My apologies for the delay of this post. It seems like the internet can get a bit finicky in Tulane’s dorm. But to get to more important stuff…
If my Google reader news items illustrate anything, it is that education policy is a minefield of issues, each one waiting for a trigger so that it can occupy headlines and budget lines for a bit before the next issue explodes. With so many problems to tackle, I find it necessary to begin by looking at the big picture and examining our ultimate goal as educators: to provide all children with a high quality education that supports each student’s emotional and intellectual needs.
The key to accomplishing such a goal lies in imposing upon our education system a clear conception of equity. It is not sufficient to simply provide a quality education to all children for quality alone does not ensure that it is equitable. Equity, in this arena, has several implications and meanings that can be divided into three larger categories.
First, it means that the education provided is free from bias or favoritism. As Lisa Delpit explains in her book Other People’s Children: Cultural Conflict in the Classroom, the dominant society has a tendency of imposing their ideas, standards, and values onto the institutions of society, including education. However, these notions generally place the ideas, standards, and values of nondominant groups in inferior positions. For education to be equitable, the standards guiding it must be free of any bias for even the smallest traces of prejudice have the capacity to prevent students from achieving in the classroom.
Second, it means that the education system must critically examine the threads of racism, sexism, classism, and other forms of discrimination that manifest itself in schooling. In talking about them, educators must then develop teaching methods that better reflect the values of a diverse society. In particular, the methods must reflect the value that all people are equal and hence, all children have the capacity to learn and succeed in life.
Third, equity in education requires that teachers and administrators reflect the diversity of their students. Diverse leadership in schooling is necessary so that the opinions of many groups can find a place in education policy and so that school leadership, on a whole, might better reflect the diversity of their students.
In all components of education policy, from education initiatives to policy reform, the goal of making education as equitable as possible should guide our decision-making processes. This blog will largely be dedicated to exploring how are current system fosters equity education and how it could be improved to better accomplish the task at hand. Hopefully, the more we start thinking and talking about equity, the more able will we be to put ideas into practice and impact reality.