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MERLOT II


    

Peer Review


Discussion Areas for Equity, National Coalition for Equity in Education

 

Ratings

Overall Rating:

4.17 stars
Content Quality: 4.5 stars
Effectiveness: 4.5 stars
Ease of Use: 3.5 stars
Reviewed: Jul 13, 2003 by Teacher Education
Overview: This site is provided by the National Coalition for Equity in Education at the
University of California in Santa Barbara. This organization's mission is to
ensure that schools and colleges provide complete respect to people, allocate
the necessary resources (material and human) for all people to learn at the
highest level, and are proactive in eliminating inequity.
Learning Goals: The major purpose of the site is to explore research and experiences of
math and science educators and then invite dialog and reflection regarding
materials and staff development institutes that support and promote equity in
math and science education. Specifically, the learning goal is to
identify and promote practices and policies in educational settings that
support human learning and develop strategies to eliminate those practices and
policies that injure people and interfere with their learning
Target Student Population: Teacher education faculty as well as preservice and inservice math and science
teachers who are willing to become leaders who understand the depth and breadth
of equity issues and are able to raise controversial issues while building
unity.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: Ability to listen as people talk about their thoughts, feelings, concerns, and
early memories (as target, bystander, or perpetrator) of different forms of
bias.

Type of Material: Collection of resources.
Recommended Uses: Integrate the learning object into math and science education coursework to
increase awareness about being proactive to eliminate inequity in education.
Likewise, refer to these questions when articulating individual and school goals
to prepare for making changes in practices.

Technical Requirements: None.

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 4.5 stars
Strengths: The strengths of the learning object's content include the resources and
research available online regarding the promotion of equity in math and science
education. In addition, the site invites dialog and reflection concerning ways
to provide complete respect to all people, allocate resources for all people to
learn at the highest level, and proact ways to eliminate inequity in education.
The NCEE targets a serious problem: educational outcomes in the US are not
progressing toward achievement of equity. According to the National Assessment
of Educational Progress (NAEP), also known as "the Nation's Report Card, at
grade 4, the gap between the average science scores of male and female students
widened by three points and at grade 8, by five points, between 1996 and 2000.
In 2000, White students had higher scores, on average, than Black or Hispanic
students. In spite of national concerns and targeted funding by the National
Science Foundation, the large gaps between subgroups' performance have remained
relatively unchanged since 1996. (Data from
ttp://www.nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/science/results/natsubgroups.asp)
There is a tremendous need for resources to provide emotional and intellectual
support to educators as they work for the transformation of educational
settings. The NCEE suggests that educators must have extensive discussions on
needed changes in practices and policies and to develop strategies, and that
this should happen in conjunction with or after understanding personal stories
so that the strategies are in deep personal understanding.
Concerns: The questions asked in the Discussion Areas for Equity identify essential
elements that should distinguish equitable from inequitable education. However,
models for transforming educational settings are only presented for sale as
publications.

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 4.5 stars
Strengths: The site offers research, resources, and a virtual learning community to support
and promote equity in math and science education. The "Discussion Areas for
Equity" provide an effective point of integration for school and college
classroom use.The eight areas that require discussion ? and some starting
questions for each area - are outstanding. Classroom practices, Curriculum,
Culture, Parents, Testing, School and district policies, and Universities are
all important elements to consider. The questions provide a basis for opening
important dialogue.

Concerns: Since many who work hard on problems of inequity did not experience the
disadvantage some of our students face, resources are needed to help leaders
create healing communities. Rather than limiting the resources to the work of
Julian Weissglass, links should provide materials recognized as useful for
teachers who want to support all parents' participation in their children's
education (especially recent immigrants, parents of color, and parents from low
socioeconomic classes). For example, a model that works is the Society for
Advancement of Chicano and Native Americans in the Sciences (SACNAS) Annual
National Conference featuring career advancement workshops, scientific symposia,
exhibits, student presentations and guest speakers designed to provide the
resources Chicano/Latino, Native American, and other postdoctoral, graduate and
undergraduate science and engineering students need to pursue a advanced degrees
in the sciences. A distinguishing feature of the SACNAS conference is that
parents and children attend as families. Or link to the SACNAS biography
project at http://www.sacnas.com/biography/listssubject.asp

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 3.5 stars
Strengths: The site is easy to access and navigate.
Concerns: The Equity in Science Education Website has no content.

The publications for sale would make the site more useful if they were available
Online as Adobe Reader files.

The POR QUE SE GENERAN BRECHAS ACADEMICAS EN EL AREA DE MATEMATICAS article in
Spanish is actually a poor translation from English that does not use Spanish
fluidly enough to communicate the essence of the ideas with clarity. The font
in the publications list for the Spanish translation of the booklet Getting at
the Roots of the Achievement Gap: Creating Healing Communities to Eliminate
Racism is not legible.

Other Issues and Comments: NCEE is a very important initiative that should be expanded to encourage
achievement of educational equity at all levels and especially in math and
science.