Education Evolving defines educational equity as each student having what they need to reach their full potential.
Our organization’s vision is that all students have opportunities for student-centered learning, which we characterize as learning designed to honor each student’s unique gifts and needs. When fully implemented, student-centered is thus, by definition, equitable learning.
In presenting this definition of equity, we recognize and acknowledge that significant disparities in educational opportunities and outcomes exist among students based on socioeconomic status, race, ethnicity, gender, special needs, English language proficiency, sexual orientation, and geography, which result from a history of systemic, economic, and political inequities.
We also recognize, as individuals and as an organization, that an important step in the quest for equity is to better understand systems of inequity—and in particular, to understand ourselves, and our own identities, cultures, and roles in these systems.
Practically speaking, our organization’s focus on advancing equity is on two levels:
- The What of Equity. We created our Principles of Student-Centered Learning, which underlie and guide all of our work, with a lens of equity. In other words, when crafting these principles we asked: what principles of a student learning experience, if present, would have the greatest positive impact on meeting the needs of all students, especially groups that have been historically underserved? For example, our two principles around the importance of positive relationships and the development of a positive identity were informed by listening to groups of students from underserved communities.
- The Where of Equity. We fundamentally believe in working with communities and not upon communities. We seek to add value as a partner with communities, through our organization’s influence in state policy and access to broader networks. In deciding where we invest energy (namely, the schools, organizations, and communities with which we partner) we will consider the extent to which they serve students who are currently not well served, in particular those groups who have historically experienced inequity.