Achieving Equity in Education


What does it mean to have equity in education? Does Equality = Equity? 

There are various meanings that can be applied to equity in education but some fundamental characteristics are shared. Gender, social and/or economic circumstances, ethnicity, and family background among others should not pose as obstacles to achieving potential. The characteristic of fairness is an important aspect to equity.  With that in mind, it should be noted that equity and equality are both important but are not the same. We can talk about equality in terms of funding or access to resources, for example. However, students at a disadvantage might need more in order to have an 'equal' and level playing field.


What factors are important when discussing access to an equitable education?NEA Today

 Image courtesy of NEA Today

Access is an important part of addressing equity in education. Access to appropriate, current technologies, good teachers, and/or funding strategies focused on students' needs, are paramount in order to embrace both equality and equity in education.  The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) replaces No Child Left Behind (NCLB) and provides an opportunity to address equity in education.

ESSA regulations, in fact, call for systems to enhance equity for underserved students by including them in school support and improvement decisions. Therefore, it is imperative that schools understand the implications of ESSA in order to build more equitable learning environments for all students.

Interested in learning more about ESSA? Download the ESSA Transition Guide



Barbra Thoeming Director of Education Strategy at Thrivist, LLC