Thursday, December 15, 2016

Equality vs. Equity?

Recently I came across this comic, and I found it to be really helpful... 
until it led to me wonder if our school had been named after the wrong word.

Image result for equality equity comic

Our school was named Equality Charter School after we coined the phrase, "We provide equal access to high quality education for all scholars." I did not choose the name myself, but I endorsed it without question. And I did not evaluate it as closely as I should have at that time. The definitions of the words EQUALITY and EQUITY above make it seem that EQUALITY prevents scholars from reaching the same outcomes, and I do not agree.

I believe in SAMENESS in regards to giving all of our scholars the same opportunities. It is not for me, or any other educator in our building, to limit a child from opportunities. It is not for me to decide that the scholar needs a different sized box just because, from my perspective, he/she seems to need a taller box. Who am I to decide? Instead, I hope we can teach scholars to learn about themselves and learn to advocate for what they need and not look to others to judge and decide for them. 

In the comic above, is it for me to decide that the shortest child needs a taller box to stand on? By doing that, I have already decided that there is no way he will accomplish the feat of looking over the fence unless I provide something to him. Maybe he will surprise us all and build a step stool to reach that goal himself. I have been surprised by our scholars time and time again, and those are always the most rewarding times as an educator.

And I also believe in FAIRNESS in that we give each scholar what he/she needs to reach the same outcomes. So maybe both words are appropriate in their own way, and without one, the other would not be as effective. 

So both words are appropriate and important to our school's philosophy, but after further evaluation I can sleep soundly with the name EQUALITY (Phew!)...

Caitlin Franco
Executive Director & Founder

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