News & Perspectives

Equity in the classroom

30. November 2018 PCG Education

Are we asking the wrong questions about equity in the classroom? Yes, and we have been for some time according to PCG’s Alvin Crawford in his new blog post published by The Edvocate on November 26th. Throughout the article, Alvin uses the theme of questions—why we keep asking the wrong ones, why (and how) we should start asking the right ones—to stress the need for a shift in the conversation to taking action.

“On the issues of teacher representation related to race and gender, for example, we always point out the studies that have repeatedly shown that male students can significantly benefit from having male teachers and that most teachers are not. We highlight similar dynamics around race.

But we’ve known these things for some time. And while I concede that the repeat questions come from a good place, asking the questions again implies we don’t know and absolutely stifles progress.

Instead, we need to be asking questions like, “Why is the education process unfair?” and “What does classroom bias look like?” and, most important of all, “Since we know all this, what are we going to do about it?”

We need to get to the place where we can discuss the findings that classroom bias, for example, is both more common and more important than a child’s preference of adult at the front of the classroom.”

Advocating for a more honest approach to addressing equity in the classroom, Alvin explores some of the societal factors that contribute to bias and racial inequity on a broader scale. He then shifts his focus to district-level initiatives and finally, the classroom and teacher. Ultimately, Alvin argues, if we want to see real progress in ensuring equity in the classroom, it is imperative all teachers be culturally and linguistically competent. Building teacher capacity, therefore, is critical to the success of any equity initiative.

Read Alvin’s guest blog post on The Edvocate here.


To see PCG’s catalog of professional development offerings for teaching diverse learners, including courses focused on building equity and becoming culturally responsive educators, click here.