The Guiding Principles

The Guiding Principles of Cultural Proficiency serve as an introduction for a person or organization to identify their core values as they relate to issues of diversity.

The guiding principles provide a framework for the examination of the core values of schools and how espoused theory and theory in action differs as schools are undergoing academic self-study. The guiding principles counteract the Barriers and demonstrate how the diversity of students informs professional practice by responding to student learning needs. The Guiding Principles of Cultural Proficiency are:

  • Culture is a predominant force in shaping values, behaviors and institutions’ policies and practices.
  • People are served in varying degrees by the dominant culture
  • There is diversity within and among cultures and both are important
  • Every group has unique culturally-defined needs that must be respected
  • People have personal identities and group identities. The dignity of individuals is not guaranteed unless the dignity of their people is also preserved.
  • Each cultural group has unique cultural needs.
  • The best of both worlds enhances the capacity of all.
  • The family, as defined by each culture, is the primary system of support in the education of children.

School systems must recognize that marginalized populations have to be at least bicultural and that this status creates a unique set of issues to which the system must be equipped to respond.