Equity in Education
by Jim Hopkins, school board member
The picture contains the progressive view of equity in education. In the tree of knowledge,
the progressive's goal is for students to have the same opportunities meaning equal outcomes. I
prefer the traditional approach to equity where each student is allowed to excel where their
strengths take them, and the outcomes will not be equal.
Most educators support the idea of equity in education, and they agree it calls for allocating
resources proportionally to meet the individual needs of each student. But when asked what
the ultimate goal of equity is, their answer may be somewhat confusing. Equity can be
challenging to explain and implement if one does not clearly understand the concept and
how it is applied to education.
Some will say the goal of equity is to allow all students the opportunity to achieve equal
outcomes. This is a progressive vision of what our schools should be. This view
advocates for eliminating talented and gifted classes and doing away with the Advanced
Studies Diploma to achieve equity.
Others will say the goal of equity is for each student to reach their full potential. This
view is the more traditional approach and is the exact opposite of the
progressive view. The
traditional approach supports diverse course offerings, including the talented and gifted
classes, to achieve equity.
Therefore the word equity can be used to advocate for two completely opposite points of view. This
is one example of how those that want change do so by redefining a word. The
say equity in education means the same opportunities for students because it is more acceptable
to the public than equal outcomes.
What is Orange County School Board's position on equity? The school board's eighteen-page
Strategic Plan does not contain the word equity. Still, the Vision statement in the plan
says: Our Vision is "to improve the future by empowering our students to value learning,
reach their full potential, and achieve their goals." The Strategic Plan says absolutely
nothing about equal outcomes.