Articles of interest
12th July 2021
Book in Focus
Equity in the Classroom for Every Child
By Delia Robinson Richards
After observing preservice and in-service teachers, experiencing the supervision of student teachers in elementary schools, and reviewing the equity literature in education, the author is in agreement that inequity in the classroom for students of color has been an overwhelmingly consistent problematic issue that has resulted in over four decades of a widening achievement gap. In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic has further exacerbated this issue. This gap has left students of color academically behind white students in achievement data derived from national test scores. The author has strategized the methodologies whereby teachers and administrators are able to develop an equitable classroom environment for every child that will be transformational in significantly helping to close this persistent achievement gap.
The acrostic for the word “TEACHER” used here incorporates seven core values that are applied for teaching and learning that set the foundation for an equitable environment for every child in the classroom. This handbook represents a critical resource for parents, teachers, administrators, and for anyone who works in any capacity with students of color.
Chapter 6, “Equalizing Opportunities for Every Child”, discusses the implementation of authentic assessments, both oral and written, focused on diverse learners’ skills and knowledge. The teacher should ensure high quality opportunities for every student that align with developmentally appropriate skills. Parents, therefore, become an integral part of the teaching and learning process, and should always be involved in skill-directed workshops that engage students.
Teachers must recognize their own biases, thereby preventing these biases from becoming ingrained prejudices that may hinder a change in attitudes toward their students. They must be encouraged to provide diverse resources and opportunities in an equitable classroom environment and provide the necessary support for students, while building on their strengths so they can reach their fullest potential academically.
This book offers an insightful framework for providing an equitable playing field and incorporating opportunities for diverse learning experiences for every child in an equitable classroom environment.
The experienced author, who is a Fulbright Scholar, has taught diverse students from early childhood through college, and presented at national and international conferences. She has also directed and implemented education programs and early childhood courses, and published early childhood articles in national and international forums. Some of the author’s research and publications include Children of Color: Their Perspective on Covid-19, A Reflection of a Preschool in Florence, Italy, and Teaching Children of Color.
She has developed this handbook as a resource for the teacher and administrator’s toolbox. This book gives teachers and administrators the strategies to provide differentiated activities that will meet the needs of the diverse learners in their classrooms.
In summary, the core values discussed in the chapters, intentionally spell out the acrostic “TEACHER”. Implementation of these values will create a seamless process that demonstrates that all stakeholders are on the same page, working to ensure that students reach their maximum potential.
“In some capacity, all levels of educators struggle with being interconnected with their students. Dr Delia Robinson Richards has thoughtfully integrated practices for teachers to avoid the pitfalls involved in individualized education. These interventions for a teacher’s toolbox address the realities of disparities of educational advancement with children of color. Equity in the Classroom for Every Child is an opportunity for every teacher to expand their skills so that children have the best outcomes. I believe that all teachers, administrators and even parents could use this influential book to help our future—our children.”
Dr James C. Rodriguez, MSW
President and Chief Executive Officer, Fathers and Families Coalition of America
“As school leaders, we are continually challenged to address achievement gaps among our diverse groups of students. This requires providing students with equitable opportunities for learning. This book offers guidance on how to design classrooms that are culturally relevant and engage children from all backgrounds. It offers specific ways to address equity.”
Dr Merrianne Dyer
Former Principal and Superintendent, Gainesville, GA City Schools; National Dropout Prevention Network Specialist
“In this book, Dr Richards provides a comprehensive guide for instructional practices. The book contains seven concise strategies for improving learning experiences. This book recognizes the many responsibilities for which teachers are faced and provided practical solutions for improving the learning experience. Continuous improvement is always appropriate as it pertains to teaching and learning and this book provides a thoughtful framework for improving instruction.”
Morris Thomas, PhD, PMP
Director, Center for Excellence in Teaching, Learning and Assessment, Howard University, USA
“The handbook is excellent for working with students of diverse backgrounds. It offers valuable resources that will help administrators and teachers develop inclusive learning environments. The guide provides educators with the strategies to recognize their students' potential, acknowledge injustice, and utilize diversity as a resource.”
James Maiden, EdD, LPC, NCC
Acting Associate Dean of the College of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability, and Environmental Sciences, University of the District of Columbia
“In this book, Dr Robinson Richards provides us with research and an insightful analysis, which outlines and helps us to fully understand the pervasiveness of the “achievement gap.” Dr Robinson Richards then goes on to provide resources and eight ingenuous chapters filled with strategies that can be used to support students in achieving at high levels. This book is a must-read for educators and leaders who continuously promote equity and the reduction of biasness in the learning environment. Dr Robinson Richards has given us a resource to ensure that the needs of all students are met.”
Gwendolyn M. Payton
Principal, District of Columbia Public Elementary School, Washington, DC
“Based upon years of research, it is well-known that a strong educational foundation is the framework for future academic success and the subsequent empowerment it brings. However, we also know that, for many children, especially those of color, or from various cultures, from low-income households, or with differing abilities, that foundation may be weak, with cracks or gaps, necessitating intervention to address the issues. Equity in the Classroom for Every Child does just that. Through its creative and easy-to-use format, Dr Richards presents 7 core values [along with suggested strategies and activities], which, when embraced and implemented by early childhood teachers, will set the stage for equity for all children in the classroom.”
Madlynn Anglin, MA, CCC-SLP
“This book targets the issues that we are facing in our schools. I strongly agree with the author about respecting students of many cultures in our classroom. I can speak on that being a student myself, and coming from Jordan, as a young child. It was hard because I did not speak English and I could not relate to my peers. The student’s culture and background should always be reflected in the classroom environment Pre-K3 -12th grade. Chapter 6, Equalizing Opportunities for Every Child, is vital to every student’s success. It is important to give students opportunities that they can relate to and individualize differentiated instruction based on the student’s needs. This book is an excellent resource to have in your class and library.”
Sana Kifafi, MEd
Early Childhood Teacher, Washington, DC
Dr Delia Robinson Richards is an Associate Professor in Early Childhood Education in the Education, Health, and Social Work Department at the University of the District of Columbia in Washington, DC, and is an Early Childhood consultant in diversity and equity topics for schools across the nation. She is a dynamic, experienced early childhood scholar who is an advocate of issues for all children, particularly as they relate to children of color. She was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to develop and implement a new Early Childhood program for the University of the West Indies at the St. Augustine Campus in Trinidad, West Indies. Her scholarship and recent research focus on children’s perception of the coronavirus, Covid-19, literacy programs in barbershops for black boys, teaching children of color, a snapshot reflection on a preschool in Florence, Italy, and integrating multiple intelligences into the school curriculum.
Equity in the Classroom for Every Child is available now in Hardback and Paperback at a 25% discount. Enter the code PROMO25 at the checkout to redeem.