We are a Nation founded on principals of equality and equal opportunity. In 2020 an abrupt change of wording from “equality” to “equity” began to be promoted by school administrators as the primary goal for public education. Why?
Equality and equity are radically different ideas. We are a nation born of boldness and a nation conceived with imperfections. Yet, it has been our nation’s constant struggle toward equality for all, “in order to form a more perfect Union,” that has provided the impetus energizing the great social movements for abolition, emancipation, universal suffrage, and civil rights.
The purpose of equity is equality of outcome rather than equality of opportunity. Adoption of a goal of equitable outcomes is both impossible to achieve and hostile to the freedom and liberty we prize. Employing government power to produce equality of outcomes requires public institutions to treat people very unequally. Assuring equal outcomes and fostering academic excellence are mutually exclusive. Equity can be achieved by either lifting individual students up or holding other students down.
Examples abound: The Virginia Department of Education sought to eliminate accelerated math programs below 11th grade, citing “equity.” The Superintendent of Boston’s schools announced they would no longer offer high-performing newly enrolled fourth, fifth and sixth grade students advanced math classes next year citing equity concerns. The Governor of Oregon signed a law eliminating requirements for high school graduates to show the ability to read, do math, and write at a high school level; claiming it promoted more “equitable graduation standards.” In California, the state is now poised to adopt a new “Mathematics Curriculum Framework” reducing academic rigor. Proponents claim it will promote social justice.
The CUSD Board quietly adopted Policy 0415, Equity, in 2020 while we were all distracted by a pandemic. This was done absent public discussion and buried in the consent agenda. CUSD Trustees rubber stamped the Equity policy drafted and promoted by The California School Board Association (CSBA), the state affiliate of the now infamous National Association of School Boards (NSBA), that recently equated concerned parents nationwide with domestic terrorists.
Beware the changes in language around the goals for public education. Look for the meaning of the words. Most of the changes do not reflect a desire for equality of opportunity to achieve educational excellence.