In order to improve the educational outcomes of Indigenous youth and newcomer, refugee and racialized immigrant students, they must be better reflected in the curriculum and staff at all positions in the public education system.
The gap between the number of public school teachers who are Indigenous or from racialized communities and the student body they serve is not unique to our community. This is a structural problem facing school divisions in Canada and the United States.
In Manitoba, there is little disaggregated student and teacher data available for equity-seeking groups. The 2020 State of Equity in Education Report, prepared by the Winnipeg Indigenous Executive Circle, was able to cross-reference data from the Manitoba Indigenous Teacher Education Survey (MITES) and the Report on Aboriginal Self-Identification in Manitoba Schools Identify an under-representation of 600 Indigenous teachers in the City of Winnipeg’s six school divisions.
However, as the last MITES report published was in 2013, these data are out of date.
The 2020 State of Equity in Education Report by the Newcomers Education Coalition was unable to document the issue of teacher representation in Winnipeg schools because equity-based data that is disaggregated for newcomer, refugee, or racialized students and teachers immigrants are not collected by the provincial government or school divisions.
Although equity-based data is not well documented in Canada, the United States Federal Department of Education publishes a Characteristics of teachers in public and private primary and secondary schools report every two years. The most recent report, released in 2020, found that in the United States, 79% of teachers are white; 77 percent of teachers are women; seven percent of teachers are black; and two percent of teachers are black men.
The report identifies a significant gap in the representation of the teaching workforce and students served, as 53 percent of students are people of color.
This structural inequity requires a sustained, long-term approach to genuinely address systemic issues related to the representation of the teaching workforce.
In the Canadian context, in June 2020, the provincial government of Ontario took over the management of the Peal District School Board (PDSB), the second largest school division in the country, in response to the school board’s inability to solve the problems of systemic racism. identified in the school district’s external provincial review.
The review underscored the critical role of employment equity policies and programs. The report noted that a comprehensive Employment Systems Review (ESR) is an irreplaceable best practice used to unearth barriers to fairness in workplace cultures, policies, procedures and practices. Indeed, without a thorough ESR, it’s hard to understand how the board can properly establish the responsibilities, goals, and timelines necessary to conduct a fair and transparent hiring.
Independent third-party reviews of the financial operations of nonprofit and publicly funded organizations through annual financial audits are recognized as standard practice in good governance, accountability and transparency. Equity audits and reviews of employment systems provide this best practice management function for an organization’s human resources operations.
Without an independent third-party review that develops input from diverse perspectives inside and outside an organization, school boards and senior management will have blind spots and won’t know what they’re doing. they do not know. especially with regard to employment equity issues.
Equity Matters is calling for the creation of an Education Equity Secretariat within the provincial government and school district education equity offices. These types of organizational structures will provide sustained intervention to address educational equity and representation issues involving the public school workforce.
Additionally, they will play a critical role in addressing student equity issues regarding the experience of Indigenous and racialized students with suspensions, truancy, high school graduation rates, l ‘credit accumulation, representation in applied and academic courses and representation in special needs. programs.
Suni Matthews and Crystal Laborero are co-chairs of Equity Matters.
On December 9, Equity Matters is hosting a virtual town hall on the âRole of a Provincial Education Equity Secretariat and School District Education Equity Officesâ. Patrick Case, Assistant Deputy Minister of Education for Ontario and Head of Equity for the Provincial Education Equity Secretariat, will share his long experience in equity-based education , including lessons learned and promising practices. To register for this event, go to equitymattersmb.ca.