Q: How can I teach about gender equity when my students insist it is no longer an issue? They point to “women in science” programs and other initiatives as evidence that this problem has already been addressed.
Ask your students what they would expect to see in a society that is completely equitable. Prompt them, if necessary, to consider wages, political and business leadership and childcare responsibilities. Be prepared with data to show that gender equity has, in fact, not been achieved. Or, if your students are old enough, ask them to research and report back on these topics. Be ready to acknowledge a shifting paradigm, though: Today, women outnumber men in college, and the gap is especially wide in communities of color.
Try to offer honest opportunities for students to reflect on the gender inequities they’ve seen in their own families and communities, and help them to focus on the need to ensure equity for all people who have been historically disadvantaged.
Remember, too, that most students have been exposed to limiting messages about what it means to be a woman or what it means to be a man. See our publication, Gender Doesn’t Limit You, at tolerance.org for ideas on how to enter into the discussion.
Q: Does the fact that Teaching Tolerance aligned Perspectives for a Diverse America to the Common Core mean that you endorse the Common Core?
No. Teaching Tolerance provides practical and useful tools that teachers need. With the Common Core adopted by more than 40 states, millions of teachers need their materials aligned to these standards. By aligning Perspectives to the Common Core, we’re meeting teachers where they are and making it easier for them to use the curriculum.
We built Perspectives using backward planning to meet the goals and objectives of solid literacy instruction. The modular design allows all educators to incorporate sound, research-based practices into their curricula. Perspectives provides options for instruction in writing, speaking and listening skills, vocabulary development, reading comprehension, civic engagement and social action. The broad literacy underpinnings of the curriculum make it useful for any teacher, anywhere, regardless of Common Core adoption.