Equal Educational Opportunity Act
The Equal Educational Opportunity Act (EEOA) is a United States federal law that was passed in 1974. It prohibits discrimination against students, faculty, and staff in public schools based on race, color, national origin, or gender. It also says that a school district in which discrimination occurs is responsible for working to end it. When writing a research paper on the EEOA, many approaches can be taken. Paper Masters recommends that you overview the history of the act. This act is different from the Brown vs. Topeka School Board decision of the Supreme Court, which ended the era of “separate but equal” schools. In this case, the law includes language specifically outlawing racial segregation and the kind of busing that led to the Brown case, but it also required more active measures from school districts. For example, if a student did not speak English, schools had to provide extra education for that student to make sure he could learn English and/or learn some of the regular curriculum in his native language. Immigrant parents had to be able to get information about the school and their student in their own language.
Equal Educational Opportunity Act and Schools
The key phrase concerning the school districts’ responsibility is that they must take “appropriate action” to ensure each student has the same opportunity to succeed. “Appropriate action” can be interpreted in a lot of different ways. Most courts have held that the phrase mandates bilingual education. Also, children of illegal immigrants must receive equal educational opportunity regardless of their citizenship.
In summary, the three items that every school must have in place in order to comply with the EEOA are:
- Educational theory and principles of the school must be sound.
- A "reasonable" calculation of implementing educational theory effectively, in other words, an action plan must be in place.
- In an appropriate time-frame, a trial run of the program should be evaluated to determine the results of whether language barriers have been overcome.
The goal of education is to offer opportunities to every member of society. In theory, at least, education is the great equalizer. Students who might have economic or social disadvantages can at least minimize these differences through education. Education will give them the freedom to gain economic stability, security, and respect. This benefits the individual, as they can gain a measure of success and self-respect, and also the greater good, as this person will be paying taxes to support further educational efforts and will not be a burden to society.
Equal Educational Opportunity Act and How It Relates to Educational Goals
In a more humanitarian vein, every child has potential, and every child is capable of finding success in school. It is the teacher’s role to find this potential and then nurture it to promote maximum growth. Without education, the potential in these children may be lost forever. This is certainly true for those children whose family lives are not optimal. These children need the comfort and security of school and the motivation and belief in oneself that a good teacher can provide. Otherwise, what will become of them? Who will be there to help them if not a teacher, when parents are either unwilling or unable? Except for family, no other institution is as influential as school, especially in elementary school. The younger the child, the greater the impact on emotional growth and development. School helps to shape lasting impressions they will carry with them for the rest of their lives.
The EEOA recognizes that the subject of English is one of primary importance. In the early grades, teaching students to read and to speak properly are the mechanics by which they will navigate their entire lives. Academic success in other areas cannot occur without a solid grasp of reading and writing articulately. Furthermore, reading a wide range of literature will expose a student to different cultures, different experiences—different worlds. “Reading should also teach children about the history, beliefs, and aspirations that we Americans hold as people”. Broadening one’s cultural horizons is possibly the most important lesson literature teaches. A student with such exposure to different cultures and backgrounds may have a more well developed sense of empathy, which is essential to getting along with others. Furthermore, the development of empathy and other such social skills are critical to success in life in general. Put in these terms, it is easy to see how the teaching of basic English skills and the appreciation of literature are one of the most important lessons a school, and teaching can impart.
There are many instructional methods that may be useful depending on the student and the lesson. Direct vs. indirect instruction are two of the main categories, however, some methods may blend elements of each. Direct teaching has always assumed a prominent position in any curriculum, as many states now have standardized tests and specific targets students are expected to have reached. Direct teaching is very efficient at teaching these specific tasks. However, a classroom that relies only on direct teaching may be very dull indeed, especially for the earlier grades and probably is not always the most effective method. Cooperative learning is based, in large part on Bandura’s theory of social learning, meaning students may learn more from peers who are a step ahead of them developmentally than they will on their own. Interactive learning is always important, as discoveries made by individual students make a bigger impression than lessons merely taught. A student conducting his/her own science experiment will learn the concepts much more effectively than is the lesson is given as a lecture. It is important to combine instructional methods and use whatever one will impart the lesson the most effectively. Sometimes this will mean switching back and forth between methods. Teachers need to be comfortable and competent with different teaching methods, as these will need to be employed at different times and for different lessons.
Student assessment for the effectiveness of providing equal education as mandated by the EEOA is obviously very important—how else will we know if our teaching is effective? Standardized tests, skills tests, placement tests—these are in place by state and federal governments to ensure students are learning. However, an important measure of success in school is—Is the student enthusiastic? Do they enjoy school? While not easily measured, fostering a lifelong love of learning in general is perhaps the most important lesson an excellent teacher can impart to his or her students. These students will possibly take that curiosity and enjoyment of learning and apply it to all areas of their lives. Perhaps one day it will be these students who will go beyond what is conventionally accepted and make contributions in the arts, sciences, medicine, etc.
Classroom management is a skill necessary for all teachers. Learning cannot occur without a disciplined classroom and clear expectations of students. A disciplined classroom will hopefully develop self-discipline in its’ students, and self discipline is generally accepted as being the key to personal success. The disruptive student needs to understand that his/her actions have consequences, but so do the students who are performing well. Rewarding good behavior and sincere effort will go a long way towards fostering a love and appreciation for learning.