eagle Creek Elementary School in Indianapolis.

At Eagle Creek, students of color make up 77 percent of the student body. All but four of the school’s 37 staff are white. Throughout this past year, Coles has led a series of after-school discussions with teachers about race.