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A teacher ensuring education equity in his classroom
Leadership Insights

What Role Do Teachers Play in the Educational Equity Movement?

By The Room 241 Team March 6, 2013

Education equity is about providing students with a fair learning environment that promotes excellence for all people. Teachers can enhance their background by earning a master’s degree that focuses on the study of equity and culturally responsive teaching. With advanced training, educators learn to combat social and economic factors that affect a student’s ability to meet the challenges of academic life. The goal is to develop expertise that leads teachers to become school and community leaders in order to foster an ethical learning setting.

What is education equity?

Education equity is the study of ethical principles to achieve fairness in schools. Students have a right to a quality education that promotes literacy and success. This is the basis for the No Child Left Behind Act passed by 2001. The fact is, not all children are treated equally in a school system. Economic background, gender, and culture often interfere with the learning and teaching process. The education equity movement is about creating environments that focus more on learning and less on social stressors that can get in the way of fundamental education.

There are two key components of education equity. The first is achievement based on ability and a student’s desire to apply himself or herself. The second is the right of every child to basic reading and math skills. This movement is about educating school staff and teachers in what it takes to achieve these goals.

Teachers promote equity in the classroom

At the heart of the educational process is the classroom. This is the forefront of equity for all students, as well. Through advanced study, teachers learn the basic principles of ethical practice and fairness. The goal is to utilize these base concepts in a teaching environment to ensure each student has the same opportunities. No student should fall behind because of gender, social status, or ethnicity. Advancement standards focus on ability and the willingness to work hard to achieve success.

Teachers learn to recognize social and cultural elements that may hold a child back. Once educators understand the walls that exist in a society, they can create platforms that allow children to scale them, resulting in students studying and achieving based on their abilities and skill sets.

Teachers teach equity in the classroom

The goal of the education equity movement goes beyond just applying certain principles when teaching. Educators must develop curricula that teach students about diversity and applying fair standards to their peers. Tolerance is a learned behavior, but so is bullying and racism.

Teachers can take what they learn about equity while getting a master in education (MEd) degree and educate their students. This will alleviate some of the peer-related issues that also interfere with a child’s right to a proper education. Through classroom activities and study, students embrace ideas of economic, gender, and race equality. It is a teacher’s job to show pupils how social context and determinants affect families and communities, as well.

Leadership

Ultimately, an educator well versed in the principles of ethics and equity in a school system can become a leader in the community. Experts in education equity will expand the horizons of the educational platform by teaching the same principles to peers, parents, and the community at large. Planting the seeds of equity in society is a way to transmit the movement outward and eliminate some of the stressors that affect how the school system works.

The mission of every teacher is to enhance the lives of students through learning. UNICEF describes education as the way to end generational poverty and disease. Part of this process is dealing with equity, ethics, and justice. The No Child Left Behind developed standardization for education reform, but it may not go far enough. Teachers can enhance the principles created in 2001 by embracing the educational equity movement as well.

Educators must take the fundamentals of fairness and apply them to classroom study, but their role in the movement doesn’t stop there. They must also teach the concept of equity to students and the community to build a world the focuses on proper education for all people.

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