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Actions in Response to Classism

Classism in Education
| Home | Further Class Divisions | Definition | Historical Perspective | Causes | Actions | Advocates in Education
What Can Be Done to Address Classism?

No other practices in the school system could be more controversial than ability grouping or tracking. Proponents of tracking suggest that by grouping students by certain abilities, teachers can better assess and address the needs of students more centrally. The advocates contend that by ability grouping learning is more personalized and students in top categories need "grooming" in areas ans in ways that would not be possible if grouped with underachievers. Tracking is also functional from a socio-economic standpoint, as it contributes to the maintenance of the needs of the U.S. economic structure. Where ability grouping, or tracking becomes problematic is certain groups become vastly over represented in low track categories. According to Jeanie Oaks,

"Many express particular concern about tracking’s effects on poor and minority students, who are placed low-ability groups more often than other students and are less likely to be found in programs for gifted students or in college preparatory tracks."

(Oakes,1994)

What results then, is an altogether different educational experience predetermined by the ability groups students belong to. Studies have shown that students in upper tier ability groups tend to focus more on "learning activities that stimulate critical thinking, and less time on socializing, discipline, or class routines." (Oakes, 1994)

In aspiring to become educators, we must redefine "culturally relevant pedagogy". We must take the meaning of the concept as to play an expanded role in teaching; one that realizes the true effect of education takes place outside the classroom. The casual settings such as the church, the mosque, sporting events, community lectures, activist functions, theatrical plays, all allow students to really connect to the "real person" that embodies the Educator. Student must regard their teachers as human, after all. Warmer, friendlier environments help to cultivate a sense of trust, without which, no "true" education can take place.

 


 

Keep in mind always, the present you are constructing. It should be the future you want.              Alice Walker     

                                    

 

                                                                                                                       

A School District’s Response to Achieving Equity in Education

 

In 1996 the Peel School Board in Canada began to define and establish a process which focuses on equity in education.  The link below will direct you to their website outlining the steps they took in working toward the goal of a future symbolized by fairness, respect and inclusiveness.

 

Achieving Equity for Students & Staff