Equity Over Equality in Schools

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We need to start educating teachers and schools more on equity over equality inside the classroom. Schools need to serve individual needs instead of having a “one size fits all” mindset.

 

So what is equity? Well, in a nutshell, equity is the quality of being fair and impartial. In some ways it is similar to equality because they’re both “fair”, but when it comes down to equality the one thing people seem to forget is that everyone is getting equal treatment. Those who work faster than others still have to work at the same pace as those who don’t work as fast and vice versa; which can be precarious at times, because sometimes a teacher’s curriculum could be different than what a student is used to, or not.

 

If the school system focused more on equity, then those who were behind could really blossom and prosper just like their peers. Will it be different? Yes. But that’s what our schools need; different. Equity is vital when it comes to education because we need to make sure we’re taking care of all of our students, even those with higher needs. We shouldn’t be conforming them to these boxes and then getting upset because they’re aren’t fitting into them, it’s just not right.

 

According to an article by Beckett Haight on Think Inclusive, “Students may see other students receiving supports, accommodations, or modifications and feel wronged, not realizing that the goal is for all students to work in their Zone of Proximal Development, which ‘is the difference between what a learner can do without help and what he or she can do with help.’ Or in other words, not recognizing that the given task may not be equal, but it is equitable as both students are ideally working their hardest.”

 

In LA they’ve been pushing for better funding in higher needs schools. Because normally in lower income communities we’re seeing problems with achievement, yet we are doing nothing to fix them. Here’s what an article by the LA Times had to say, “ Board President Monica Garcia’s resolution uses elements of the “student need index,” developed about four years ago by the Equity Alliance for L.A.’s Kids, a coalition of community groups and civil rights organizations including the Advancement Project California, Community Coalition and InnerCity Struggle. Among the factors the district’s index takes into account are dropout and chronic absenteeism rates, and grades that would qualify students for admission to Cal State universities.”

 

Teachers need to take courses on this topic and look deeper into equity and how they can apply it to their classroom. Because nowadays all we’re doing is supplying these kids with the easy way out, whether they actually need the help, or just want to get by. We need to change things and shake the school system up a bit; we could really make a difference.