Fair & Equitable Treatment of Students

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  • 0:04 Definition & Legal Basis
  • 1:33 Fair Treatment of Students
  • 3:32 Equitable Treatment of…
  • 5:30 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Yolanda Reinoso Barzallo

Yolanda holds a CELTA Cambridge, a Juris Doctorate, and a Master of Public Administration. She is a published author of fiction in Spanish.

This lesson provides you with a definition of what constitutes fair and equitable treatment of students. It also clarifies the difference between fair and equitable through examples and the relevant legal citations.

Definition & Legal Basis

Let's begin the lesson with defining 'fair' and 'equitable.' Fair treatment means people receive non-discriminatory attitudes regardless of their personal conditions. Equitable treatment means people receive the same opportunity to reach a specific objective while specific considerations are in place. 'Equitable' is not the same as 'equal' because you must make specific considerations.

In regards to fairness, which implies non-discriminatory behavior, the legal basis is under several laws, which protect civil rights. Among those laws we have:

  • Civil Rights Act of 1964: prohibits discrimination because of race, color, national origin or religion
  • Education Amendments of 1972: prohibits discrimination because of sex in education programs
  • Americans with Disabilities Act: prohibits discrimination of individual with disabilities

In regards to equity, education laws in the U.S. state the right of equal access to education. The most current law ratifies this right:

  • Every Student Succeeds Act (signed into law on December, 2015)

To sum up, fair treatment means you treat all your students in a non-discriminatory manner regardless of their race, color, national origin, sex, or disabilities. Conversely, equal treatment of students means you give everyone in your class the same opportunity to learn. The two concepts, fair and equal, are different but not separate. Thus, you not only must treat your students in an unbiased manner regardless of their personal conditions, but you also must give them all the same opportunity to learn.

Fair Treatment of Students

You're fair and equitable through certain practices. Fair treatment means you treat your students in a fair manner when your attitude towards all of them is the same regardless of who they are. This means that if you show favoritism toward certain students, your treatment is unfair. Favoritism could have a basis on students' academic achievement, class behavior, race, color, national origin, religion, sex, or disabilities. Regardless of the reasons, favoritism is discriminatory and, thus, unfair.

How to practice fair treatment: You can display fair treatment of your students through academic measures. These measures include clear task expectations, clear grading systems, and clear class behavior expectations.

Let's look at each measure:

  • Clear task expectations: You're fair when you assign homework, classwork, or any other task, and you clearly tell your students what their job is. Later, if you praise a student because he or she does exactly what the assignment demands, you are fair. Similarly, if you correct a student's work because he or she does not do the work properly or does not work, you're fair. If you refrain from praising or correcting a student because of personal considerations, you're unfair.

  • Clear grading system: You are fair when you provide your students with a rubric on how you grade and the rubric only considers the expected quality or the quantity of work students must do. When you grade work, you are fair because you adhere to the rubric and you do not let students' behavior, academic performance, race, color, etc. influence the final grade they receive.

  • Clear class behavior expectations: You're fair when you apply class rules that follow your school's code of conduct. There are universal parameters of misconduct in schools. For example, it is standard for a student to use respectful language in class when talking to you or her/his peers. Also, it is standard that the student shall not destroy school property. You're fair when you exercise your duty as a teacher and you address the student's misconduct, regardless of their race, color, national origin, disabilities, etc.

Equitable Treatment of Students

Equitable treatment means you treat your students in an equitable manner when you give them all the same opportunity in the learning environment.

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