Teacher diversity data needed to address gaps

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The newest State of Equity in Education reports call attention to the dearth of teacher diversity data that Manitoba school divisions collect and make public.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 17/03/2022 (267 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

The newest State of Equity in Education reports call attention to the dearth of teacher diversity data that Manitoba school divisions collect and make public.

The reports highlight the underrepresentation of both Indigenous and racialized newcomer educators in Winnipeg, and include calls to action to graduate more teachers from marginalized communities.

They are authored by the Winnipeg Indigenous Executive Circle and Newcomer Education Coalition, in partnership with the Community Education Development Association.

MIKAELA MACKENZIE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Heather McCormick, chairperson of the Winnipeg Indigenous Executive Circle Education Committee, speaks at the State of Equity in Education report launch in Winnipeg on Wednesday.

“A guiding principle of the report is that to improve educational outcomes for Indigenous students, they need to see themselves better reflected in the curriculum and all staff positions within the public education system,” states an excerpt from the WIEC document that was released this week.

This year’s reports, which were released 17 months after the inaugural editions were published, draw on survey data collected from six metro boards, four faculties of education, and the provincial government.

The Winnipeg School Division, in which approximately 27 per cent of students are Indigenous, is the only division that provided a 2018-19 breakdown of its school leader and teacher demographics.

Roughly 11 per cent of WSD principals, nine per cent of permanent teachers, and 14 per cent of educational assistants self-identify as either First Nations, Métis or Inuit.

The Louis Riel School Division recently implemented a workforce survey, while River East Transcona and St. James-Assiniboia have indicated interest in carrying out such surveys, per the WIEC and NEC reports.

The report authors note that Seven Oaks provided them with a workforce survey completed in 2020-21, although the division declined to formally participate in the 2021 State of Equity in Education survey. The internal data show approximately 12 per cent of employees who work in the division in northwest Winnipeg identify as Indigenous

The co-author of WIEC’s report said there is much more work to be done to improve — let alone acknowledge — the lack of representation in city schools. The collective estimates as many as 700 additional Indigenous teachers are needed to address the current representation gap.

“(Schools) have an obligation to help us move these gaps and help us have better outcomes for our youth — and that’s not to say school divisions don’t already have initiatives in place and that they’re not already doing something, but we just know that whatever’s happening right now isn’t enough and we need to continue to move forward,” said Heather McCormick, chairwoman of WIEC’s education committee, during a news conference at Merchants Corner on Wednesday.

“So I think that in the spirit of reconciliation, people should feel that they do need to participate.”

Kevin Chief, former MLA for Point Douglas, said Wednesday that WIEC continues to build momentum and will not stop drawing attention to issues of representation.

“I’ve always believed that it’s irresponsible of us to ask any young person to overcome hardship and challenge unless we can show them others who’ve done it. You simply can’t tell them. You have to be able to show them,” Chief told reporters.

Based on their student populations, Pembina Trails, Louis Riel, St. James-Assiniboia, River East Transcona, and Seven Oaks would need to hire enough Indigenous teachers to account for 7.8, 13.5, 16.1, 16.3, and 16.5 per cent of their respective staff rosters so they are proportionate.

In its new report, WIEC has proposed a detailed plan to scale up the number of Indigenous teacher candidates immediately.

maggie.macintosh@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @macintoshmaggie

Equity in Education

Maggie Macintosh

Maggie Macintosh
Reporter

Maggie Macintosh reports on education for the Winnipeg Free Press. Funding for the Free Press education reporter comes from the Government of Canada through the Local Journalism Initiative.

History

Updated on Monday, March 21, 2022 9:51 AM CDT: Adds information about Seven Oaks' survey, adds link

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