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Article

Rather than being viewed as incompatible or polar opposites, special education and inclusive education can be seen as equally important components of effective education systems that produce optimal outcomes for all learners. The same can be said for equity and excellence, as a focus on equity should be combined with measures to promote excellence for all learners in order to optimize overall outcomes. Alternatively, emphasizing either special education or inclusive education, to the exclusion of the other, within education systems will jeopardize both equity and excellence and lead to less than optimal educational achievement. Having an education system with a balance of both special education and inclusive education, however, within a comprehensive service delivery model, will result in superior educational outcomes. Clearly, there needs to be a synthesis of key components of special education and inclusive education in order to provide an equitable and excellent education for all learners, including those with special educational needs and disabilities.

Article

Classroom management remains a serious concern for educators in both pre-service and in-service realms. A mostly white teaching force may struggle to teach students who are very different from themselves. These differences can make it difficult for teachers to understanding cultural differences and conflicts as they emerge in the classroom, and students may suffer. Culturally responsive classroom management provides a framework for educators to build knowledge, mindsets, attitudes, dispositions, and practices necessary for academic and social success. Elements of classroom management to advance and support teaching practices that meet the needs of students are worthwhile to explore.

Article

Jennifer Jenson and Suzanne de Castell

The literature on gender equity, education, and technological innovation identifies three primary areas of concern: STEM (collective disciplines of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), computer science, and, interestingly enough, reading comprehension. These gendered divides are often framed in public discourse as problems of equality; however, most research and scholarly discussions focus on equity, on fairness. Considerable work by feminists in the social studies of science and technology, demonstrating how innovation and technology are already gendered, has lent strong support to an educational emphasis on how “fairness” might best be achieved. It remains the case that “gender” in most research studies refers to a binarized conception of sex: either male or female, girls or boys, men or women. However, critical intersectional understandings of gender that take into account age, socioeconomic class, race, ethnicity, sexuality, and dis/abilities hold out promise for more nuanced understandings of inequities in education. For example, taking the widest perspective, it is socioeconomic class, not gender, that continues to create the greatest disparities in educational outcomes, whereas within any given socioeconomic context, gender is paramount. For girls and women, equity-focused educational interventions aim to develop better pathways to higher education and jobs in STEM subjects and fields. Female underrepresentation in STEM and computer science is often framed as a gender-specific skills deficit impeding access to and success in globally competitive, technologically innovative, and the most highly remunerated occupations, rather than as a barrier created by differences in expectations, norms, experience, and prior educational provision. Gender equity initiatives for school-aged boys are concentrated in the areas of reading and comprehension skills, with little connection made in the literature to either presumptions about or implications of this underachievement as a deficit that jeopardizes future educational or vocational skills. It may be that evolving conceptions and practices of gender that take better account of both gender diversity and intersectionality will enable educational interventions beyond these stereotypical and binarized educational analyses and initiatives, lending hope that we may yet see women and girls assuming not just an equitable but indeed a transformative role in technological innovation.

Article

Taro Komatsu

The relationship between education and peace is an area of educational research that merits sustained attention from scholars. A recent review of literature on this relationship pointed out the lack of rigorous research studies and robust evidence showing this link. This is surprising, given its significant implications for policy makers and practitioners who wish to educate youths to build and sustain a peaceful and just society. In fact, those who are engaged in education and peace research often grapple with the gap between their intuitive belief in the power of education to transform individuals and society on one hand, and the difficulty in establishing the causal relationship between the two concepts on the other. Still, today’s incessant tide of violence around the world has been propelling researchers to investigate the intersection of education and peace in order to better understand this connection. The change in the nature of conflict has also given a new impetus to the research on education and peace. Today’s conflicts are generally fought between cultural groups within a nation, rather than between nation-states. Less developed nations, many of them being multicultural, are particularly prone to the risk of violent conflict. A study suggesting that the percentage of extreme poverty in fragile and conflict-affected societies will increase from the current 17% to 46% by 2030 confirms the close relationships between conflict, poverty and development. Because violence caused by internal conflict is a major obstacle to achieving universal access to education and other development goals, research on education and peace has become an important agenda item in the development aid community. This has added international aid organizations to the major players in education and peace research. To date, most research studies have attempted to determine how education contributes to, or negatively affects, peace, rather than the other way around. The notion of peace, in the meantime, is no longer merely defined as the absence of war, but has been expanded to include the absence of structural violence, a form of violence that limits the rights of certain groups of citizens. This definition of peace has enlarged the analytical scope for social science researchers engaged in peace-related studies. The research field of education and peace has expanded beyond curriculum, textbooks, and pedagogy to also include education policy, governance, administration, and school management. Research may explore, for example, the impact of equitable and inclusive education policy and governance on the development of citizenship and social cohesion in the context of multicultural societies. Importantly, scholars engaged in education and peace research need to consider how peace-building education policy and practices can actually be realized in societies where political leaders and education professionals are unwilling to implement reforms that challenge the existing power structure. Normative arguments around education for peace will be challenged in such a context. This means that education and peace research need to draw on multiple academic disciplines, including political science, sociology, and psychology, in order to not only answer the normative questions concerning peace-building policies and practices, but also address their feasibility. Finally, the development of education and peace research can be enhanced by rigorously designed evaluation studies. How do we measure the outcomes of peace-building policies and practices? The choice of criteria for measurement may depend on the local context, but the discussion and establishment of fair and adaptable evaluation methodology can further enhance education policy and practices favoring peace and thus enrich the research in this field.

Article

The question of what teachers should know and be able to do endures, given the central role teachers play in the development of young people into wise and contributing citizens for world societies. Research has demonstrated the relationship between teacher preparation and competence, and that quality teachers achieve better academic outcomes for learners. Moreover, the issue of quality teachers has become even more salient in the 21st century as forces of globalization blur boundaries, heightening both competition and cooperation among nations. These forces include: (a) massive global migration as a result of war and other political disruptions, such that countries around the world are receiving newcomers, many of whom are school-aged and bring with them new cultures and languages; (b) increased attention to human rights, with a focus on inclusion, equity, poverty reduction, and social uplift for all children, regardless of their circumstance or backgrounds, through universal education; and (c) international benchmarking assessments such as PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) that are driving international conversations about quality education and educators. The demands on teachers have increased, and definitions of quality emphasize the ability to capably teach children who represent multiple diversities (race, language, national origin, gender identities) and multiple vulnerabilities (poverty, dis/ability, immigrant status). Preparing teachers for diverse students has long been relevant to the U.S. given its history as a country of immigrants, juxtaposed against a devastating legacy of enslavement, genocide, and imperialism. But the 1970s was when educators began to more seriously attend to educating diverse children who had been uniformly ignored because of racism, discrimination, and segregation. This was on the heels of civil rights legislature, activism on the part of people of color, people with disabilities, and indigenous people for better schools for their children, and large waves of immigration from Latin America and Asia, versus primarily European countries as in the past. As the proportion of non-white students increased in U.S. schools, preparing teachers for diversity became imperative, especially since the majority of teachers were white, and the achievement gap between mainstream children and diverse children remained stubbornly wide. Researchers also documented the inequities diverse learners faced in schools—poorly funded schools, less qualified teachers, limited access to academic curriculum, excessive disciplinary practices, and so on—as well as the teaching practices that made a positive difference in the educational experiences and achievements of diverse children. These included Culturally Relevant Pedagogy (CRP), meaningful learning that honors diverse students’ culture and communities, high academic standards supported by excellent teachers, and multiple access points into the curriculum. The solution to inequitable education requires that all teachers instruct and advocate for every student as if she or he mattered, that all students receive the same care and attention as the richest, most advantaged. This solution is deceptively simple because it requires teachers to examine and revise their own biases and misconceptions, and actively resist the persistent messages that depict diverse children as deficient, so as to see them as worthwhile, full of capacity, and on the brink of greatness.

Article

Kristiina Brunila, Elina Ikävalko, Tuuli Kurki, Ameera Masoud, Katariina Mertanen, Anna Mikkola, and Kalle Mäkelä

The ethos of vulnerability plays a central role in shaping cross-sectoral youth transition policies and their implementations. Despite good intentions, the ethos of vulnerability emphasizes personal accountability and stigmatization. This is the situation in Finland, where young people tend to be recognized through the prism of inherent vulnerability, with a parallel notion of the self that is damaged and fragile. This “turn inward” to the self does not necessarily help to see problems as societal but as individual, which may perpetuate systematic inequalities.

Article

Anthony H. Normore and Antonia Issa Lahera

To commit to Brown v. Board of Education’s legacy of advancing social justice and democracy, it is necessary to look at practices (i.e., the types of discourse, experiences, processes, and structures) that promote the development and support of school leaders committed to social justice, equity, access, and diversity. Leadership preparation programs need to provide the knowledge base for aspiring school leaders to understand how they ought to respond to the changing political, moral, and social landscapes in which they live and work. Of equal importance is the curricular focus on interrelating social justice, democracy, equity, and diversity so that aspiring school leaders can identify practices that explicitly and implicitly deter social progress. Furthermore, these school leaders ought to be able to develop a knowledge base on how to respond to these injustices in their school leadership practices. As leadership development and preparation program personnel prepare new leaders, the discourse of social justice and marginalization is an important objective in the curriculum of preparation programs. Personnel in leadership programs have an opportunity to take part in discourse about how to shape the quality of leaders they produce for the good of society. To this end, researchers offer critical insights into the types of discourse, experiences, processes, and structures that promote the development and support of contemporary principals committed to social justice and democratic principles. Included in the research discussion are the tenets of social justice leadership, democracy, diversity and the digital divide, digital access, and digital equity.

Article

Maria Estela Brisk and Yalda M. Kaveh

Multilingual classrooms are becoming the norm in the global North due to the constant shifting of populations. Yet most of the instruction still tends to be in the major or official language of the country. Teachers find themselves in educational contexts that instruct in one language to multilingual populations with varying degrees of language proficiency. In this new world order, teachers need to be prepared to work with bi/multilingual students in ways that enhance students’ chances of succeeding in school by acquiring a new language, learning the content of various disciplines, and developing a healthy bi/multilingual and bi/multicultural identity. Teachers prepared to work with students from language backgrounds different from the school language make an effort to know their students, understand bilingualism and second language learning, and know the disciplines they teach and the language needed to express the content of the disciplines. These teachers are capable of creating quality curriculum, classroom environments, and instruction that supports learning, regardless of students’ proficiency in the language of instruction. The recommended knowledge-base and instructional approaches for these kinds of contexts are an opportunity to reform schools to be aligned to the reality of 21st-century schools.

Article

Stephen Crump, Kylie Twyford, and Theresa Koroivulaono

Remote and rural education is a resonating issue worldwide, given the new and emerging capabilities of digitization to reduce barriers of distance, time, and space, particularly for Oceania. Issues based on achieving equitable educational access and participation that ameliorates the disadvantages for many students in remote and rural locations of Australasia and the Pacific, compared to those in urban classrooms, are pertinent. Nonetheless, students in remote and rural locations also show great resilience and have built up a trove of informal knowledge from the demands of daily life requiring a high degree of independence and maturity. This is evident in the distance education School of the Air in Australia, the University of the South Pacific, and the Marshall Islands College in the North Pacific. These sites provide insights into strength-based reform strategies intended to improve rural and remote education and training and, consequently, work and life choices.

Article

Esther Sayers

Artists who teach or teachers who make art? To explore the identity of the artist-teacher in contemporary educational contexts, the ethical differences between the two fields of art and learning need to be considered. Equity is sought between the needs of the learner and the demands of an artist’s practice; a tension exists here because the nurture of the learner and the challenge of art can be in conflict. The dual role of artist and of teacher have to be continually navigated in order to maintain the composite and ever-changing identity of the artist-teacher. The answer to the question of how to teach art comes through investigating attitudes to knowledge in terms of the hermeneutical discourses of “reproduction” and “production” as a means to understand developments in pedagogy for art education since the Renaissance. An understanding of the specific epistemological discourses that must be navigated by artist-teachers when they develop strategies for learning explicate the role of art practices in considering the question: What to teach? The answer lies in debates around technical skills and the capacity for critical thought.

Article

Martin Mwongela Kavua

Educational reforms have been made from time to time since independence in Kenya. These reforms have been effected through commissions of education in the context of the country. Among education commissions that have steered reforms in Kenya are the Kenya Education Commission, the National Commission on Education Objectives and Policy, the Presidential Working Party on the Second University, the Commission of Inquiry into the Educational System of Kenya, and the Taskforce on the Realignment of the Sector to the New System. The main challenges facing the education sector have been issues of access, equity, quality, relevance, availability of educational resources, and efficiency in managing them. Moreover, the education system has been blamed for some of the challenges in the education sector, necessitating system change from the 8+4+4 to the 2+6+3+3+3 system. Challenges facing education reforms include inconsistency in carrying out reforms fueled by lack of a guiding philosophical framework, a top-down decision-making process, limited backing for inclusive education in policy, and curriculum-based challenges. Going forward, a bottom-up approach to education reforms, an evidence-based decision-making for reforms in education, and an implementation of inclusive education may play a significant role in reforming the education system.

Article

Social justice (SJ) is not a “newly discussed” issue. It has made a mark on the history of humanity. It was one of the most frequently discussed concerns of earlier religious and philosophical traditions for both their own context and other contexts around the world. Almost all disciplines, including philosophy, politics, sociology, psychology, anthropology, and education, have been in search of a just world for people and have tried to find an answer to the question of what a socially just society is. Social justice has been a debated issue on the agendas of educational researchers, too. Similar to other fields, research on social justice in education has been attempting to describe and analyze its meaning and nature in educational settings. Educational researchers have made significant efforts to provide a definition of social justice in schools and to open the black box of social justice delivered to schools. In education, social justice, in short, may be seen as a fact directly related to providing equal opportunities for everyone in schools regardless of race, ethnicity, culture, social class, wealth, gender, family structure, sexual orientation, disability, and so on. This urges school leaders to be aware of their central roles and responsibilities in terms of justice issues in their schools, and this makes it very clear that a just school depends on leaders believing in social justice. In other words, school leaders and their efforts to create a just school have explicit effects on justice issues in schools.

Article

Randall B. Lindsey, Delores B. Lindsey, and Raymond D. Terrell

School desegregation efforts begun in the 1960s through to the 1980s persist into the 21st century. School leadership for desegregation began in the late 20th century. School leadership efforts began in the early 1960s with compliance-based responses focused on court-ordered and government directives in pursuit of equality with an eye to societal integration. Leadership for desegregation is a legal response to de jure and de facto segregation as practiced in social, political, and economic systems throughout U.S. history. Efforts at more equal opportunities for historically marginalized students have, over time, evolved into an equity focus that holds a value for educating children and youth whether in integrated settings or not. By the turn of the 21st century, leadership efforts for equity began to recognize the need to provide access and opportunity to all students in all settings. Four distinct chronological periods of school desegregation have evolved: desegregation leadership experiences, 1950s–1970s—mandated, minimum compliance; school desegregation leadership experiences, 1970s–1990s—supported by Emergency School Aid Act; school desegregation leadership experiences, 1990s–2015—Emergency School Aid Act and resegregation; and school desegregation experiences, 2015 to the present and predictable future.

Article

Japan’s two major national school reforms succeeded in helping transform the country from a premodern feudal society into a modern nation-state in the mid-19th century, and after World War II from a militarist society into a liberal democracy. Since then, there have been numerous reform initiatives. The key drivers of the reforms since the 1990s have been neoliberals, neoconservatives, progressive educationalists, and human rights advocates. Reflecting both struggle and collaboration among these groups, the reforms have been multidirectional and not necessarily consistent. The major reform directions identified are (a) decision-making becoming more decentralized, (b) educational offerings becoming more diverse and flexible, (c) the emergence of greater individual choice, (d) recognition of a widening gap among students and addressing equity and social justice, and (e) a greater role for outside-school providers. There is a significant degree of autonomy and discretion for actors in the middle (local governments, education boards, and schools) and teachers (both independently and collectively). They have utilized this in interpreting the national government’s directives, often avoiding direct challenges to the center.

Article

Nena Padilla-Valdez and Rosna Awang Hashim

Monumental shifts in education, in situations of leading global changes in the local culture, trigger profound repercussions on teachers. In view of reconstructionism, this article enquires into the evolving nuances of administrative reforms, unfolding the cultural links and reciprocal influences between teacher equity and educational administration. On the premise that reforms are triggers of administrative development, it positions teacher equity—a flexible individualization in a networked relationship—both as an enabling platform and as a cultural tool, to maintain a system in action. It argues that impacting change is envisaged as an arduous initiative when competing interests thrive within the system. To maintain administrative coherence and teaching force productivity, people’s perspectives and responses to change are coherent for the advancement and benefit of the entire system. Developing learning capacities such as adaptation and reconstruction form the critical core of an equity-driven culture. Such is a reiterated call for reciprocal change, a catalytic stimulus generative of equitable pathways that, more often than not, remain unscathed and oblivious to culturally diverse groups. As scholars and experts in administration and development studies grapple with complicated notions about policy reforms and pragmatic practices, this exposition rouses resilience in the discipline, as implicated in the pretext of greater autonomy and accountability. Essentially, it dispels scholarly revulsions and nuances, while newer investigative tools and culturally responsive reforms are underway to be explored and articulated, respectively.

Article

Crystal Morton, Danielle Tate McMillan, and Winterbourne Harrison-Jones

Though the formal and informal mathematics learning experiences of Black girls are gaining more visibility in the literature, there is still a paucity of research around Black girls’ mathematics learning experiences. Black girls face unique challenges as learners in K–12 educational spaces because of their marginalized racial and gender identities. The interplay of race and racism unfolds in complex ways in Black girls’ learning experiences. This interplay hinders their development as mathematics learners and limits their access to transformative learning. As early as elementary school, Black girls are labeled as having limited mathematics knowledge and are often disproportionately placed in “lower level classrooms” devoid of any rigorous and transformative learning experiences. Teachers spend more time socially correcting Black girls rather than building on their brilliance. Even though Black girls value mathematics more and have higher confidence in mathematics than their White counterparts, they are still held to lower expectations by their teachers and are less likely to complete an advanced mathematics course. Nationally and globally, mathematics serves as an academic gatekeeper into every avenue of the labor market and higher education opportunities. Thus, the lack of opportunities Black girls have to engage in rigorous and transformative mathematics potentially locks them out of higher education opportunities and STEM-based careers. The mathematics learning experiences of Black girls move beyond challenges in K–12 spaces to limiting life choices and individual and community progress. To improve the formal and informal mathematics learning experiences of Black girls, we must understand their unique learning experiences more fully.

Article

Carolyn M. Shields

Transformative leadership theory (TLT) is distinct from other leadership theories because of its inherently normative and critical approach grounded in the values of equity, inclusion, excellence, and social justice. It critiques inequitable practices, oppression, and marginalization wherever they are found and offers the promise not only of greater individual achievement but of a better life lived in common with others. Two basic propositions (or hypotheses) and eight tenets ensure the comprehensiveness of TLT. The first hypothesis is that when students feel welcome, respected, and included, they are better able to focus on learning and, hence, distal academic outcomes improve. The second hypothesis is that when there is a balance between public and private good emphases, and students are taught about civic participation, democratic society is strengthened. To fulfil these hypotheses, TLT is neither prescriptive nor instrumental; it does not offer a checklist of actions, but instead offers eight guiding tenets to ensure responsiveness to the needs of specific organizational and cultural contexts. The origins of TLT lie in a rejection of primarily technical approaches to leadership that do not adequately address the diversity of 21st-century schools and that have not been able to reduce the disparities between dominant and minoritized groups of students. Transformative leadership theory, like transformational leadership, draws on Burns’s concept of transforming leadership, although the two have sometimes been confused and confounded. Transformational leadership has more positivist overtones and focuses more on organizational effectiveness and efficiency; TLT has been operationalized as a values-based critical theory, focused both on beliefs and actions that challenge inequity and that promote more equity and inclusive participation. TLT draws on other critical theories, including critical race theory, queer theory, leadership for social justice, and culturally responsive leadership, as well as transformative learning theory, in order to promote a more equitable approach to education. Thus, it takes into account the material, lived realities of those who participate in the institution as well as organizational contingencies. To do so, the following eight specific interconnected and interrelated principles have been identified from the literature: • the mandate for deep and equitable change; • the need to deconstruct and reconstruct knowledge frameworks that perpetuate inequity and injustice; • the need to address the inequitable distribution of power; • an emphasis on both private and public (individual and collective) good; • a focus on emancipation, democracy, equity, and justice; • an emphasis on interdependence, interconnectedness, and global awareness; • the necessity of balancing critique with promise; • the call to exhibit moral courage. Questioning, dialogue, free-writing, reflection, deliberative and distributive processes, and relationship-building are central to the successful implementation of TLT. TLT in education is a proven way to address the persistent opportunity and achievement gaps between dominant and minoritized students and of enhancing democratic participation in civil society. In other areas, such as business, non-profits, social services, or sociocultural support agencies, TLT offers a comprehensive way for leaders to reflect on how to provide equitable, inclusive, and excellent environments for both clients and employees.

Article

Challenges to Mexican educational leadership and equity fundamentally have to do with class struggle and shaping the national identity to conform to one of two competing narratives: México as a country that strives to ensure its place in the first world, subordinating itself to the demands of external bodies and forgoing its own history; or México as a country that sustains and advances its historical struggle for social justice. México’s democratic teachers represent an important voice of educational leadership, as they struggle for educational equity for their students and through active resistance to reforms that rob teachers of their labor rights and intellectual autonomy, and rob students of their rights to the vast epistemological resources that their languages, history, culture, and identity represent. Facing new forms of colonialism that neoliberal education reform ushered in, the teachers fight in contested space that the Mexican curriculum is; they do so with renewed commitments to defeat education reform efforts that have more to do with the restructuring of their labor rights than the education of children in the classroom.

Article

Denise Mifsud

It is evident that in many educational systems there has been a partial dissolution of the traditional single school model towards more flexible modes of organizational link-up, taking the form of increased collaboration among schools. The early 21st-century climate of rapid technological change creates a need for collective knowledge creation and information sharing at classroom, school, and system level. Different forms of networks, collaboratives, and federations have become an established part of many educational landscapes and have arisen for a number of reasons. Some have been “imposed” on schools, others have been “incentivized” by the offer of external funding, but many have arisen because of the efforts of educational leaders who want to “make a difference” in their locality, which assumes their essential “good.” Within education, networks are regarded as one of the most promising levers for large-scale reform due to their potential to re-culture both the environment and the system in which policy-makers operate through increased cooperation, interconnectedness, and multi-agency. School networks contribute to capacity-building across the education service through the production of multiple solutions for potential, multifaceted, and intractable problems. Networks foster innovation, providing a test bed for new ideas while offering a platform for gradual innovation, distributing the risks and the workloads among different schools. Moreover, they provide capacity-building, reflective practice, and an inquiry frame of mind besides raising achievement and enhancing student outcomes through the sharing of resources and professional expertise. Networks enable schools to overcome their isolationism and move to form community relationships. Notwithstanding the benefits generated by collaboration, some of the ambiguities surrounding the setting up of school networks focus on: network purpose; collaborative inertia; collaboration and accountability; trust and relationships; conscription and volunteerism; identity and autonomy; competition and cooperation; lateral agency; and power inequality. There is no simple, single solution to leading networks, due to the very nature of a network making it difficult to define who its leaders are, resulting in leadership that is defined by activity rather than by formal position.

Article

The United States and other developed countries have acknowledged and supported the rights of students with disabilities to receive an appropriate education for decades. The role of the principal and school leader in overseeing educational programs and ensuring these entitlements become a reality for students with disabilities has taken center stage. Discussions related to principals and school leaders fulfilling the roles of leader and manager on behalf of students with disabilities linked the complementary disciplines of general and special education leadership. The leadership approach they adopted led to debates surrounding the concept of inclusion and the provision of an inclusive education on behalf of students with disabilities. Current definitions of inclusive education are typically linked to concepts of equity, social justice, and recognition of the student’s civil right to be granted full membership in all aspects of the educational enterprise. The processes involved in creating an inclusive school environment require principals and school leaders to examine the values and beliefs that influence their own thinking and behaviors before they can communicate a vision of inclusion. Principals and school leaders must be willing to act in concert with others to create the type of school culture that unanimously and positively responds to difference so every student can achieve full membership and feel welcomed and valued.