How can schools be more equitable?

Through the years, our people have faced different issues, from segregation and discrimination to the struggle of wanting equality. Due to the fact that many years ago schools were segregated and children of color never held the same rights to an education as the white children, now society has set that barrier. This barrier has separated everything from race, ethnicity, economic status, and education. Children who come from wealthier families will score approximately 88 points higher on the PISA reading test (Programme for International Student Assessment). In this link, you can see the different scoring between different countries. This allows us to see the equity between boys and girls, immigration status, and social backgrounds. It does not mean that the wealthier one is, the smarter they are. Schools that are not funded as much, lack the extra materials and help students need. The more money a school has the more it can provide for the students. Extra classes, extra tutoring help, new books, technology are all helpful tools that not many students have access too. If schools all received the same amount of funding as every other school, it does not mean that everything will be better. Depending on what the students’ needs are, some school will need more funding than others to provide and meet the needs of the most students possible.

Equity is something that takes time to accomplish and it will not make everyone happy. Schools need to provide the students with tools they need to be successful, even though some may need more than others. The most important factors also need to be taken into account, such as the long run benefits, academic benefits, price and how many students will this help. For example, a high school’s math and science department need new textbooks because the ones they have now are outdates, old and there is new research and techniques. On the other hand, 12 students just created an after school chess club but they need funding, but there is only so much money. This means that if the chess club gets funded, there would not be enough money to buy books, which will benefit more students, which one is more likely to get funded? Or the school could also be equal and give the chess club half of the money and let them keep any they have left over. The school can just buy books with the amount they have left, even if this means not having enough books. This would be equal but not fair. Some departments will forcefully need more money/ funding than others and that is equity. Of course the books will go a long way and benefit everyone, unlike the chess club.

That is how equity and equality differ in a school setting. Another example could be the special education classroom. The special education students need therapists, paraprofessionals, teacher aids, teachers (as much help as possible), equipment and tools to better help their learning. If the rest of the school is given the same amount of funding as the special education department, but they do not use it all for some reason and the special education department needs what they have left over constantly, that says something. That says the special education department is not being given what is needed to have successful students. This limitation can be depriving special education students while everyone else has left over money piling up. According to the Ten Steps of Equity in Education, directing resources to the students with the greatest needs, is one of the ten steps. It does not necessarily mean to leave out everyone else and forget about them. All this “step” means is to take care of the bigger issues first and work your way down to the little things. Also in this article it talks about how schools with the least equity, have higher dropout numbers and low school attainments. Being fair and providing opportunities is what equity in education is. This reminds me of the video named “A world where fish are no longer forced to climb trees”, where they are using one test to measure and test everyone, yet they all require different things. A fish can not climb a tree nor run, this meaning that everyone has different needs that need to be met, compare this with funding in school. We can’t treat everyone equally like monkeys and fishes but every department needs different materials.

 

Image result for don't ask a fish to climb a tree

Achiron, M. (1970, January 01). Making education more equitable. Retrieved March 24, 2017, from http://oecdeducationtoday.blogspot.com/2013/02/making-education-more-equitable.html

Ten steps to equity in education. (2008, January). Policy Brief.

http://www.oecd.org/education/school/39989494.pdf

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15 thoughts on “How can schools be more equitable?

  1. splummerblog says:

    Hi Leisdi, I really really liked all the points you brought up in your blog. You first hit on the past experience in education. It really unfortunate that because of where students live dictates the type of funding they receive. In The Teacher Wars we saw how location was used to reinforce segregation. Where students lived somehow justified segregation because people largely lived segregated. Now today that same justification is used when we look at funds for school. In “Unequal School Funding in the United States” we see exactly how large the spending divide is in schools across the nation, in states, and in districts. This article details how tax dollars are spent on students. Because schools are funded from (usually) local tax dollars where a student lives directly correlates to how much money is spent on a student in the school. This is unfortunate because it means all students across the U.S are not getting equal funding. This is where I feel that the phrase “education is an opportunity” doesn’t really make sense. Education is not an opportunity if students don’t get enough funding for books. When students are underfunded they are given no choice but to struggle through education. It is not impossible. But we are putting obstacles in the way pf our students that do not need to be there. This is the same cycle we put student through when we segregated them because if students are being punished through low funding schools because of where they live this is similar to punishing students because of the color of their skin. Obviously racial segregation is not the same as our current monetary segregation. Racial segregation was horrendous and it’s terrible that students had to suffer through it for so long. But you can’t help but draw parallels between these two situations.

    Thank you for your post!

    -Skylar

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  2. Teacher in Training says:

    There is a crippling issue facing schools today, funding. This is an even bigger issue in low-income school districts. It is known that minorities are more often seen in low income areas where schools are often of the same quality. These schools don’t have necessary funding that is needed to provide chess clubs and up-to-date books. It is my belief that fairness is key to having a well-run, high-quality education system. And like you stated in your blog post, a large issue is books and curriculums that are out of date. Some of the best books are too expensive for lower income school districts to afford. Thus, they are forced to use the out of date books that come at a much cheaper price. The state of Texas tried to eradicate this issue in 1993, when they came up with the Robin Hood Plan. This plan took money from the high-income schools and gave it to the low-income schools. In theory, this was a great plan. But in practice, schools were mad that their money was given away and the money that was given wasn’t enough to solve the low-income school’s issues. Because of this, the stereotype about minorities being less educated is given evidence. Without proper funding in these low-income areas, minorities are more likely to be less educated, which crushes me as a future educator
    There is also another issue that affects low-income schools. This is the fact that money is given to schools based off of standardized testing scores. Low-income schools tend to score lower than high-income schools because of the low quality of textbooks and curriculums. Because of the test scores, they are given less money. And they don’t get enough funding to increase the quality of education. This cycle repeats itself every year and these schools only get worse W. E. Maxwell). The key is to quit the vicious cycle of standardized testing. Not only is it restricting the educational freedom of students and teachers (an issue that I am very passionate about, but it’s another topic for another day), but it also limits the amount of funding to schools. There are so many issues facing educational quality and equity. If the people in charge of education were to look at the facts, maybe something would get done properly.

    Maxwell, W. E. (2016). Texas politics today (17th ed.). Australia: Cengage Learning.

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  3. sidneyborunda says:

    Leisdi Jimenez, you make a good point in your blog. Your comments on the fact that society has set barriers are very true. I have a good example in my life today. I am on a hip hop dance team and our team is really good. The problem is that some of our dancers come from lower economic areas and to compete in the dance world is very expensive. One of our competitors is sponsored by a very rich corporation and does not have the worry of competition fees, travel, etc. Though I truly believe we could beat this team in the World championship, the economic status between us gives them the bigger advantage. Dance might not seem like a big deal or a good example but there are scholarships available that could be really helpful to many. Like many of the areas described by Leisdi Jimenez, race, ethnicity and economic status are huge contributors to inequality in worlds beyond education. Though I believe our society as a whole has made major progression in segregation and discrimination, it still exists. I went to a school that had the elite rich and the below poverty level poor. It was hard to watch those with less struggle to participate in school related activities. Even sports such as cheerleading required parents to fund at least 2000.00. If you could not afford to pay, you could not afford to play. This is a sad reality in our world today but hopefully as more people take on this cause, equal opportunity will become the norm and not the exception.

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    • leisdijimenez says:

      I love how you made the point about cheerleading. I feel like it one of many things children are taken away from, when I believe they have the same right. There are students who will even take private tutoring lessons that require pay for the extra help (which can be helpful). Where as the lower income students may not be able to afford this luxury.

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  4. learnwithboss says:

    The line that you wrote, “Equity is something that takes time to accomplish, and it will not make everyone happy.” is so true. This module had so much interesting information in it. We learned about equity on many levels, and I see that the fix has to be a grassroots approach starting in the classroom and the schools. As seen from the news clip the state has been fighting this unconstitutional battle since the late 60’s and hasn’t solved the financial issues yet. We as teachers need to keep classism out of classrooms and use ideas such as Funds of Knowledge to break the barriers of prejudice down. I want to research the idea of classism more, I have seen the idea of the culture of poverty too often in the schools I work in. I don’t want to put these students and their families in a box. I want to do the best I can for my students with the tools available to me at the time. We can’t wait for the funding issues to get fixed because these students will graduate before that ever happens and by then we could miss the chance to mentor them to great things. It is proven that every department needs different funding and every school will be a micro climate that needs its individual needs met to create equity. Many schools in Texas need wrap-around services to meet the needs of their populations, I have witnessed many of these services in action. I am always happy to pay my taxes knowing that a portion of this goes to the schools. My children are grown and out of the house, but I know we need to invest in the younger generations for the future of this country. My hope as a teacher will be that needs will be met in an equitable way, but I will do the best I can we the resources that are given to help these children along the path they are walking.

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  5. jeannnie1122 says:

    Hi Leisdi, you made valid points within your blog, including giving good examples. You pinpointed the struggles that minorities have faced in our history and that they continue to face in the present, for some reason, they continue to render their ugly head. Many have tried to rectify the educational problems throughout history, starting with Chief Justice’s ruling back in the 1954 case, Brown v. board of Education, where the concept of integration was initiated, but how segregation still stands in our school system today (Goldstein, 2014).

    I agree we need to take care of the more pressing matters first and that means that the students educational needs come first over adding an extracurricular chess club, but I disagree that we must wait to see these changes be implemented over time in our schools because enough time has passed already and children are suffering in the process. Nate Bowling and Mr. Noguera stated via podcast and video, that having vision leaders and quality educators who work cooperatively together with other educators to combine excellence and equity, in essence, this would help to erase these inequities within our school system (How do schools promote equity among students? 2009). According to the text, reformers are so focused on reconstitution strategies, a strategy that threatens school administrators, educators, and supportive staff positions by replacing them with supposedly capable staff, that 51 percent of the teachers are dismissed in these reconstituted schools (Goldstein, 2014). So basically the teachers that keep getting hurt in this process are our black teachers who are a critical element in our educational world today.

    Episode 26: School equity & resources with Nate Bowling. (2016, -10-11T00:02:19+00:00). Retrieved from https://visionsofed.com/2016/10/10/episode-26-school-equity-resources-with-nate-bowling/

    Goldstein, D. (2014). The teacher wars: A history of America’s most embattled profession. New York, NY: Doubleday.

    How do schools promote equity among students? (2009, Aug 27,) [Video/DVD] Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wiEKs01ZIho

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  6. jalisadixon says:

    Hi Leisdi, I really enjoyed reading your blog. You brought up many great points. I liked how you started out with past education inequalities. I like how you pointed out if all schools received the same amount of funding as other schools it does not mean that everything will be better. I think many people fail to understand that sometimes school need more than money to be able to be just as good as everyone else. This module gave me an insight to a part of education that is not talked about as much. When looking at the image in the module I like how they pointed out that equality is not always enough to make things fair. Equality is about sameness by giving everyone the same thing but that does not give everyone a fair chance because we are not all starting from the same place. And equity is about fairness it gives everyone the opportunity to make sure that are offered the same access as others. So instead of focusing on equality in education I think we should focus on equity. While volunteering in a low income area of New Orleans I found out some students in that area that those students woke up at 5am to take a 2 hour bus ride across town to the better schools. If the states care more about equity in that case those students could just go to the schools in their neighborhoods. I think as a teacher it is my job to find out more information on funding because I can’t wait around until someone gives me the information. My job is to do the best I can with the resources I am given. And make sure the students are given the best chance at education that they can.

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  7. studentsarahblog says:

    Equity is a term used in education when the aim is to provide an equal education to all students, but this is something that is very difficult to achieve. Like you stated, schools need to provide students with the tools that they need to be successful. This sounds like something that would just be considered a given. Schools are there to teach students therefore they should have everything they need to make sure that all students can learn. Unfortunately this is not the case. Some schools need more than others, which makes it difficult to determine what is considered fair as well as allowing all students to thrive. The Houston Public Media Blog Learn How Texas Funds Public Schools in 7 Easy Steps explains how On top of the basic budget, Texas gives extra money for students who need more support, like English-language learners and low-income students. It explains how the state gives extra add-on money for them. It’s called a “weight.” It is like a percentage. Students who are learning English get an extra 10 percent.Gifted and talented students get an extra 12 percent and students from low-income families get an extra 20 percent. Some schools like those in smaller districts will also get a small bump (Isensee, 2017). Just because the school is given this money though like you states, does not determine where it is going. It is important that if schools are receiving funding that it is going to help the programs that really need it, including special education. This does not mean that all of the money needs to go to these special need programs but the money needs to be split equally among programs to make sure that all students are able to benefit from what it provides. All students deserve an equal education and they deserve to learn in a way that benefits them as an individual. It is important that children are able to do this in the classroom.

    Isensee, Laura. “Learn How Texas Funds Public Schools In 7 Easy Steps.” Houston Public Media. April 27, 2015. Accessed March 26, 2017. http://www.houstonpublicmedia.org/articles/news/2015/04/27/59742/learn-how-texas-funds-public-schools-in-7-easy-steps-2/.

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  8. teach1205 says:

    Hey Leisdi! This week was filled with a lot of information for us Education students. I had never really thought about equity in the school…which I am ashamed to say. However, now that I AM thinking about it…I am surprised that it is not talked about more often. The chapter we read this week talked about the concept of “Separate is not equal”. I could not agree more, and the more integration we had (and have) the more we see this. The socioeconomic differences our students live with, should not dictate the kind of education they get. Being equal is correct, however is it really equal if each student does not benefit from that in the same manner? Kinda takes the equality out of the equation…if you know what I mean? Knowing what our students need in order to succeed, in the same manner as all other students, is where we need to focus.
    I hear what you’re saying when you stated that “not everyone is going to like it”. But, equity is fair…it may look like someone is getting a little more, but they may come from less and therefore need a little more to get to the norm. That is still equal, it is just adding the fair part. After reading the article “The Myth of the Culture of Poverty”, my eyes were opened to think about a teacher thinking that a student wasn’t going to work hard based off of his financial status. Everyone has put stereotypes on someone based off appearance, which is wrong but it happens. The statistics that are discussed in the article made a lot of sense. The two myths that stood out to me were, assuming that people in poverty are lazy and unmotivated, and that they are uninterested in educational goals. The second one I think is based off of assuming that if a parent isn’t constantly present they don’t care. Those parents are working, hard, to support their children and I have no doubts would rather be at PTA meetings than working late. Its upsetting for a teacher to ever think that these students do not care, or that their parents don’t care. Luckily there are other ways to keep parents involved these days, and they will be if given an equal opportunity.
    I think at this point we are all on the same page, and want equity in the school house. We want equal funding to departments and the ability to teach our students in the best way possible.
    Thank you for your post!
    Kristine

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  9. amartinez2017 says:

    I love the statement you made in you blog “If schools all received the same amount of funding as every other school, it does not mean that everything will be better.” No one know the type of students a school has. There could be students that have disabilities, so the school will require more money. I believe a lot of people are uneducated about this subject. When I say people I mean the parents of the school. I always hear parents complaining on why schools do not do more, or they always have fundraisers and they still do not have money. Most parents do not realize the types of students or the types of clubs the are trying to fund. Yes, there are school that have more clubs and newer books or higher technology but that is probably because the school does not have to worry about as many students needing special assistance. Great point, I think this topic and the details should be brought to light more that it is.

    How did you feel about “The Myth of the Culture of Poverty.” This really struck something in me. The reason for it was because when I was reading the myths I was shocked because I grew up in the lower class. I was a little angry when I read what some people though but then when reading the realities they made me feel proud of where I came from. My mom and dad sacrificed a lot for my siblings and I. All of the statistics that were show really make me appreciate my parents and what they did for us. So when I hear people talking about how lower class families are lazy or have problems with drug and alcohol abuse I can throw the statistics on them.

    There is so much more I need to learn about equity in education. This week post has made me realize there are more important things out there that schools should focus on other than spending money on things other than education to better students of the future.

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  10. Teaching for learners says:

    I agree with the points that you have made in your blog. It is really unfortunate that where the child lives depends on the funding their school receives and how that translates to resources available to them. From the very beginning, children who lived in segregated areas in the South often did not have that much funding and resources, even though Plessy vs. Ferguson said that schools must be ‘separate but equal which all changed with Brown vs. the Board of Education in 1954. While Brown vs Board of Education desegregated the schools, it did not necessarily make everything equal as far as funding goes. In the Teacher Wars, Goldstien (2014) that after the passing of the Civil Rights Act (1964) and the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (1965) were the states forced to integrate schools and provide funding to low-income schools due to President Johnson’s experience teaching in a segregated school.

    Even with forcing states to provide funding to low-income schools, schools today are still struggling with segregation of a new kind. In “Separate and unequal: school funding in ‘post-racial’ America” (2007), it states that both race and class-based separation have increased since the Civil Rights Act and that majority of students of color attending public schools where in 1:2 students are low-income and that they are likely to come from the South. Teachers need to be aware of the trends of low-income students in schools and advocate for either more funding for their school or to just for a change in the entire system because it is not fair for low-income schools to be denied funding or resources that can help students and have equity in schools.

    Goldstein, D. (2014). The teacher wars: A history of America’s most embattled profession. New York: Doubleday.
    Separate and unequal: school funding in ‘post-racial’ America (2017). Top Master’s in Education. Retrieved on March 26, 2017. http://www.topmastersineducation.com/school-funding-post-racial-us/

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  11. shu328 says:

    Hi Leisdi!
    Thank you for your post. I thought you brought up some good points. It is a shame that there are so many disparaging facts about equity. In a perfect world, everyone would get what they wanted and everything would be fair. You are right, not everyone will be happy. At this point, it is hard for teachers to control funding, but maybe we can find other ways to bring equity into our classrooms. Equality and equity in the classroom are two different things. “If equality means giving everyone the same resources, equity means giving each student the access to the resources they need to learn and thrive.” (Safir, 2016). Shane Safir suggests six steps to establish equity. Know every child, become a warm demander, practice lean in assessment, flex your routines, make it safe to fail, and to view culture as a resource. Knowing every child is pretty self explanatory, but this is where you would build trust. Becoming a warm demander means that teachers have high expectations of their students in a discipline and structured environment. Piecing together your students learning story will help with practicing lean-in assessment. As a teacher, flexing your routine can help with individual instruction. The classroom should be a safe environment where failing is alright, which allows the student to learn. And finally, a student’s culture could be an educational resource (Safir, 2016). I thought these were pretty good and I’m sure there are other steps to help with equity. What do you think?
    References
    Safir, S. (2016, January 21). Equity vs. Equality: 6 Steps Toward Equity. Retrieved March 26, 2017, from https://www.edutopia.org/blog/equity-vs-equality-shane-safir

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  12. erikarath says:

    Thanks for sharing! Money is so important in life in general. It irks me that we place so much emphasis on money. There are so many schools that have students and families that are in poverty, so they get looked over and don’t have as many opportunities that other schools with more money might have. In, “The Myth of the Culture of Poverty,” touched on some of the prejudices and different obstacles schools and people face because they are in poverty. I get it, people are in poverty all over the world and my heart hurts for every single one of those people, but it also hits close to home when we realize that people in the United States, which is a place where people from other countries come in search of the American Dream, experiences the same problem.
    I really enjoyed reading in that article about the different myths that are thought about “poor people” and seeing the research behind it that states how they’re not true. Maybe some people do fall into that category, but the majority of them don’t! We only see the bad things that are done or publicized on the news and that makes us consciously or subconsciously form these prejudices in our minds about certain groups of people. That’s wrong to do!
    In order to make sure that we stop categorizing people in our classrooms, the article mentioned a lot of great tips to stop our prejudices. One of my favorites ideas was to invite a colleague to observe a lesson in the classroom and look for any biases that are being made. I think this is so helpful because whether we realize it or not, it happens! Having that feedback will be helpful to stay on track and see what needs to be changed.

    Work Cited

    Gorski, P. (2008). The Myth of the Culture of Poverty. Retrieved March 26, 2017.

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  13. erincrisfulli says:

    I really enjoyed all the points you made in your blog Leisdi! It is unfortunate that schools that are underfunded are more than likely having to cut extracurricular activities (mainly the arts) because of the lack of funding. Many students are beyond talented when it comes the arts and are unable to show these talents. But on the opposite side, is it fair for the academics to be let down because the funding was given solely to the percentage of students with those extracurricular activities. This is when we get to the equal but not fair situation that you talked about in your post. Not only do you have to think about the materials necessary for the activity but the school needs to consider if a due can be put in place to cut costs from the funding. When I was in my high school drill team we had to pay for everything out of pocket. We were given multiple opportunities to raise money so there was less coming from our pockets but for those students who made the team but had a harder time raising money…they struggled to afford the drill team. Extra activities are an important key to our students environment but so are academics. Parents send their children to school expecting them to learn and if they do not have the proper or correct materials for a lesson, their learning is hindered. I feel that there will also be a power struggle when it comes to the arts and fair funding. School districts who are low on funding need to come up with creative ways to teach their students with high quality information. Luckily there are great online resources that are research based. Hopefully one day schools will be able to figure out ways to be fair AND equal when it comes to dispersing funds!

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