The topic of equity is increasingly part of the discussion around improving educational outcomes for students. Far from being a buzzword or passing trend, equity is necessary to achieve success for each student in our schools.
What Is Equity?
To understand equity, you must first understand what it is not. Equity is not the same as equality.
Equal means “same” whereas equity means “fair.” Equal is not always equitable.
Equity in education requires us to acknowledge that students come to us from various backgrounds, with different strengths and at varying degrees of readiness. What works for one student may not work for another. That is why, at ASBA, we define education equity as follows:
Educational equity is the fair allocation of resources, based on need, to address opportunity gaps and promote equal outcomes for every student.
It’s important to remember when we are talking about equity in education, we are talking about more than race and ethnicity, though that is undoubtedly part of it. We are also talking about all the characteristics, circumstances and life experiences that may lead to disparities in a student’s access to opportunities or positive outcomes.
To pursue educational equity, district leaders must first accept understand two key concepts:
First, equity work is a process, not a time-bound program. Educational equity takes ongoing commitment, time and resources on the part of school boards and district personnel.
Second, equity work is not something we do for or to our communities, but rather something we pursue alongside them. Families, communities and, yes, students, need to be part of the process. As one young person so succinctly put it, “Nothing about us, without us.”
Download a sample of the ASBA Equity Workbook here.
ASBA’s Commitment to Equity
ASBA provides district leaders with leadership strategies and promising practices for closing the opportunity and achievement gaps for all students regardless of family income, zip code, race/ethnicity, cultural background, learning disability, gender and other personal factors that impact the one million students attending our public schools.