Poverty, Equity, Social Justice and Education

Twitter provides me with access to so many thought-provoking people, conversations, and readings through a varied PLN. This post is a collection of some of the articles on equity, social justice and child well-being that have given me pause – made me (continue to) think … deeply – about education, what it means “to educate”, what “good teaching” is, what “learning” looks like.

Unicef charts the well-being of children in 29 “nations of the industrialized world. Canada ranks 17th out of 29.

Exam rescheduling and early intervention can improve students’ mental health – this article is specific to university and college level, and provides a link to the full report produced by Queens University.

Richard Davies from the Institute of Education at the University of London has written a report on the impact of socioeconomic background on achievement and participation in mathematics. Within the report is a case study of the outcomes-based approach.

An April 2013 article in the New York Times featured a summary of James Heckman’s presentation to Nebraska Chamber of Commerce and Industry using OECD data on countries’ spending on early childhood education and how this affects future performance in school. The article included a link to Heckman’s slide show presentation.

David Stocker wrote an article for a CTF publication on how to link social justice with mathematics lessons. He has some thought provoking questions (including the one on Walmart and its Robin Hood commercial), particularly in light of the recent factory fire, and another factory collapse in Bangladesh, killing almost 1000 workers.

The Equity and Excellence Commission (US-based) produced a report on disparities in meaningful education opportunities in the US, with recommendations on how federal and state policies could address the disparities.


Two articles I have come across in my Twitter feed discuss the Ontario high school math course choices, and how socioeconomic differences may be playing a part in student course choice. One article focuses generally on poverty and course choice, the other provides a map meshing average household income data with grade 9 course choice.

One blogger has taken poverty levels and meshed them with PISA scores into an infographic, providing links to sources of data for the infographic. Canada’s child poverty levels are quoted at 13.6% compared to Finland’s 3.4% and US at 21.7% overall. Another blogger from the US discusses the concept of fixing the “opportunity gap” to address the achievement gap.

So many articles – each an opportunity to provide thought-provoking conversation in any school district. What’s your district currently discussing?


About tjthiessen

explorer, administrator, consultant, student, leader
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