As educators, we’ve all seen the picture with the family watching the baseball game behind the fence and standing on crates high enough where everyone can see. Equality is giving everyone the same thing and promoting fairness while equity is giving everyone what they need in order to be successful. Last year, I used this same photo to explain to my trio how parenting can’t be always be equal and has to be equitable. They understood how their needs are different based on their ages, personalities, and interests. We only break the equity rule and move to equality when dealing with chocolate or Cheetos!
The Coronavirus has clearly messed up equality and equity! I am not worried about my three kids and their education as much as some other students in our district. My kids have access to stability, meals, the internet, several laptops, hundreds of books, and two parents with a variety of resources. Not all our students will have these opportunities over the next few months, yet I am expected to only offer learning which can be available to everyone.
Here we are during this uncertain time, and I am finding it difficult to know what I can and can’t offer my students without being unfair. The Matthew Effect keeps ringing in my ears. Our students won’t all get the same opportunities or experiences while learning at home. There are different rules and mandates state by state and district by district. The differences are there staring at me in the face, and I can’t change it. We sent our students home with enrichment packets and cannot enforce the work to be done. In the next state over, my niece is expected to attend online learning from 9-2 each day.
I am a firm believer in equity in classrooms, but we’re not in the classroom anymore!