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Bouley co-authors 2 books on inequality and implicit bias in education

Published on October 25, 2021

Bouley co-authors 2 books on inequality and implicit bias in education

Theresa Bouley
Professor of Education Theresa Bouley

Theresa Bouley, professor of education at Eastern Connecticut State University, recently co-authored two books on the socioeconomics of education. Titled “The Economic and Opportunity Gap: How Poverty Impacts the Lives of Students” and “Implicit Bias: An Educator’s Guide to the Language of Microaggressions,” the books represent more than 20 years of research in what Bouley calls the “manifestations of my life’s work.”

Published by the Rowman & Littlefield publishing company, “The Economic and Opportunity Gap” examines children and families living in poverty and offers advice to teachers on how to apply inclusive practices in their classrooms. “Implicit Bias” brings attention to the biases and microaggressions that students of different backgrounds face. The book highlights race, gender, LGBTQ+ involvement, religion, socioeconomic status and other various identities among students so that educators can effectively respond and eliminate biases and microaggression within their classroom. 

book cover According to the database company Statista, in 2018 the United States had the third highest child poverty rate in the world. “Educators need to know how to best support the needs of children and their families living in poverty,” said Bouley. “They need to be aware of how poverty impacts learning and how their biases, assumptions or judgements may be transmitted in their teaching practice.”

Bouley’s teaching approach combines social and racial justice with culturally responsive teaching in her classroom. “I want my students and teachers to see themselves as advocates for all students and families,” said Bouley. “To do this they need to know how to be culturally aware and competent, and be skilled at creating inclusive, safe environments for all students.”

Bouley is the president of the Connecticut chapter of the National Association for Multicultural Education (NAME), a non-profit organization that advocates for equity and social justice through education. As a teacher, her main focus is to bring attention to topics such as gender, sexuality, environmental education and the inclusion of LGBTQ+ students and families.

book cover Bouley urges teachers to pay attention to their own assumptions and know the signs that are biased and micro aggressive. “While all students and families experience microaggressions at some time or other, students who live in poverty and students of color or students with varying abilities or on the LGBTQ+ spectrum all experience microaggressions more commonly than their peers,” said Bouley. “Educators must see themselves as not simply caring, empathetic or supportive of children living in poverty, but feel empowered to work together to change the education system's policies that lead to inequity and perpetuate the opportunity gap.”

Bouley sees diversifying the teaching force and providing professional development on implicit bias as two primary ways to provide a more equitable and safe learning environment for all students. “My immediate plan is to provide professional development in local schools on implicit bias and ways to best support students and families living in poverty."

Written by Bobbi Brown