ED 595: Facilitating Equity

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Facilitating Equity

Through reflection on this week’s required studies and your personal or professional experiences with equity and equality, consider how you might best impact change in your professional world. While you might not have the power to enact system-wide change, you have the power to begin change in your community of learners.

Reflect on and respond to the following:

  1. Why is it important to develop equity in your classroom?
    • How will this perspective affect what you teach?
    • How will you teach it?
  2. Identify a change you believe you could make or have made in your classroom, school, or professional life that would or has supported the notion of excellence through equity. What is one small thing you could implement right away that would make a difference for your students or community members?
    • Describe the change as well as the rationale for it and the intended outcome you would like to see.
    • How will you know it is successful?
  3. While reading chapter 1 of the text (Blankstein, Noguera, & Kelly, 2016), what is one insight you gleaned from the experiences of the faculty, staff, and students at Brockton High School to affirm or modify your proessional practice?
  4. What two insights did you gain by watching the video A Class Divided (Peters & Cobb, 1985)? How will those insights impact your promotion of equity and equality in your personal or professional capacities?

Support your statements with evidence from the required studies and your research. Cite and reference your sources in APA style.

Click here for information on course rubrics.

References

Blankstein, A. M., Noguera, P., & Kelly, L. (2016). Excellence through equity: Five principles of courageous leadership to guide achievement for every student. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development.

Peters, W. & Cobb, C. (Writers), & Peters, W. (Director). (1985). A class divided [Television series episode]. In J. McFadden [Producer], Frontline. Boston, MA: Public Broadcasting Service.

Equity and Equality in a Community of Learners

On the left, under the heading “Equality,” there are three people watching a baseball game from behind a fence. Each person is standing on the same size box; however, one person is very tall, another is medium, and the third is too short to see over the fence even with the box. On the right, under the heading “Equity,” the same three figures appear in the same context. Now, however, the tallest figure stands on the ground, the middle figure stands on one box, and the shortest person stands on two boxes, the end result being that all three people see equally well over the fence.
Figure 1. Equality doesn’t mean justice (Indian Funny Pictures, n.d.).

In the United States, more than 100 years ago, teachers in the one-room schoolhouse faced a challenging task: They had to divide their time and energy among a broad spectrum of learners. In the one-room schoolhouse, students of different ages, abilities, and backgrounds learned side by side. The teacher was faced with students who had never held a pencil or read a book, as well as older, more advanced students.

Even though today’s teachers generally work with children who are similar in age and in a single grade level or content area, they are faced with the same challenge as the one-room schoolhouse—how to reach out effectively to students who span the spectrum of learning in readiness, interest, culture, and background knowledge. Today’s classrooms have as large an array of needs as the one-room schoolhouses. So, how do teachers ensure excellence for all?

  • Equity: All students are given the same opportunity.
  • Equality: All students are treated equally.

At first glance, the two terms may seem redundant. If all students are treated equally, in the end they will have access to the same opportunities, right? Unfortunately, they will not. It is important to point out these terms are not synonymous; equality connotes sameness or uniformity, whereas equity implies justice. For example, providing the same level of funding for both wealthy and poor school districts may be “equal,” but not necessarily equitable. Students in poorer districts generally require a substantially higher level of financial support.

What is your biggest challenge as a teacher? How have your classrooms changed since you began teaching or since you were an elementary student? How have YOU modified your teaching style to accommodate these changes? Most of you probably responded to these questions with an answer centered on the increasingly broad spectrum of student needs, backgrounds, and learning styles. This course will examine the unique attributes of a true community of diverse learners, how to foster each child as an active participant, and how to ensure equity of opportunity for all students.

References

Indian Funny Picture. (n.d.) Equality doesn’t mean justice

Weekly Objectives

Through participation in the following activities, the candidate will:

  • Accurately perceive themselves as cultural/ethnic people who live and work with students and their families in a culturally and ethnically shaped society, and use that perspective to respond to their students’ needs, strengths, and learning styles. (3l, 9e)
    • Introductions
    • Facilitating Equity
  • Describe the way issues of equality can impact the learning environment. (3l, 9i)
    • Introductions
    • Facilitating Equity

Heads Up

During this course, you will be asked to consider your perspective—both personally and professionally—on a variety of powerful topics. Many people have strong feelings about some of these issues, particularly if they have personal experience that informs their understanding. The goal of this course is to help you learn more about creating successful communities of learners by actively and thoughtfully participating in our online community. As such, you are asked to be considerate of others’ experiences, engage in the course content with an open mind, and reflect thoughtfully on what others are contributing. These attitudes and strategies will go far toward making our community a safe place to learn for all.

Required Studies

The following materials are required studies for this week. Complete these studies at the beginning of the week and save these materials for future use. Full references for these materials are listed in the Required Course Materials section of the syllabus.

Excellence Through Equity (Blankstein, Noguera, & Kelly, 2016)
  • Introduction: Achieving Excellence Through Equity for Every Student
  • Chapter 1: Brockton High School, Brockton, Massachusetts (Szachowicz, 2015, pp. 31-44)
  • Chapter 2: The Path to Equity: Whole System Change (Fullan, 2015, pp. 45-54)
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Optional Activity

One of the challenges of creating and supporting equitable classroom communities is being aware of your own biases and preferences in ways that allow you to reflect on and take action to increase your acceptance of others.

The resource below can help you to explore your own perceptions. Exploration of this site and the materials included therein is optional but encouraged because of the reflective opportunities.

Project Implicit. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/

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