The Difference Between Equity and Equality

The Difference Between Equity and Equality

Why equal isn't always right

I spent most of my life believing that equality was everything. As long as I treated every person the same way, nobody could be unhappy with the results and it was all okay. Flash forward to my sophomore year of college when I became a Resident Assistant. We have extensive training covering a variety of topics, but one that stayed with me was the difference between equity and equality. So, let me explain it to you.

Equality is defined as "The quality or state of being equal; the quality or state of having the same rights, social status, etc." That sounds pretty good, right? And equality is good! There is absolutely nothing wrong with promoting equality, or in other words, fairness. But when you place equality next to equity, that's when the lines become a bit blurred.

Equity is defined as "fairness or justice in the way people are treated." You might be thinking "Oh, they're pretty much the same thing," but in actuality, they are very different concepts that cannot be accurately explained by a simple definition.

When we talk about equality, we pretty much mean that everyone gets the same thing. For example: in a classroom of first graders, if Jimmy gets thirty minutes of recess, every other child gets thirty minutes of recess (barring any disciplinary action restricting recess time). Okay, that's equal and fair. Now imagine a classroom of students with a writing test prompt in front of them. The instructions are printed on the first page of the exam, but while the majority of the class reads them, one student has a pair of headphones to listen to the instruction. This upsets one of the students, claiming it is unfair that the other student gets to listen while he has to read.

Is that scenario really unfair? That's where the difference between equality and equity comes into play. While equality is treating everyone the same way, equity is giving each person what they need to be successful. At first glance, this seems like it may be unfair, but in reality, it's moving everyone towards the same level of success. Not every person starts from the same place, nor do they have the same needs. This is most apparent in education, where different learning types (visual, auditory, tactile, etc.) are demonstrated.

In the previous example then, was it unfair that the one student got to listen to instructions while the others read them? It isn't a matter of whether the other children WANT to listen to the instructions, but whether they NEED to in order to successfully complete the exam. By allowing the auditory learner to listen to the instructions, you are giving him the same opportunity to succeed as the students who are visual learners. He isn't getting some advantage that is withheld from the others.

Another example is providing extra services in school to the students who need them, such as after-school programs, and tutoring. For example: Maddie does exceedingly well in math, while Susie struggles. Susie begins attending tutoring sessions, and after a few weeks, her math scores improve. Since Maddie does not need the extra help, Susie really isn't getting anything that Maddie doesn't already have, so it's fair. All that happened here is that the playing field of success was improved by allowing Susie to receive the extra help she needed to learn the same material as Maddie.

In case my explanation was confusing, here's a picture denoting a PERFECT example of equality versus equity:

Equality does not "level the playing field," it simply gives everyone the same thing. Equity, however, recognizes that some people have less privilege than others and therefore need a little bit more help to reach the same place. Instead of making everything equal, let's make it equitable.

Cover Image Credit: Everyday-Democracy

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Stop Saying You're a Broke College Student

I've had a job since 16, and my money life is thriving.

It's supposed to be funny when someone says "I'm a broke college student" but I think it's stupid. Here's my unpopular opinion.

I've had a job since I was 16. My first day of work was the first weekend after I started my sophomore year of high school. It wasn't too difficult- I was literally only working on Saturdays and Sundays. The shifts were 4-7:30/8 pm on Saturdays and 11-2:30 on Sundays. I wasn't making a huge amount of money, but it paid for my gas money, and that was all I needed. So the first year I had my job, I was spending any extra money I had on food, movie tickets, and clothes.

Then reality hit when I knew I needed to start saving up for college. I started putting money into my savings account, and eventually I had built up enough money to buy a new old car. I know, it wasn't college tuition, but I needed it.

My first year living in the dorms, I figured out a system. I was putting $150 each week in a savings envelope, and each month I knew I had to pay $160 for my car payment. The rest of the money I made I put in envelopes for a new purse, clothes, vacation. I had a system going, and I didn't spend extra money on useless things unless I was rewarding myself. In case you can't do the math, that's at least $600 in my savings account each month, and most people can't figure out how to put away $100.

Now, as a sophomore in college, I watch people trickle into class with to-go food, to-go coffee, smoothies, and candy from gas stations or the shops on campus. Then I hear those same people complain about being "a broke college student." I'm sorry, but you're not a broke college student. You're a college student who pays for things you don't need, with money you have that you shouldn't be spending. You don't need to get Starbucks 3 times a day. You don't have to go to pitcher night at the local bar. You don't need to spend money on those things, but you do. And at the end of the month, you're broke, and begging your parents for money.

So, in my unpopular opinion, you're not a broke college student. You're a dumb one. Make a budget, give yourself some spending money, and stick to it. You'll thank me later.

Cover Image Credit: Pinterest

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11 Tips For a Great Semester

The moment you’re ready to quit is usually the moment right before the miracle happens.

1. Have a nice workspace/desk

I recently made this change and I feel 100% better.

2. Dress well

Personally, if I go to class looking like a bum, I feel like a bum. Dress for success!

3. Go to bed at the same time every night

Getting enough rest can really impact the rest of your day. Aim to get 7-9 solid hours of sleep each night this semester to avoid accidentally being grouchy at someone.

4. What am I doing for this upcoming week?

What are my goals this week? What’s going on this week? What do I need to work on for this week? If you go into your week blind, it never really works. I’ve done this before.


5. Don’t lose your class syllabi

This one paper has literally all of the due dates, test dates, readings and homework assignments on it. Make sure you always know where this paper is because you will be looking at it constantly, so don’t lose it.


6. Ask questions

If you’re in class and you have no idea what the professor is talking about ask, or email them! It’s good to ask questions because then your professor knows you care about their class so it’s a win-win situation. You ask questions plus the professor knows you care equals good grade in the class.


7. Take good notes

I can’t tell you how many times over the past semester I would look back at my notes and what I wrote didn’t make sense. Learn what type of learner you are to figure out how to take the best notes for yourself. I either write everything out by hand which takes forever (especially when the professor flies through the lecture) or I print out the notes and just write on those papers so I can actually listen to the lecture.


8. Get some homework done in between classes

In my schedule, I have a lot of time gaps in between classes just waiting around for my next class to start. Take advantage of this 30 minutes or 2-hour gap and work on some homework. You’ll thank yourself later.


9. Don't overload yourself

I’ve made a rule with myself to only do homework Monday to Friday. That’s because if I work super hard during the week on my work then I can have the weekends off as a mental break. There are a couple exceptions to my rule like if I have a 5-page essay due Monday then yes, I’ll work on it during the weekend or if I have tests coming up the next week then I’ll be studying.


10. Don't procrastinate

If you’re avoiding something, just get it done and over with. If you have a really difficult essay to write and then a bunch of easier assignments; start with the hard assignment first to get it done. It’ll take the most time and then you’ll feel relieved when you’re done with it.


11. Don't give up

The moment you’re ready to quit is usually the moment right before the miracle happens.

Just keep going.

Cover Image Credit: Pixabay

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