Equity in Schools (Blog Post #2)

Since my last post I have done some research and conducted two interviews on the topic Equity in our Schools, mostly thinking about Vermont. So far I have found out through the interviews that each person has basically said the same thing, they believe in equity in education but feel that in some ways schools are “lowering the bar” to make things seem equitable. But sometimes that is actually taking things away so that everyone only gets what there is money to give, or even because of space when it comes to returning to school with Covid issues. I think that the main issues on this topic is that we are making things fair and not equitable.   

Another thing I found interesting is an idea a teacher had about providing special education services. The teacher says that pulling kids out of class to give them extra help makes it so that kids miss more core information. She thinks making the learning equitable for students who need more is to give them more hours of school. She said it is like we are giving them “this” instead of “that” instead of giving them the “extra” that they need.

I still have some questions though: I wonder if there is a way to make things equitable without it feeling like the bar is being lowered? There was also a conversation about things being equal is different than things being equitable and I am still figuring that out. All of the conversations have made me also wonder if COVID has made this achievement gap bigger. I know that many of my peers come to school with work not completed from the 3 days at home and then we sit there and have time to do the work we were supposed to do and I just read. This isn’t happening as much, but still happens. So, I wonder what impact has COVID had on equity in schools?

I am excited to learn more about this topic and dive deeper.  This week I came to a block in my research because everything I was reading and every person I talked to was saying the same thing, so I changed some of the questions I was asking. I started asking questions about the current turn on this, like how has Covid impacted equity in schools.  Are all students really able to access the learning opportunities from home?  Does giving a kid a Chromebook really solve the equity issues about learning from home?  

I do have a worry about going into this topic further too though.  I am a learner that is supported at home and education is a priority for me and my parents.  I wonder if my view is not really objective.  And I wonder how to appropriately ask for information or interview students from different backgrounds without it seeming wrong of me.  And am I wrong to think that maybe it does seem like sometimes the push for equity takes things away from everyone instead of adding things to everyone’s education?  I wouldn’t want to make someone feel bad with my questions.  Asking teachers and adults in education is one thing but asking kids and families who don’t have the same access and supports as me could be really hard.   

The main goal is for all learners to get what they need at school to reach their learning potential.  THe conflict is that maybe schools aren’t going about it the right way even though they are trying and it is a good goal.  Maybe some other more “out of the  box” ways to serve kids are needed.  Vermont is small so it may be a good place to start with some of these ideas, like a longer school day.  

I have another interview scheduled that was supposed to happen last week.  It was changed to next week and is with a principal.  I’d like to interview all the stakeholders involved, a teacher, a principal, a student, a parent, and maybe even someone on a school board or from AOE.  A superintendent may have something to offer me too, from a different perspective.  

I don’t think I would be opposed to switching topics either though. Many of the blog posts I read sound interesting.  However, I am still interested in this topic especially with the focus moving to remote learning.  I think by looking into this topic more and bringing more attention to it, even though I know there is a lot already,  maybe a new fresh group of people will become interested. By  having me as a student speaking out on this topic I think I have a different perspective than teachers and other adults. 

Image is from: “Coloured pencil” by nojhan is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Emma Morrissey

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