Beyond the Buzzwords: Equity and Equality

Access to High-Quality Schools, Who We Are | 10/25/2019

Claire Bresnahan
State Operations Coordinator

If you work in education today, I’m willing to bet you have heard or used the words "equity" or "equality" recently. While it’s understandable that these words are often interchanged, there’s a key and critical difference when considering the impact on students. Equality in education means that every student receives the same.

Equity ensures that every student receives what they need to be successful, even if that varies across economic, linguistic, or racial lines.  

In the United States, educational disparities disproportionately impact students of color, English language learners, and students from lower income homes . These disparities include discipline practices, access to special education and language services, school facilities, academic programming, testing practices- the list goes on. 

Academic outcomes are based on access to a high-quality education. Access to a high-quality education is all too often extremely varied and dependent on arbitrary factors such as the language you speak at home or the neighborhood you were born in so advocates of equity propose this to be the driver in closing opportunity gaps and improving outcomes for ALL students.  

Work focused on improving educational equity is focused on  to implementing school-based, system-level and policy-driven changes to ensure that students are receiving the supports they deserve.  Those supports look different but may include access to English language development programs, funding for additional literacy coaching, increased special education services, targeted attendance supports- again, the list goes on.  

We believe a commitment to equity in education is a commitment to “ensuring all students receive a high quality, relevant education, especially those whose boundless potential is overlooked and under-tapped because of their skin color, zip code, first language, or disability.” (Stand for Children's mission statement). We will be sharing more about this topic in the coming months.

If you are interested in learning more about education equity, Teach for America has compiled many excellent resources for additional reading.

Support our work to promote equity in Colorado schools. 


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