The latest skirmishes in education’s never-ending culture wars—the tussles about critical race theory, “anti-racist” education, and diversity, equity, and inclusion in the classroom—can be dispiriting. I’ve got friends and colleagues on both sides of these battles, who hold positions that are both heartfelt and hardening. I am not naïve enough to believe that they are likely to declare a truce anytime soon. Nor do I have any particular wisdom about the perfect way to address these sensitive issues.
Still, I believe that common ground is there to be found, if not between the hard-liners on either side, then at least among parents and educators out there in the real world of kids and classrooms. I also believe that a great many Americans yearn to occupy such ground. After a crippling pandemic and way too much partisan warfare, so many of us long to get back to working together to help all students make progress. Here are five promising and praiseworthy practices that I believe most of us could get behind, regardless of our politics or our views on other issues, while doing a lot of good for millions of kids.