Post by Jerry Friedman Post by Peter Moylan Post by Jerry Friedman
We had Professional Development Day today, all about equity in
Strange. Inequality is at the very core of "Higher" Education.
Slightly different words, with slippery meanings.
We hold this truth to be self-evident, that all men are created
unequal. Nobody's going to dispute that. Some will succeed at
higher education, some won't.
In my country, at least, access to higher education is also
unequal. Some can afford the fees, many can't.
But equity, now, that's a fish of a different barrel. In my mind
that measures the proportion of one's ownership of an asset. And
it's rarely equal for all investors, so equity does not mean
equality. Still, the word has been used in so many different ways
that Wikipedia has to devote an entire disambiguation page to it.
Jerry's day was probably about educational equity. That's another
kind of inequality. Instead of treating everyone equally, you give
privileged treatment to disadvantaged groups.
I didn't see much of that, though I wouldn't have been surprised.
It was more about that "minoritized" (new to me) groups have extra
barriers to face and trying to remove them. I had to miss some
parts (I'll watch the recordings), but in what I was present for,
there weren't a lot of concrete suggestions.
Minoritized groups: those that used not to be a minority, but have
somehow been turned into a minority?
Post by Jerry Friedman
Two concrete suggestions that I've been told narrow the gap between
non-Asian students of color and white-and-Asian students, according
Tell the class that tests have been checked and found free of
cultural bias, so all racial and ethnic groups do equally well on
them. (There is no need for this to have been done, though the
teacher should probably make sure there's no blatant bias.) This is
supposed to address beliefs that one's own group is inferior at
academics or that the deck is stacked against them.
Have the students write a one-to-two-page essay in each section of
the course on how the material is important to them. This is
supposed to address the difference between low-context cultures
(e.g., northwest European and their descendant cultures in North
America and Australasia), where many people value education in
itself, and high-context cultures (e.g., Native American and
Hispanic), where people absorb the idea that education is valued
more for its practical benefits.
Sorry about the excessive quoting, but it was hard to know what to snip.
You're apparently doing better than we are. The most disadvantaged
minority here are indigenous Australians, but one rarely has to deal
with them at tertiary level. The big challenge is still getting the kids
to finish primary school. It's a generational problem: the children
aren't interested in schooling because their parents don't take it
seriously, and that problem will still exist in the next generation.
Breaking the cycle is not easy.
It's interesting that you mention Asian students. If they are children
of immigrants then they do better than white Australians in primary and
secondary school, because they work harder. But at tertiary level most
Asian students are non-residents, and they do worse than the Australians
on average. The reason for that is that the fees are high, so students
are being selected for wealth rather than ability. We used to get
excellent students from Hong Kong, but probably won't in future because
of the political situation there. We still get good students from
Singapore. But there are few other countries where the mindset is that
if you have the right uncle then you don't have to make an effort.
The sample size is still too low to know how African immigrants will do.
Of course covid-19 has altered all migration patterns. It will be
interesting to see whether Brexit gives us more Scots and Welsh and
Peter Moylan Newcastle, NSW http://www.pmoylan.org