EQUITY IN EDUCATION PROBLEMS AND SOLUTIONS
Education equity has long been a goal. It’s also an ideal that’s embraced in a number of settings. Even the Founding Fathers saw education as a lofty goal to which every citizen should aspire. Unfortunately, the practice of educational equality has shown to be ineffective. That is, equality is a tough ideal to sustain, and many solutions that have attempted to do so have failed miserably.
The No Child Left Behind Act is, of course, the most visible and horrifying feature. However, even Obama has dabbled in an effort to regulate educational equality. “Some young Americans – most of them white and wealthy – are obtaining a world-class education,” according to a 2013 assessment, “while others who attend schools in high poverty areas are getting an education that more closely resembles institutions in developing countries.”
Given this seeming circumstance, ensuring that every kid in the United States obtains a high-quality education is a significant challenge. This fundamental barrier has yet to be overcome.
The government report recommended that states identify and report on the teaching staff, programs, and services they deem necessary for a quality education, as well as adopting and implementing a school finance system that provides “equitable and sufficient funding” for all students to meet learning standards.
Part of the difficulty with these suggested solutions is that they believe states and, eventually, schools can figure out what they need or what they need to do in order to deliver a decent education. Based on this research and, no doubt, many others, the presumption is that money – ideally money poured into schools – would fix educational problems. To put it another way, reallocating resources to help schools in poorer regions, coupled with some reporting on identified needs, will be enough to bring the public education system back into balance.
This is a concern since the subject of fairness, and maybe equality, is significantly more complicated than this situation allows for. There are several factors at work here, not simply the financial ones. Because it is very desired to acquire a placement in this sector, students in particular wealthy neighborhoods have access to the top professors. It’s also a lot of work to even attempt it.
The first step is to figure out how, in general, education can be made more egalitarian for all kids. Above important, this assessment should not directly include instructors or administrators, since their evaluations may be influenced, but rather should be done via observation.
Second, the states should give input on the most successful equity-building initiatives and policies.
Finally, if equity is to be maintained, educational systems must have a method for reviewing data about proposed changes in learning methodologies and goals. These methods should be developed to assist teachers and administrators in understanding not just what they must avoid, but also what they can do to attain optimum equality in the future.
As a result of the recent higher education crisis, in which rich families and well-known media celebrities were charged with federal charges of college entry admission cheating, equality in education continues to be a hot subject among stakeholders throughout the country. In light of recent research indicating that children from immigrant or minority families (including Native American Indians) are less likely than their peers to finish secondary education or be accepted to a university, something important must be done. It is undeniable that there is a major and persistent issue.
Despite the fact that several articles have been published giving answers, the dilemma continues to persist. We have to dig a little deeper. We must reexamine the fundamentals of how our educational system operates and is supported.
First, let us define the term “equity” and then consider four significant approaches to addressing the problem of equality in education.
What is the definition of educational equity?
According to the dictionary, equity is defined as “fairness and impartiality based on the principles of even-handed treatment,” and it “involves offering as much regard, latitude, or benefit to one party as is provided to the other(s).”
In the context of education, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) provides a more applicable definition: “A fair and inclusive system that ensures that the benefits of education are available to everyone.”
Equitable treatment against unequal treatment
The distinct contrasts between equity and equality are often misunderstood. Many times, they are used erroneously in the same sentence. While both equity and equality are important components of social justice and equitable resource distribution, they are fundamentally distinct concepts to understand.
According to the National Association for Multicultural Education, “equality is essentially concerned with treating individuals in the same manner or providing them with equal access to resources and opportunities.”
Equity, on the other hand, is a bit different. Equity is concerned with ensuring that everyone has access to the resources they need to be successful – even if this implies that there is uneven distribution of resources across socioeconomic lines. According to the American Association of School Administrators (AASA), equity’s major goal is “building school cultures that acknowledge and respect diversity,” which they define as “developing school cultures that recognize and value variety.”
How to Achieve Educational Equity
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) outlines ten initiatives stakeholders may take to achieve educational parity. Following those procedures, I’ve limited it down to four main regions.
Make culturally sensitive teaching a top priority.
As Zaretta Hammond points out in her book Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain, the true cause of academic struggles is not a “culture of poverty,” but rather a “failure to provide learners with sufficient opportunities in the classroom to develop the skills and habits of mind necessary to prepare them for more advanced academic tasks.”
Culturally responsive education, or “cultural competence,” as I refer to it, focuses on elevating and expanding the learning capacities of students who have traditionally been marginalized in the educational system, an approach that can go a long way toward addressing the common challenges associated with cultural incompetence. Students from historically disadvantaged groups are given the opportunity to think critically and creatively, and all students are taught how to interact well with individuals from a variety of cultural backgrounds. This prepares them to compete on the global stage.
Differentiated teaching (sometimes known as “tailored learning”) should be provided.
The term “differentiated instruction” refers to the process of determining the requirements of each student and providing them with learning opportunities and challenges that meet those needs. In other words, educational systems must offer facilities and situations that are favorable to customized learning. This will often need a departure from standard classroom configurations. Furthermore, instructors must design learning experiences that take into account the requirements, interests, learning styles, and preferences of each student. “We need to invest in curriculum where each kid has the chance to develop personal distinctiveness and self-reliance,” writes John Taylor Gatto in his book Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling.
This field may benefit from the usage of data, which is one such technology. Why? Because people’s views of what is going on in the school community are sometimes different from what is really occurring. Researchers may look into equity-related statistics to assist educators in developing lessons that benefit all kids.
Inform the allocation of resources of your findings.
Additionally, stakeholders must consider how resources, ranging from literature offered in classrooms to student finance and the architecture and setup of schools, effect fairness. Students from low-income households and students of color have historically required additional resources in order to compete on an equal playing field. Those with impairments, on the other hand, need proper infrastructure in order to overcome their difficulties.
These organizations get the benefits of greater financing. It has a significant influence on educational results how we deploy these resources inside the classroom, within a school district, and at the national level. In addition to programs such as Title 1, which are now being slashed in several states and in the President’s most recent budget request, professional development is also essential.
Everyone should be able to choose their own school, and this should be encouraged.
In a free society, why shouldn’t students have the option to choose their own school? It also seems to be a desired situation to have one’s education be completely independent of government financing, and hence completely independent of any possible modern-day brainwashing or influence. In principle, the concept of school choice has tremendous potential to promote fairness and accessibility.
The Model encourages more personalised instruction and less of a herding approach to education. A major obstacle to effective implementation is the recognition and removal of additional obstacles that must be removed in order for this to genuinely be a “option for everyone.” Transportation is a good example. Some families just do not have the financial wherewithal to transport their children to and from a faraway educational institution. In order to meet this demand in public education, resources must constantly be made available. As our society progresses, we must intensify our efforts to identify and remove obstacles, so that every kid has a greater chance of realizing his or her full potential.
Is it possible that shifting public funding to private institutions would eventually result in equality, and isn’t equity essential to our strength as a society, or even as a species, to begin with? Those monies, in my view, should be invested in our public schools in order to increase educational parity. Further segregation via school choice—eventually self-selection segregation—generally diminishes diversity; if not done with fairness and access in mind and with purposeful activity, this may ultimately impede kids’ capacities to operate in a globalized society.
The most important takeaway
“It’s ludicrous and anti-life to be a member of a system that compels you to sit in captivity with individuals who are precisely the same age and socioeconomic class as you are,” Gatto writes. The richness and synergy of existence are effectively cut off by such a system; fact, it cuts you off from your own history and future.” The only way to solve fairness in the school system is to address it at a more basic and deeper level.