There has been much discussion of the roles schools play in perpetuating racial, gender, class, sexual, age, disability and language inequalities. Issues of race and racism, in particular, continue to be entrenched in the structures of the school system. Several attempts have been made by many educators to address this inequity that prevails in public schools. While some inroads have been made to secure a certain level of equity in the public schools, concerns over racism and racist practices in the school system appear to be taking a longer time to address. Through a critical examination and review of existing literature, this article explores ways in which anti-racism and equity cantered education can help improve the teaching curriculum and development of teachers in the public schools.
The public schools behave as though racism does not exist but it continues to be evident in the structures of school system. Many Aboriginal, radicalized and ethnic minority students are devalued and usually blamed for problems they may be facing in school. Students from these backgrounds are streamed to special education and non-academic programs. It also shows that these students have the highest dropout rates in comparison to the general student population.
The public schools claim to be equitable in educating children because they have text books that portray the diversity in schools; yet equity is not integrated in every aspect of the school. The schools have increased the breadth and depth of courses in the school curriculum without significant attention to anti-racism and an equity approach to education. Some schools also claim to have multicultural policies in place and celebrate Black History month but the school curriculum tends to neglect the heritage, cultures, religions and contributions of Aboriginal, radicalized and ethnic minority communities to the society. As Gonzalez (2003) discusses, some programs such as multicultural day or week, are set aside but not fully integrated into the school curriculum. School authorities, principals and teachers continue to be predominantly White even in localities with a high proportion of peoples of colour and their pedagogical approach to learning and the school environment does not respond to the different cultures and specific needs of Aboriginal, radicalized and ethnic minority children. As a consequence, some radicalized and ethnic groups are calling for more inclusive learning environments.
However, like the previous one, this policy is a mere shadow of what was intended. Anti-racism and equity policies continue to suffer a deliberate setback because the school system has not found a systemic way to enforce anti-racism and equity policies.
Race is a significant principle of social organization and identity formation. Race mediates and revolves around every aspect of our lives. In other words, race dominates every aspect of our lives, e.g., socially, politically, and economically. That is why anti-colonial discourse “forwards a notion of critical gaze that which could be maintained on any single category such as race, class, or gender, at the ...