The Difference Between Equity and Equality

The Difference Between Equity and Equality

Why equal isn't always right
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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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A Letter To My Go-To Aunt

Happiness is having the best aunt in the world.
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I know I don't say it enough, so let me start off by saying thank you.

You'll never understand how incredibly blessed I am to have you in my life. You'll also never understand how special you are to me and how much I love you.

I can't thank you enough for countless days and nights at your house venting, and never being too busy when I need you. Thank you for the shopping days and always helping me find the best deals on the cutest clothes. For all the appointments I didn't want to go to by myself. Thank you for making two prom days and a graduation party days I could never forget. Thank you for being overprotective when it comes to the men in my life.

Most importantly, thank you for being my support system throughout the numerous highs and lows my life has brought me. Thank you for being honest even when it isn't what I want to hear. Thank you for always keeping my feet on the ground and keeping me sane when I feel like freaking out. Thank you for always supporting whatever dream I choose to chase that day. Thank you for being a second mom. Thank you for bringing me into your family and treating me like one of your own, for making me feel special because you do not have an obligation to spend time with me.

You've been my hero and role model from the time you came into my life. You don't know how to say no when family comes to you for help. You're understanding, kind, fun, full of life and you have the biggest heart. However, you're honest and strong and sometimes a little intimidating. No matter what will always have a special place in my heart.

There is no possible way to ever thank you for every thing you have done for me and will continue to do for me. Thank you for being you.

Cover Image Credit: Pixabay

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Things I Miss Now That I'm Home From College Again

There are so many reasons to be glad that the school year is over, but if you've done it right... there are a lot of reasons to miss it too.

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So, school is over now and I've come home. As expected I was so relieved at first. No more showering with flip-flops, no more listening to screaming girls running up and down the hall, and a space that is mine and mine alone. But after a week or so of being back, there are a few things I've already started to miss.

I know that not every single person has the ideal roommate but I got really lucky with mine. Coming home I was excited to have my own space, but now when I'm doing my midnight scrolling, I'm realizing that I miss being able to talk to her about the funny things I see in that very moment. Tagging, DMing, and texting her doesn't feel the same as a long night of giggles spent together.

Also, while seeing old friends when you get home is amazing, and there is always a lot to catch up on, you do start to miss your other friends too. Being in college means that your friends are going through similar things as you are all the time. You have tests together, clubs together, and sometimes you spend way too much time procrastinating together. The bond you begin to form is one you definitely begin to miss - especially when you guys don't live close off of campus.

Coming home also means you don't have a set schedule or at least not immediately. You may come back to a previous job and that puts something on your calendar, but the free time you still have during the week can be a little too much. I know I've spent way too much time obsessing over the Tati/James drama than I ever would have at school. The routine I had at school kept me busy and entertained, and I'm honestly missing it a lot right now.

There are a lot of other things to miss too - even things you thought you wouldn't. You miss the classes, the teachers, and sometimes the food. I know I miss the environment. It isn't a perfect one, but it's full of people just trying to find their way. We are all working through the roller coaster of life and we are all stuck on one beautiful campus together while we figure it all out. I miss meeting new people at the bus stops or running into old classmates and catching up.

I guess the bonus for me is that I just finished sophomore year which means I have more time to spend at school. Come senior year, I guess I'll have to learn quickly how to deal without the things I miss - and also create a schedule so I can travel to see all of my friends, but those are all problems for future me.

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