Equity Does Not Equal Equality

In the three panels of this image we see examples of three important concepts that should be in place in every classroom. The first panel shows equality, the second shows equity, and the third panel shows equity without the barriers of education

The first panel shows equality which is a crucial part of any classroom but just equality does not give each student the resources they need to have the same amount of success. Equality is just giving students the same amount of resources, so every student would get the same things, but not necessarily everything they need. As one can see each student gets the same amount of resources, yet some students are ahead of others. For example in a pack of wolves after they make a kill they do not give the best parts of the meat to the oldest member, they give the best parts to the young pups because they are growing and need all of the nutrients they can get. From this example we can see that even though members of a group may all need the same resource (food) some need a little more than others because of their present situation. This is a concept that is shown in our schools every day. Equality is not enough in a classroom because if a student is given the same take home experiment as everyone else, and after the experiment data entry and analysis is required, but what if the student does not have a computer? They won’t be able to get the same thing out of the activity as someone who had a computer at home.

If we were in an equitable classroom in this same situation, the student without the computer at home would have been given a computer to use so they could have the same resources as their fellow students to complete the activity. This is the essence of equity. We need to know our students needs and tailor our lesson to those needs so that each student can be their best. We as teachers need to be facilitators of learning and the first step in that facilitation is knowing what our students needs are. This video below goes into detail about cultivating equity in your classroom.

The first two panels in that first picture are crucial, and important to understand. But in an ideal world a perfect classroom would operate like the third panel shows us. My interpretation of the third picture is that students with different backgrounds are all able to cultivate the same experiences and knowledge without any barriers that effect their learning based on their own personal background. Each student in the picture is different. Without the barrier (institutional educational barriers) each of the different students is able to get the same experience and view the baseball game. This is what an ideal classroom looks like each student having the same amount of success because they are given everything in their power to learn at their best without any sort of barriers.

The three concepts showed in that first example are paramount in an effective classroom and it is important to understand the deeper meanings of each panel to truly practice the concepts shown in our classrooms. Hopefully this blog was able to give some insight into what it means to have equality and equity in your classroom, their differences and how we can give our students everything the need to be successful.

1 Comment

  1. Tom-
    The image you used was also used in several other blog posts, but I absolutely love your take on the third portion of the image (without the barriers of education). A classroom where students have no limitations–THAT is what we are looking for. And the idea that a classroom could allow students to just be who they are, without needing a boost from “boxes”…what an incredible concept. I would like to hear more ways to implement classroom activities that operate like that. Great post!

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