For this article, an educational organization’s policy regarding equity, equality, or equal opportunity is reviewed and discussed. The use of federal legislation and court cases that define compliance to educational equity was used as the basis for this examination.
For the purpose of this posting a small urban charter school located in Eastern Pennsylvania's policies are reviewed. Due to the sensitive nature of this post and the current state of unrest, the schools name will not be disclosed.
It is important that in todays diverse society that educators and administrators review policies regularly to ensure fair and just treatment is provided to all members of society.
A Closer Look
According to the charter school’s website it does not discriminate on the basis of age, color, disability, domestic violence victim status, ethnicity, gender identity or expression, genetic information, marital status, military/veteran status, national origin, race, religion/creed, sex, sexual orientation, citizenship status, or any other status protected by law in matters of admissions, employment, housing or services or in the educational programs or activities it operates.
Their public Policy statement is as follows: The school prohibits and will not engage in discrimination and harassment on the basis of age, color, disability, domestic violence victim status, ethnicity, gender identity or expression, genetic information, marital status, familial status or an individual’s reproductive health decision making, military/veteran status, national origin, race (including hair style), religion/creed (including religious attire and facial hair), sex, sexual orientation, citizenship status, or any other status protected by law (anyone individually, a "Protected Class"). Discrimination or harassment (including hostile work environment harassment) based on protected status is illegal, will not be tolerated, and is considered misconduct that will be subject to discipline.
The school complies with all federal and state laws that prohibit discrimination based on the protected categories listed above, including Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which prohibits sex discrimination (including sexual harassment and violence based on sex) in the schools educational programs and activities, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability, and The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA 2016).
The school envisions itself as a community that welcomes, encourages, and supports individuals who desire to contribute to and benefit from the institution’s missions of teaching, research, performance, and community service. In a pluralistic culture, that community includes faculty, students, and staff who represent important differences.
Members of the school community come from different geographical areas, represent differences in ethnicities, religious beliefs, values, socioeconomic backgrounds, and points of view; they may be physically different, have different intellectual interests, or have different abilities. The school not only welcomes such differences in the members of its community but, in fulfilling its own missions and in preparing the leaders of tomorrow’s world who will necessarily be operating in an equally wide-ranging environment.
To be inclusive in the broad sense defined by the school’s mission, much remains to be done beyond compliance with the law and explicit language about equal opportunity. The school includes activities to the enhancement of the human dignity of all members of its community; that include strategies that foster appreciation for individual differences. These are essential to the success of the institution’s mission.
The School has a goal of ensuring an inclusive and welcoming environment for all. This requires vigorous, systematic, consistent, and enduring actions in all domains. The school is an institution devoted to teaching, closing the achievement gap, reducing violence, and service. In the context of their commitment to being more inclusive and diverse, they apply these skills to the continuing work of transforming the educational/community environment in ways that enable greater participation, enhance human dignity, eliminate prejudice and discrimination, and improve the quality of life for everyone.
After reviewing federal legislation and comparing it to the school’s policies, procedures, and mission, I believe these guidelines support all students, staff and community members and show the organizations dedication and commitment to equity, equality, and equal educational opportunity.
ACLU Comments on Equity in IDEA Compliance Delay. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.aclu.org/letter/aclu-comments-equity-idea-compliance-delay
Meckler, L., & Rabinowitz, K. (2019, September 12). More students are going to school with children of different races. But schools in big cities remain deeply segregated. Retrieved June 17, 2020, from https://www.washingtonpost.com/education/2019/09/12/more-students-are-going-school-with-children-different-races-schools-big-cities-remain-deeply-segregated/?arc404=true
U.S. Department of Education Takes Action to Deliver Equity for Students with Disabilities. (2016, February 23). Retrieved June 20, 2020, from https://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/us-department-education-takes-action-deliver-equity-students-disabilities