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Equity-based education, also referred to as educational equity or equity in education, has been implemented in schools across the country to give each student the opportunity to succeed, but critics argue it is having the opposite effect.
The Western Governor’s University said that implementing equity in education means taking opportunities and resources presented to students “to turn the education system into a level playing field.”
“This means that disadvantaged students will get the support they need to become equal to students who are not disadvantaged,” WGU said in a 2021 blog post.
According to the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, “educational equity means that every student has access to the resources and educational rigor they need at the right moment in their education, across race, gender, ethnicity, language, ability, sexual orientation, family background, and/or family income.”
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The Center for Public Education draws a distinction between equality in education and equity in education, asserting the latter is achieved “when all students receive the resources they need so they graduate prepared for success after high school.”
Equality, according to the Center for Public Education, simply means “students are all treated the same and have access to similar resources.”
Alleigh Marré, the president of Free to Learn, noted that the difference between equality and equity in schools amounts to the difference between opportunity and outcomes.
“Equity and equality sound very similar, and it’s easy for that kind of thing to get lost in translation,” she said. “When we’re talking about equality, it’s each person being given an equal opportunity. Yet when we talk about equity, we’re more focused on equal outcomes.”
“Typically, the most common and externally obvious examples … is the dropping of AP or advanced classes, or changing the admissions standards,” she said, referencing MIT reinstating a requirement that applicants submit SAT or ACT scores, which was dropped in 2020.
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Ian Prior, senior adviser at America First Legal, told Fox News Digital placing a focus on equity in education manifests itself both structurally and culturally.
Structurally, Prior noted that some schools have changed their admissions policies to reduce Asian and Caucasian admissions, and increase admissions for Black and Hispanic students. Prior also noted examples of schools eliminating advanced classes or class rank to eliminate disparities between students.
Culturally, Prior said teachers have been trained in things like critical race theory “to see racism in western liberal thought – equality theory, meritocracy, [and] rule of law.”
Prior added that equity should not be the focus within the education system.
“Equity in education is socialism in education,” he told Fox News Digital. “It decreases the motivation of students to succeed because they know that no matter how hard they work, it will not help them get ahead in an education that values equity over meritocracy.”
Marré added that teachers are getting the “short end of the stick,” as many already tailor their education to each student.
“Teachers show up, they teach their class. But what’s not recognized or acknowledged is they offer office hours, they stay and tutor, they offer after-school classes or study hall sessions, or provide deeper feedback on exams for students who may be struggling. … There are a lot of tools in place,” she said.
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“I think teachers have really taken one on the chin here because personally, I recognize that many have already done that and are making these types of very specific learning changes to be able to accommodate students who may be falling behind with just sitting in class for 40 minutes,” she added.
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