How Does Equity Differ from Equality in Education?

Data from the National Center for Education Statistics paints a picture: students from low-income families are significantly less likely to graduate from high school in comparison to their more affluent peers. This highlights a deep inequity in the American educational system. Equity, in contrast to equality, aims to level the playing field by recognizing and addressing the unique challenges different groups face, ensuring that everyone has the resources and support they need to succeed. This might involve providing additional academic help, tackling implicit biases, or offering targeted financial aid. While equality provides the same resources to all, equity acknowledges that some students need more help to reach the same finish line. This approach is crucial to dismantling systemic barriers and creating a just education system where every student, regardless of background, has the opportunity to thrive.

The distinction between the two concepts lies in acknowledging that not all students start from the same place, and therefore, treating them equally may not result in fairness. Creating a fair and just learning environment requires a focus on equity, where resources and support are distributed based on the specific needs of individual students.

What Is Equity?

Equity promotes fairness and justice by recognizing that people start from different places and face different challenges. This means providing proportional, rather than simply equal, access to resources and opportunities based on individual needs and circumstances.  It recognizes that people have different starting points and challenges and require different levels of support to reach the same goals.  Equity advocates for those who have been historically disadvantaged, such as marginalized communities and individuals facing systemic barriers, and aims to achieve fairness in treatment and outcomes.

The Goal of Achieving Equity in Education

Achieving equity in education requires a multi-faceted approach. The first step is addressing resource allocation, ensuring that all schools receive adequate funding and resources, regardless of their location or student population. This may involve implementing policies that redistribute resources to schools in high-need areas.

Providing targeted support and interventions for students who are at a disadvantage is essential. This may include additional tutoring, mentoring programs, or specialized services for students with disabilities or English language learners.

Understanding Equality

Equality is a fundamental concept that lies at the heart of social justice and fairness. It guarantees that everyone is treated with the same respect and dignity, regardless of their background, identity, or circumstances. To achieve true equality, it is important to understand its different aspects, including social, economic, and political equality.

What Is Equality?

Equality involves ensuring that all students have the same rights and opportunities, and it goes beyond simply treating everyone the same way. This is where the difference between equality and equity comes into play; while equality focuses on fairness, equity aims to address the specific needs of different individuals to achieve fairness.

equality definition

The Concept of Equal Opportunity in Education

Equal opportunity in education means that every student should have access to the same resources and accommodations in their learning environment, regardless of their circumstances. Students with disabilities, different learning styles, or socio-economic disadvantages should receive the support they need to succeed academically. There are many barriers to achieving equity in education, such as inadequate funding, lack of access to technology, and prejudice or biases. 

Limitations and Challenges of the Equality Approach

The equality approach is limited in what it can achieve because it ignores various barriers to true equity Treating all students in the same way without addressing their individual needs can hinder their academic success. Students from low-income families may require additional resources and support that are not provided in a one-size-fits-all approach. Students with disabilities may require accommodations or modifications to the curriculum to fully participate and succeed in the classroom.

This equality approach may overlook students’ diverse backgrounds and needs, impacting their ability to thrive in the classroom. Students who are English language learners may need specialized instruction to access the curriculum, and students from non-traditional family structures may require additional support and understanding.

Diverse students

By not addressing these individual needs, the equality approach falls short of promoting equitable educational opportunities for all students. Overcoming these limitations and challenges requires a shift towards an equity approach that recognizes and addresses the diverse needs students possess and the barriers they face in the educational system.

Using Edtech to Improve Equality and Equity

In the pursuit of educational equality and equity, innovative platforms like play a pivotal role. Let’s Go Learn recognizes that achieving true equity in education requires acknowledging and addressing the unique challenges faced by individual students. Let’s Go Learn’s system uses diagnostic data with Artificial Intelligence (AI) to assign specially designed instruction (SDI) that addresses each student’s learning gaps. With a few clicks, teachers can assign our built-in formative tests and assessments to individual students at regular intervals. By providing personalized learning experiences tailored to each student’s specific needs and abilities, LGL reduces inequality so that all learners have equal opportunities to succeed academically.  This personalized approach is essential in promoting equity in education because it makes sure that every student receives the support they need to thrive, regardless of their background or circumstances. From targeted interventions for English language learners to specialized programs for students with disabilities, Let Go Learn empowers educators to meet the unique needs of every learner, promoting fairness and inclusivity in the classroom.

Let Go Learn exemplifies how technology can be harnessed to promote equity and equality in education. By providing personalized learning experiences and targeted interventions, Let Go Learn empowers educators to meet the diverse needs of every learner, creating a more inclusive learning environment where all students have the opportunity to thrive.