Educational equity isn’t about forcing all students to the same destination. It’s about making sure all students have access to the educational foundation they need to reach their individual potential.
It’s a belief that is easy to embrace. It is more complex to put into action.
Too often, students who come to school with the most needs, such as students from low-income families or historically marginalized groups such as African Americans and Hispanics, get less than students from other backgrounds: less chance to be taught by highly qualified teachers, less access to rigorous coursework, less opportunity to see their cultural backgrounds embraced and valued.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. Across the country, there are schools, districts, and policymakers engaging in the hard work to transform an “equity mindset” into specific actions that affect students directly. In many cases, it means eliminating barriers that keep students from signing up for harder coursework, even if they have the grades to be successful—or looking for potential among students who might not always be picked for additional opportunities.
In other situations, it may mean connecting lessons to students’ cultural background, or ensuring that educators have broad access to professional development that helps them reach all types of learners.
Sometimes, it means owning up to past practices that denied certain students opportunities and taking steps to remedy that.
In this report, we want readers to understand not just why equity is important, but how it can be realized in specific ways, in schools and districts of all sizes.
The work is not easy, but it can be done.
—Christina Samuels, Project Editor
A version of this article appeared in the March 04, 2020 edition of Education Week as Pursuing Equity