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Education is a basic human right. The UN, the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), the European Union (EU) and many other parties subscribe to this notion. Educational equity, or equity in education, is the study and achievement of fairness in education. The study of educational equity is often linked with the study of excellence and equity.
Beyond equal educational opportunity, educational equity is based on the principles of fairness and justice in allocating resources, opportunities, treatment, and success for every student. Educational equity programs promote the real possibility of equality of educational results for each student and between diverse groups of students.
- 1 Race Equity in Education
- 2 Dimensions of Race Equity in Education
- 3 Publications and Reports
- 3.1 Race equality in education-A survey report by England
- 3.2 Race equality and education - by UK educational system
- 3.3 The equity and excellence commission-US Education
- 3.4 Racial equity in education: how far has South Africa come?
- 3.5 Race in education: an argument for integrative analysis
- 3.6 Equity and Quality in Education: Supporting Disadvantaged Students and Schools–from OECD
- 4 Research Centers and Associations
- 5 Recommendations and Solutions
- 6 References
Race Equity in Education
From a scientific point of view, the human species is a single race. It is therefore misleading to use terms such as races and racial groups. Nevertheless, the term racial group is enshrined in legislation, and phrases such as race equality and race relations are in widespread official use.
Race Equity in education means the assignment of students to public schools and within schools without regard to their race. This includes providing students with a full opportunity for participation in all educational programs regardless of their race.
Dimensions of Race Equity in Education
Educational equity has two interrelated dimensions. One is the issue of fairness, in that achievement ought to be based upon ability and application, and not on factors such as gender, socio-economic status or ethnicity. The second is that all individuals have a right to basic functioning literacy and numeracy.
The numbers correspond to the avergae difference of points in the results of the PISA test of a student from a high socio-economic level and a student from a low socio-economic level in their respective country. A higher number represents a more unequal education system whilst a smaller number indicates a more equal education system.
US Department of Education
The Commission on Equity and Excellence in Education issues a seminal report in 2013. It is not a restatement of public education's struggles, nor is it a mere list of recommendations. Rather, this is a declaration of an urgent national mission: to provide equity and excellence in education in American public schools once and for all. This collective wisdom is a historic blueprint for making the dream of equity, and a world-class education, for each and every American child a reality.
The struggle for equality of access to formal education and equality of excellent educational outcomes is part of the history of education in this country and is tied up with the economic, political, social history of the peoples who are part of it. From the beginning of this nation, there were many barriers to the schooling and education of girls and racial, national origin, and language groups not from the dominant culture. Approaches and resources for achieving equality and equity in the public schooling of girls and ethnic, racial, and language minority groups are still evolving.
UK Educational System
Racial inequalities in the UK educational system have persisted for too long. Far too many ethnic minority pupils, such as Black pupils, Travellers of Irish heritage pupils, Gypsy/Roma pupils, pupils of Mixed White and Black heritage, Bangladeshi and Pakistani pupils, are under-achieving in our schools. The issue of under-achievement and those related to it must be addressed. It is vital to ensure all children are able to learn, achieve, progress and make the transition to further education, higher education or the labour market.
Globalization of the economy, increasingly diverse and interconnected populations, and rapid technological change are posing new and demanding challenges to individuals and societies alike. School systems are rethinking the knowledge and skills students will need for success and the educational strategies and systems required for all children to achieve them. Within the Asia-Pacific region, for example, Korea, Shanghai-China, and Japan are examples of Asian education systems that have climbed the ladder to the top in both quality and equity indicators.
A major task of South Africa’s new government in 1994 was to promote racial equity in the state education system. During the apartheid era, which began when the National Party won control of Parliament in 1948 and ended with a negotiated settlement more than four decades later, the provision of education was racially unequal by design. Resources were lavished on schools serving white students while schools serving the black majority were systematically deprived of qualified teachers, physical resources and teaching aids such as textbook and stationary. The rationale for such inequity was a matter of public record.
Higher education plays a vital role in preparing students for the employment market and active citizenship both nationally and internationally. By embedding race equality in teaching and learning, institutions can ensure that they acknowledge the experiences and values of all students, including minority ethnic and international students. Universities Scotland first published the Race Equality Toolkit: Learning and Teaching in 2006 in response to strong demand from the universities in Scotland for guidance on meeting their statutory obligations.
Publications and Reports
Providing opportunities for students to consider racial equality as well as matters of racism as part of their study will help them to develop their confidence to engage with these concepts as part of their future practice, thinking and skills for life. Race, social class, and gender as issues related to schooling have received major attention from educators and social scientists over the last two decades.
Race equality in education-A survey report by England
The local authorities in England gave a survey report Race equality in education in November 2005. This report is based on visits by Her Majesty.s Inspectors (HMIs) and additional inspectors to 12 LEAs and 50 schools in England between summer term 2003 to spring term 2005. This report illustrates good practice on race equality in education in a sample of schools and local education authorities (LEAs) surveyed between the summer of 2003 and the spring of 2005. The survey focused on schools and LEAs that were involved effectively in race equality in education. Four areas were examined by inspectors: improving standards and achievement amongst groups of pupils, with reference to the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000 (RRAA); the incorporation of race equality concepts into the curriculum in schools; the handling and reporting of race-related incidents in schools; the work of schools and LEAs in improving links with local minority ethnic communities.
Race equality and education - by UK educational system
The Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) (As the leading education union, ATL promotes and protects the interests of its members – teachers, lecturers, support staff and other education professionals) introduced a practical resource for the school workforce Race equality and education in the UK educational system. This resource on race equality issues is written by Robin Richardson (who is co-director of the Insted consultancy, based in London. Previously, he was director of the Runnymede Trust, and prior to this he was the chief inspector for education in Brent). This publication sets out to examine the racial, religious or cultural terminology regularly used in today’s society, in an attempt to combat prejudice based on colour, appearance, religion or culture.
The equity and excellence commission-US Education
At this decisive moment, the Commission on Equity and Excellence in Education issues this seminal report. It is not a restatement of public education’s struggles, nor is it a mere list of recommendations. Rather, this is a declaration of an urgent national mission: to provide equity and excellence in education in American public schools once and for all. This collective wisdom is a historic blueprint for making the dream of equity, and a world-class education, for each and every American child a reality.Carol D. Lee described the rationale for a special theme issue, “Reconceptualizing Race and Ethnicity in Educational Research.” The rationale includes the historical and contemporary ways that cultural differences have been positioned in educational research and the need for more nuanced and complex analyses of ethnicity and race.
Racial equity in education: how far has South Africa come?
A major task of South Africa’s new government in 1994 was to promote racial equity in the state education system. This paper evaluates progress towards this goal using three distinct concepts: equal treatment, equal educational opportunity, and educational adequacy. The authors find that the country has succeeded in establishing racial equity defined as equal treatment, primarily through race-blind policies for allocating state funds for schools. Progress measured by the other two criteria, however, has been constrained by the legacy of apartheid, including poor facilities and lack of human capacity in schools serving black students, and by policies such as school fees.
Race in education: an argument for integrative analysis
Race, social class, and gender tend to be treated as separate issues in education literature. We review a sample of education literature from four journals, spanning ten years, to determine the extent to which these status groups were integrated. We found little integration. We then provide an example from research on cooperative learning to illustrate how attention to only one status group oversimplifies the analysis of student behavior in school. From findings of studies integrating race and class, and race and gender, we argue that attending only to race, in this example, oversimplifies behavior analysis and may contribute to perpetuation of gender and class biases. To determine to what extent race, social class, and gender are integrated in the education literature, we examined a sample of literature published over a ten-year period and thirty articles focused primarily on race, or on school issues related directly to race, such as desegregation.
Equity and Quality in Education: Supporting Disadvantaged Students and Schools–from OECD
The report is by the OECD Education Directorate with support from the Asia Society as a background report for the first Asia Society Global Cities Network Symposium, Hong Kong, May 10-12, 2012. Asia Society is grateful for OECD’s leadership in international benchmarking and for our ongoing partnership. Asia Society organized the Global Cities Education Network, a network of urban school systems in North America and Asia to focus on challenges and opportunities for improvement common to them, and to virtually all city education systems. This report presents the key recommendations of the OECD publication Equity and Quality in Education: Supporting Disadvantaged Students and Schools (2012a), which maps out policy levers that can help build high quality and equitable education systems, with a particular focus on North American and Asia-Pacific countries.
Research Centers and Associations
University of Pennsylvania
The Center for the Study of Race and Equity in Education unites University of Pennsylvania scholars who do research on race, racism, racial climates, and important topics pertaining to equity in education. Center staff and affiliates collaborate on funded research projects, environmental assessment activities, and the production of research reports. Principally, the Center aims to publish cutting-edge implications for education policy and practice, with an explicit focus on improving equity in schools, colleges and universities, and social contexts that influence educational outcomes.
Programs for Educational Opportunity, University of Michigan
Equity in Elementary and Secondary Education: Race, Gender, and National Origin Issues This site is composed of article reviews and final papers from students enrolled in an courses at the University of Michigan School of Education focusing on equity and social justice issues in education starting the Fall of 2007. What follows is a work in progress, started by members of a class entitled "Equity in K-12 Public Education" held the Fall of 2007 and "Equity and Social Justice in Education: Race, Gender, National Origin, and Language Minority Issues in Schools" the Fall of 2008 at the University of Michigan School of Education. You will find here timelines, reviews of articles on selected issues, and additional resources.
Equity and Quality in Education (Asia Society)
Asia Society is the leading educational organization dedicated to promoting mutual understanding and strengthening partnerships among peoples, leaders and institutions of Asia and the United States in a global context. Across the fields of arts, business, culture, education, and policy, the Society provides insight, generates ideas, and promotes collaboration to address present challenges and create a shared future. The highest performing education systems are those that combine quality with equity. Equity in education means that personal or social circumstances such as gender, ethnic origin or family background, are not obstacles to achieving educational potential (definition of fairness) and that all individuals reach at least a basic minimum level of skills (definition of inclusion). In these education systems, the vast majority of students have the opportunity to attain high-level skills, regardless of their own personal and socio-economic circumstances.
Regional Educational Laboratory Northwest
REL Northwest is part of the Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Program funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences. Education Northwest works to transform teaching and learning by providing resources that help schools, districts, and communities across the country find comprehensive, research-based solutions to the challenges they face.
IDRA South Central Collaborative for Equity
The Intercultural Development Research Association (IDRA) is an independent, non-profit organization that is dedicated to assuring educational opportunity for every child. The South Central Collaborative for Equity helps schools become more racially equitable, ensure equal opportunity for academic achievement, provide fair discipline, decrease conflict, and engage parents and community members.
PPS Racial Educational Equity Policy
The Board of Education for Portland Public Schools (PPS) is committed to the success of every student in each of our schools. The mission of Portland Public Schools is that by the end of elementary, middle, and high school, every student by name will meet or exceed academic standards and will be fully prepared to make productive life decisions. We believe that every student has the potential to achieve, and it is the responsibility of our school district to give each student the opportunity and support to meet his or her highest potential.
Recommendations and Solutions
Schools and teachers play a valuable role in promoting good race relations between people of different racial groups, eliminating unlawful racial discrimination and promoting equality of outcomes between these groups, but they need support in order to continue to do so.
Inclusion of race equality concepts in lessons should be seen as a normal part of effective teaching and learning; local resources in lessons involving race equality, such as work by local black and minority ethnic writers, and in the history of local industrialization, should be used to stimulate pupils’ interest and learning. From Race equality in education
One of the quotations, ‘there is nothing more important than closing the gap between national averages and the educational attainments of black kids, Muslim kids, Travellers and Gypsies, and most refugee kids.’ But the significance of closing the achievement gap is manifold; it is fundamental to building a sense of belonging and to improving a sense of safety amongst all pupils. All of which are essential to pursuing race equality in schools. From Race equality and education
All bullying is wrong and causes recipients great distress. Teachers should be alert to potential incidences of bullying and intervene when they become aware of it. There should be a framework within which all members of staff should operate in their response to such incidences. It is not a matter for an individual to deal with on their own. Whilst there are several similarities between racist bullying and other forms of bullying, there are significant differences. It is essential that teachers should be aware of these. Helping children and young people to understand this, and to act against unjustifiable inequalities, is one of the most important challenges facing teachers. ATL believes that this publication will help enable teachers to fulfil this role and help schools meet their legal obligations under the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000. From Race equality and education
One of the most efficient educational strategies for governments is to invest early and all the way up to upper secondary. Governments can prevent school failure and reduce dropout using two parallel approaches: eliminating education policies and practices that hinder equity; and targeting low performing disadvantaged schools. But education policies need to be aligned with other government policies, such as housing or welfare, to ensure student success. At this initial educational stage, direct public funding of services is associated with more effective governmental monitoring of early childhood services, advantages of scale, better quality across the country, more effective training for educators and a higher degree of equity in access.
For everyone of us
Each and every one of us has a personal responsibility to confront these issues and to contribute to a change in societal perceptions and views. Whilst no one individual can act alone, changes in society can be achieved if we all work together. Discrimination is not limited to skin colour, however. The experiences, expectations and opportunities open to an individual can be as much dependent on their gender, age, sexual orientation, disability, or the national, cultural and religious traditions into which they were born. The task is not easy. It can be frequently stressful as it involves confronting and challenging others – children, young people, their parents, and one’s colleagues. Further, it also involves confronting and challenging oneself.
Race Equality Toolkit
Universities Scotland first published the Race Equality Toolkit: Learning and Teaching in 2006 in response to strong demand from the universities in Scotland for guidance on meeting their statutory obligations in terms of the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000. This resource is designed to assist academic staff, particularly those less familiar with race equality issues, to embed issues of race equality and of fostering good relations as part of learning and teaching and curriculum design. It does not provide a blueprint for how race equality should be addressed in teaching and learning but it encourages the academic staff to self-evaluate, and to review the curriculum and their teaching and assessment methods, in order to create as inclusive a learning environment as possible. The Toolkit, therefore, encourages the institutions to develop the corporate strategies necessary to support individual lecturers and departments in mainstreaming race equality issues.