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Equal outcomes: why equity work is important.

Some people may hear the word equity and think, “This means providing different resources to people based on what they need”. On the other hand, some people claim that equity is unfair, that the concept of equity is treating people unequally in order to level the playing field. However, there are so many structural issues that can only be addressed by focusing resources directly into communities where these inequities are most present.


As you can see in this picture, the left side depicts equality. The same blocks are given to all three people, and yet the outcome is not equal; the shortest person still cannot see the baseball game. On the right side, the people are given the amount of blocks that they as individuals need in order to see the baseball game. That is a level playing field and the outcome is equal.


Take education for example. A student with two literate parents who spend time at home, and can support their child with homework, is in an ideal situation. They have learning support at home, and generally, have parents who encourage them to succeed. In another scenario, a student may live at home with adults who do not have the time or ability to support the child’s learning. In addition, the child may be raised in a situation where it is difficult to see futures beyond their neighborhood or outside of the lifestyle that they currently live in. It is not the school environment alone that impacts the learning outcomes of these two students. It is their home environment and the forms of support that are available to them outside of school hours. The second student is likely to need more external support to reach the same outcomes as the first student. That support would come through equity-focused policy and practice, thus providing different resources to each student to help them reach the same goal.

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