It appears as one of the goals in Act 46: “provide substantial equity in the quality and variety of educational opportunities statewide”. To me this does not mean that every student receives the exact same things, but rather that each student gets what they need to be successful.
The Vermont Superintendent’s Association (VSA) and the Vermont School Board’s Association (VSBA) recently held a 2-day workshop where participants discussed equity and its role in education. That group developed the following definition:
Educational equity means that each and every student receives the resources and educational opportunities they need to learn and thrive.
- Equity means that a student’s success is not predicated nor predetermined by characteristics such as race, ethnicity, religion, economics, class, geography, disability, language, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or initial preferences.
- Equity means that every school provides high quality curriculum, programs, teachers and administrators, extracurricular activities and support services.
- Equity goes beyond formal equality where all students are treated the same. Achieving equity may require an unequal distribution of resources and services.
- Equity involves disrupting inequitable practices, acknowledging biases, employing practices that reflect the reality that all students will learn, and creating inclusive multicultural school environments for adults and children.
The Lake Region Board held a Board retreat on January 29th during which they explored the Board’s role in assuring equity in education. Some points that were debated included:
- Do our ideas of what is equitable change depending on our point of view (parent, student, educator, Board member)?
- How do we balance providing equitable opportunities with being financially responsible?
- How do we ensure that our implicit biases don’t get in the way of equity?
Equity is also embedded in our OCSU mission and vision:
All of our students will have choices for success throughout their lives.
It is the mission of the Orleans Central Supervisory Union to provide an environment that celebrates diversity and creativity, promotes inclusion and integrity, and partners with parents and community members to give students access to a 21st century education.
If we focus decision-making on our mission and vision, and if we understand the differences between equity and equality, we can work towards providing equitable opportunities so that all students truly will have choices for success.