How Do We Pursue Equity in Education? By Learning, Unlearning, and Muddling Through

Posted by Facing History and Ourselves on July 2, 2021

Children's hands raised in front of a chalkboard.Facing History's Chief Officer of Equity and Inclusion Dr. Steven Becton and Kaitlin Smith recently placed an article in the School Library Journal newsletter about the historical contexts that shape educational inequity and what it takes to disrupt it.

Below is an excerpt from the piece:

"Spanish philosopher George Santayana famously said that 'those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.' We commonly hear that meaningful historical education is a cornerstone of democracy and, thus, essential to promoting equity within our society. Less discussed is the importance of educators themselves having access to perspectives that place the field, and current student outcomes, in historical context. For us to begin leveraging the power of education to drive equity, it is crucial that educators deepen their knowledge of the history of K–12 education and its relationship to society at large.

At Facing History and Ourselves, we have embarked upon Teaching for Equity and Justice (TEJ) work with schools across the country to help educators and schools rise to this challenge. Our goal is to have teachers grapple with how we got here—a status quo in K–12 education that reflects profound educational inequity.

In an article published by the Brookings Institution, 'Unequal Opportunity: Race and Education,' author Linda Darling-Hammond writes: 'Over the past 30 years, a large body of research has shown that four factors consistently influence student achievement: all else equal, students perform better if they are educated in smaller schools where they are well known (300 to 500 students is optimal), have smaller class sizes (especially at the elementary level), receive a challenging curriculum, and have more highly qualified teachers. Minority students are much less likely than white children to have any of these resources.'"

Read the piece in its entirety at School Library Journal.


Topics: Equity in Education

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Welcome to Facing Today, a Facing History blog. Facing History and Ourselves combats racism and antisemitism by using history to teach tolerance in classrooms around the globe.

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