Decoded: Equity

Is it us, or has the word equity eclipsed equality? Surely, they seem the same, but the difference is what makes both matter to reform of any kind. 

Equity (n) : the quality of being fair and impartial OR giving more to those who need. 

Equality (n): the quality of sameness or equal value. 

We prefer liberation over the two, but the only way to attain any of these ideals we must possess radical solutions. The opportunity gap is the term that is being used interchangeably with the achievement gap, but the latter is just an offset of the former. Opportunity gaps describe the disparity in access to quality schools, resources, and cultural capital between the increasingly wealthy and and increasingly impoverished in America. While citizens of minority status and inhabitants of  rural areas face the most dire gaps, it is crucial to acknowledge the non-redistribution of wealth as the sole reason for these gaps. While foundations and charter management organizations try to assuage the gap with charitable contributions, these efforts seldom correct the systemic pipelines that exacerbate the opportunity gap. 

Some urban schools, like the academy I attended in Harlem, exemplified this trend while I was a student there. My principal afforded his students high-quality and high-expectations and a plethora of out of school opportunities that changed my life. I traveled to Japan, learned two languages, learned Entrepreneurial Mindset, went to Summer College, and created great associations with education and school that continues to fuel my passion for its ameliorative and transformative effects. He went out of his way to ensure he met the right people who could pay for his students to have the same things that students out in Scarsdale had. Fortunately, for me, the hard work of my principal and Upward Bound coordinators to fill the opportunity gaps I had as a low-income black student from Harlem changed my life and trajectory. 

I know for a fact that quality out of school and extended learning time can be more than just test prep. It is crucial time for students to explore what learning feels like uninhibited and free. We want students to be curious lifelong learners, but they must have the right opportunities to be curious and learn their way. 

Jessica SimoneComment