A Vision Of Holistic Equity
We are creating a world where every child can realistically expect passionate teachers to fully engage their enthusiasm for learning in joyful K-12 schools. When schools are managed for engagement (instead of obedience) then all students can experience schools as trustworthy institutions that provide equitable opportunities to learn. But there are three key obstacles that must be overcome in order to achieve our vision.
Obstacle #1: The Epidemic of Disengagement
The main obstacle to realizing our vision is the epidemic of disengagement which afflicts the majority of our citizens and is disproportionately affecting marginalized populations. This epidemic normalizes dropping out, failing to achieve, and fauxchievement (jumping through the hoops to get the rewards without mastering the material). Deeper learning is tragically abnormal in most schools.
Overcoming the epidemic of disengagement requires us to enact policies at every level that ensure the primary human needs of all teachers and students are consistently supported in their schools.
Obstacle #2: Two Disastrous Intuitions
The main obstacle to enacting the right policies is the content delivery model of education and the notion that equity is about being extra nice to minority students. The content delivery model says that education is just getting knowledge from a teacher's head into a student’s. The common idea of educational equity is about getting better at delivering content to students from oppressed categories of people. These are intuitively seductive but harmfully wrong ideas in the minds of most citizens and policy makers.
Overcoming the content delivery model requires policy makers to accept, and use in their policy making duties, the idea that education is more accurately described as the growing of mental maps. Oversimplified notions of educational equity must be countered with a more accurate definition of equity that makes specific reference to needs and adds a clear definition of needs. The intersection of these two interventions is what we call Holistic Equity. Schools can prove they on the path to achieving Holistic Equity by collecting longitudinal data on 1) how well needs are satisfied, 2) patterns of motivation, and 3) depth of engagement among both teachers and students.
Obstacle #3: The Missing Champions
The main obstacle to getting policy makers to have a useful concept of Holistic Equity is the lack of coherent, sustained promotion of the idea. Sustained effective promotion of Holistic Equity should be the job of organizations that serve children, youth, educators, and their supporters. With the support of these types of organizations educators can take the lead on championing Holistic Equity by formulating policies that institutionalize autonomous motivations, deeper learning, and hidden curriculum management.
Overcoming the lack of promotion of Holistic Equity requires us to explicitly spell out a change model that can be properly integrated into future school reform agendas and develop a network of folks who will champion Holistic Equity in the public sphere.
Will you help us?
For more information about Holistic Equity and what it entails, visit the website HolisticEquity.org.
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