I am, admittedly, becoming an old lady who really is loving spending time thinking about things. I remember growing up hearing about people taking weeks and months and years to think about things in order to form their opinion or action on something. I thought that just sounded plain ol’ BORING. I mean…just sitting around thinking? Um…no thank you. I am all about action. (Ha!)
But I find myself more and more distressed and curious about how things are in education. How, in my opinion, we are just off and running on things that really don’t have anything to do with teaching.
If you’ve heard me talk at all, you know I take shots at trends in education that I really find ridiculous and downright demeaning to our profession. (You know, things like spending a preponderance of time and resources on flexible seating…) But one of the things that I am really thinking a lot about and doing some researching on is this concept of equity in education. It appears to the be the buzzword of the year and, in my opinion, has some veiled something underneath it…it’s a loaded term.
Today I decided to go to the good ol’ YouTube and search “equity in the classroom” and I watched this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wiEKs01ZIho. It was the first one that popped up in my search, so I decided to watch it even though I don’t know the man in the video and I don’t know of his organization.
He starts off giving a pretty rambling definition of what equity is and I’m already suspect because if something can’t be easily explained then I think it’s a veil for something else. Confusion where we need clarity is dangerous, I’ve come to see. And I have encountered a ton of confusion and double-talking and rambling from the “experts” on the subject of equity. But I digress…
Here is his rough definition:
“The need to focus more directly not simply on equal opportunity. This is making sure kids have access to schools. Also, focusing outcomes and results. Most parent practice equity with their own kids by not treating them all the same. Schools should focus on outcomes.”
Um. Ok. Wait…what?
So, to use his analogy, if a parent has two children and one struggles to settle into bedtime and the other doesn’t, their nighttime routines might need to be different. The easy-to-bed child might need brushing teeth, a story, a kiss and a squeeze and goodnight…maybe a 15 minute process.
The hard-to-settle-into-bed might need a 30-45 minute routine that includes a timer set to keep things moving and a choice of pajama options and TV turned off 30 minutes before bedtime and laying out of the clothes for tomorrow and a full debrief of the day. The end result or the outcome, is the same: settling down and going to sleep in bed for the night.
Now let’s equate that to a 1st grade teacher: She has two students. One is highly performing and comes to her class with excellent skills in place. The other student doesn’t have quite the same skills and requires more practice. So, the teacher does some pre-teaching with the not-as-skilled student before teaching is so she’s primed the pump and given extra repetitions on the skills to boost up the student. When she teaches the new concept to the whole class, the skilled and not-so-skilled student both learn the concept, but the path to learning the concept has been a bit different.
Is this equity? Because it sounds an awful lot like differentiation. And haven’t we been doing this for a long time?
Why the need for the word “equity” and its rolling definition when we’re really describing something teachers have been doing for a long time?
I’m left wondering what’s REALLY going on here?