As schools across the nation grapple with issues of race, social justice, curriculum, health, and staffing, Andrea M. Kane brings the perspective of 25 years in Maryland and Virginia K–12 public schools to her work with aspiring and current teachers and leaders at Penn’s Graduate School of Education. A professor of practice who joined the school in 2021, Kane works with students in the Mid-Career Doctoral Program in Educational Leadership and the Teaching, Learning, and Leadership master’s program, preparing them to address complex issues and provide valuable learning opportunities to all students.
Instructional leadership, equity, and the connection between the two have been themes of Kane’s work. “Overall, I’ve looked at who is learning and who is not, and what instructional practices we can employ to ensure that children who are at the margins are brought to the center and made a focus of instruction, while we continue to challenge all of the students. The focus isn’t just one group of students—it’s got to be everybody,” she says. “Equity looks different in different places, but the theme is that we give to students—we ensure they have what they need to meet their full potential.”
Teaching about race in schools has become a controversial issue as some communities have sought to restrict curriculum content, including in Queen Anne’s County. “We need to teach children the truth about our history. Let’s talk about why slavery happened, and let children reflect on the conditions that allowed it to happen, and how important it is for those not to find their way into the current reality,” Kane says. “This is not about making white children feel ashamed because white people were slave owners, any more than it’s about making Black children feel ashamed because their ancestors were enslaved. This is about helping children grapple with hard issues, so that they grow up to be adults who can do the same.”
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