How schools can create an equitable education environment

Updated: Mar 29

Guest post from Dr. Jose Lalas and Dr. Heidi Strikwerda

 

Equity can be defined as a responsive educational attempt that is provided to meet the instructional needs of students when they need it, in a way that is relevant to their academic backgrounds and social and cultural identities.


This is not to be confused with equality, which means offering the same instruction to everyone regardless of who they are or their background.


Here are some things educators can do to create an equitable educational environment.


Educators must try hard to examine, challenge, and upgrade their own beliefs about intelligence, ability, diversity, and instruction.


Believe it or not, our view of how we provide equity to students depends on our mindset! Do we provide equity because students are deficient, or do we provide equity because we know who they are, what their assets are, and how we can help them develop their potential?


All educators must aspire to understand that 👇

➡️ Equity and excellence are compatible.

➡️ All students must have access to rigorous and joyful educational opportunities.

➡️ All students' social identities need to be recognized.


Schools must recognize all students' needs in order to redistribute and reallocate resources, services, and attention to ensure that all students have equal capabilities and opportunities for success.


Schools must address the disparity in student achievement, identify low-achieving and high-achieving students, and institute coherence in meeting all students' program and instructional needs regardless of their social, cultural, and class identities.


Schools must put equity at the center of their work with all students, teachers, administrators, classified staff, and parents...because ALL MATTER. We need to attend to any structural or institutional inequities and interrupt them as they arise.


Schools must promote equity as an expression of hope and educational justice and be determined to implement it, for "without equity, how can a school ever truly be excellent?" (Burris & Garrity, 2008, p. 158).


If you would like to find out how your school can institute major equitable practices, feel free to email Dr. Lalas (Jose_Lalas@redlands.edu) and Dr. Strikwerda (heidi_strikwerda@redlands.edu).


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