Addressing barriers to equity

December 7, 2016

The November 2016 issue of Educational Leadership, on the theme of disrupting inequity, gives a powerful overview of the many barriers that can create opportunity gaps for students. Feature articles such as Unconscious Bias: When Good Intentions Aren’t Enough, by Sarah
E. Fiarman, Let’s Talk About Racism in Schools, by
Rick Wormeli, Gender Insights Coming to Your Classroom, by David Sadker and Melissa Koch, and The Schools Transgender Students Need, by Ellen Kahn, provide strategies that educators can use to foster equity in their classrooms.

The Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation Governance Handbook, July 2016 contains several key policies under the broad umbrella of equity. The policies are designed to support teachers in their understanding of equity and reflect the voice of teachers who were an integral part of the policy creation process. Policies on social justice, inclusion and equity; child and youth well-being; children with exceptional needs; cultural diversity and language; Indigenous education; gender and sexual diversity; gender equity; and religion and instruction in public schools are included, along with belief statements around teachers’ individual and collective responsibilities and advocacy roles.

The Stewart Resources Centre holds extensive collections in each area of equity, inclusion and social justice. This column will highlight our online resources, as well as a few recent materials in this vein that will assist you in working towards equity for your students.

Several bibliographies that have been grouped into categories are available on our web page. Under the category of First Nations and Métis are bibliographies on decolonizing and indigenizing education, residential schools and reconciliation and treaties. In the category of inclusion, you will find bibliographies on autism and other pervasive developmental disorders, inclusive education and resources for special education teachers.

Located within the category of instruction and assessment are bibliographies on culturally responsive teaching, teaching English as an additional language, and teaching immigrant and refugee students. In addition, under the category of social justice are lists of resources on anti-racist education, education as a human right, gender equity and gender issues, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex issues.

Visit www.stf.sk.ca to access these bibliographies.

Links to external resources on equity are provided in the Related Links section of the website. There you will find numerous websites on English as an additional language, First Nations, Métis and Inuit content and perspectives, human rights, diversity and social justice, inclusive education, multicultural education, and sexual minorities and sexual diversity. To locate them, please visit www.stf.sk.ca.

A sampling of the resources acquired in the past week or two will also support you in understanding issues around equity, educating students about the issue and engaging members of the school community to work collectively to create a fairer, more inclusive and equitable society.

The Impact of Colonialism in Canada, a DVD produced by LeMay Media and Consulting, explores the serious negative consequences of the Canadian government’s assimilation policies, the Indian Act, the residential school system and the ’60s Scoop. A central message of the DVD is that it is the responsibility of current and future generations to make things right.

Inclusion Dos, Don’ts, and Do Betters, by Toby J. Karten, is a brief reference guide packed full of valuable instructional tips that can be quickly read and shared with others.

Sexual and Gender Minorities in Canadian Education and Society 1969-2013: A National Handbook for K-12 Educators, published by the Canadian Teachers’ Federation, provides a province-by-province analysis of measures taken to foster equity for sexual and gender minorities.

To borrow these or other resources, please email src@stf.sk.ca.