Equity, Opinion, Policy, School Community

CEA’s Focus on Equity Blogs – Week 1 in Review

An eloquent line-up of contributors challenged us to reflect on what we need to do in order to achieve equity for ALL students in Canadian classrooms

The focus ranged from high level equity policy and practice reflections, to the responsibilities of education systems to ensure equity, to the need to increasing access to postsecondary, for more integration of technology in classrooms to level the playing field, and a call for the expansion of specialized programs tailored to the unique needs of many learners before they fall through the cracks.  If you missed any of last week’s blog posts, scroll down the list below and click on the links to get caught up.

Week 2 contributors will share First Nations, LGBT, and racialized minority perspectives and continue to provoke reflection on how we can do better for all of our children. 

Parents please BYOD
By Lorna Costantini, Co-host of Classroom 2.0 Live

“When parents become active participants in their child’s learning – something that is made amazingly easy with mobile devices – everyone benefits. Home and school partnerships are strengthened. Classroom teachers start feeling supported. Everyone on the same page. All students benefit. My kind of school.”

Equity in Education and the Digital Age
By John Kershaw, President of 21st Century Learning Associates, Inc.

“A 21st Century model of learning offers the potential to realize this vision, when learning is enabled by ICT rich learning and teaching environments. Equity in education will only be realized when learning is personalized and every student has the ability to access information at their individual speed of learning.”

Equity Begins with Education
By Harvey Weingarten, President and CEO of The Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario

“More than 80 per cent of Ontario secondary school students enrol in some type of postsecondary institution by age 21, but gaps in access remain for some – most notably those who identify as Aboriginal or whose parents have no postsecondary experience. In fact, our research shows that having no family history of college or university is the most significant obstacle to postsecondary education for those students who would most benefit from it.”

Yes, we can eradicate child and family poverty!
By Laurel Rothman, Director of Social Reform at the Family Service Toronto

“With 639,000 children and their families living in low income, it’s no wonder that school drop-out rates persist and many young children enter the formal education system already somewhat behind in social and cognitive learning.”

Much-needed specialized school programs that build equity must expand
By John Campey, Executive Director of Social Planning Toronto

“I’m frustrated, angry, and sad that our school systems do not – yet – clearly and fully acknowledge the continued, pervasive and corrosive impact of discrimination, economic inequality, and homophobia.”

Restoring Our Schools: The Quest for Equity in the United States
By Linda Darling-Hammond, Professor of Education at Stanford University and Co-director of SCOPE at Stanford University

“Canada and many nations in Asia and Europe are pouring resources into forward-looking systems that educate all their citizens to much higher levels—and the gap between the United States and these high-achieving nations is growing.”

Investing in human development
By Penny Milton, Former CEO of the Canadian Education Association

“What I’ve learned from parental, political and professional experience is that what is effective for poor children is what is effective for all children. And we know a lot about that. The difference is that poor children are more likely to depend on their school experience whereas the success of middle class children can often be in spite of it.”

The time is Now: Excellence and Equity for All
By Avis Glaze, President of Edu-quest International Inc.

“As educators, the future of this country is in our hands.  Schools are, indeed, be a laboratory of what effective human relationships can look like. Our diversity offers us the opportunity to be a model to the world of empathy and inclusiveness across the lines that often divide us in society.”

Equity: After the Poetry Comes the Prose
By Bruce Beairsto, Retired Superintendent of Schools in Richmond, British Columbia

“If we are committed to equity then we are committed to eliminating inequity, and that means be willing to change the way schools function and the way we behave in order to eliminate, or at least minimize, it. Equity does not result from equality.”

Equity in education is not rocket science
By Peter H. Hennessy, Retired Professor of Education at Queen’s University

“Historically, people assumed that children of privileged parents would shine at school and those of under- privileged families would languish, quit and get a job after Grade 10. So long fella!  Good luck Susie!  The computer revolution has changed all that. Technological unemployment steadily worsens the prospects for unskilled labour. Success in school is now part of the job hunt; success referring primarily to measurable competence in language, science, and mathematics. Standardized testing has become the practical means of ensuring these competencies – paired with accountability (the cold-hearted flip side of the coin). In the outcome, about a quarter of high school students fail to graduate and are adrift in the ‘Mc-job’ market. Adult education and training-on-the-job offer longer-term hope for some.”

What will it take to achieve equity in and through educational improvement?
By Carol Campbell, Associate Professor at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto

“Although Canada is faring the economic crisis globally better than some countries; rising income inequalities, fiscal restraint, budget deficits, unemployment and other challenges ahead are very present. Locally, we can identify students, families, communities and schools experiencing serious disadvantages and inequities.  So we need to be vigilant about arguing and advocating for equity.”

Meet the Expert(s)

Max Cooke


Max Cooke is the CEO of the EdCan Network.

Max Cooke est le directeur général du Réseau ÉdCan.

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