Flipboard EDU Podcast Episode 13: Is Equity Real?
William Jeffery / August 15, 2020
A meaningful discussion about the lack of funding and resources for schools across America requires an honest look at the role systemic racism plays in education. All too often, we hear about the need for equity as a way to rectify disparities; in reality, equity doesn’t address the core problem but rather perpetuates it. “Separate but Equal” was abolished and replaced by equity, yet minority communities still struggle 66 years later.
You may have seen the meme with people of different heights standing on a varying number of boxes so they can all see over a fence to illustrate the meaning of equity. By placing the shortest person on a higher stack of boxes, they get the same view as the tallest person in the image. While this works for physical height, the image is often used as a metaphor for addressing racial and socioeconomic inequities. This is problematic because it implies that students in low-income communities of color need more resources because they are inherently less academically capable.
Factors like gerrymandering and poverty are some of the root causes of systemic racism. Without addressing those, nothing will change. Real equality would mean that minorities and white people live in the same neighborhoods and go to the same schools with equal funding. Right now we just live in another version of separate but equal. Educators who want to remedy that look at remedying the outcomes of that situation, instead of actually changing the situation and creating justice. In that way, equity is just a Band-Aid, not a cure.
A better way to illustrate equity, designed by Tony Ruth based on Shel Silverstein’s “Giving Tree” for John Maeda’s Design in Tech Report 2019
I’ve invited Michael Moody back on the show for a discussion about equity in education, along with Knikole Taylor. Michael is the CEO of Insight Advance, an organization dedicated to improving instructional practices and students’ achievement through various strategic coaching models. He joined us for episode 10 of the podcast about Racism in America. Also for this conversation, I wanted a real educator doing the work of equalizing education, and Knikole is perfect. She’s a rockstar educator who resides in Dallas, Texas and currently works as a technology instructional coach. Knikole is an international professional development trainer, curriculum developer, speaker, and author. She is known for her magnificent Edcamp/Edtech projects that train teachers and educators virtually and in person.
—William Jeffery is curating Flipboard EDU Podcast
“Coach Jeffery” is an award-winning digital learning educator and assistant principal at Columbia High School in Texas. His tech pedagogy continues to drive him to curate educational content on Flipboard that highlights teaching strategies, edtech, and ways to improve student success. He started co-hosting the “Flipboard EDU Podcast” as yet another way to share resources with his peers.