It is the "in-thing" today to use the concept equity rather than equality. I have challenged this change, and received many editions of this picture as a true rebuttal. Its makes absolutely no sense to me. Equality mean EQAUL opportunity; it does not mean equal treatment. I am a huge advocate of equality; I am not an advocate of equity.
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My point is that equal opportunity may require additional treatment (more) for those who need it. The rap against equality is the fact that some people should get additional assistance (i.e. a child with a disability). I agree with this. Thus I think equal opportunity includes within it different treatment, depending on needs.
I just totally disagree with the interpretation. To me, the picture on the right – the chain-link fence, IS equality – it provides the SAME view for everyone, regardless of their size. This is equality.
Yes, this is the Francis Wardle who is passionate about increasing male involvement in our programs. I agree with you, we seem to be fixated on semantics, and are not really committed to change our field. In my view, the discussion of any kind of equality cannot occur until all the people involved in our field are paid an adequate salary and receive adequate benefits, including continual free in-service training. All other issues pale in relationship to this one!
The very reason why I believe equal pay is central to any discussion of equality in our field is exactly because the majority of people in our field - who don't even get paid as much as workers at McDonalds – are women! To make it a gender issue misses the point! Women, who are often heads of households, desperately need to be paid what they are worth.
I am not sure I agree that the low pay is because its manual work. Farming is essentially manual, yet our government subsidizes farmers billions of dollars every year. My own solution to the funding piece is simple: lets subsidize chidlren and not cows!
Thank you all for sharing your personal perspectives.
Has anyone had the opportunity to read NAEYC Advancing Equity in Early Childhood Position Statement?
These are such important conversations. Conversations that we need to approach intentionally and without bias. Equal does not mean fair, it means same. If you begin to think of equality as sameness and related to the outcome as opposed to the process of getting to the outcome it becomes easier to understand that we are talking about different things when comparing the two terms. Equity is about the process of ensuring fairness by mitigating the constraints or barriers (social, educational, disability, cultural etc) faced by an individual while in the process of working toward an outcome.
Equity depends on the uniqueness of each circumstance (which is where most global policy fails). We discuss equity and social justice because research is clear that there are gaps in both opportunity and outcomes when we allow the visible and hidden barriers to remain.
To remove those barriers, we have to understand the definition of disadvantaged, which is: lacking in the basic resources or conditions (such as standard housing, medical and educational facilities, and civil rights) considered as necessary for an equal position (outcome) in society.
For example, my son recently applied to doctoral programs. His skin color states that he is white, his heritage does not. He also has a disability. He had choices to make when he filled out his application in-regards-to checking boxes that indicated disadvantages. He chose not to designate any disadvantaged indicator. He did not get interviews at his two top choices who were clear that they enroll according to indicators such as ethnic background, gender, and economic disadvantage. He understood that he is not economically disadvantaged (although will owe money when he is done). I knew that he could have marked 2 of those boxes in a self-serving effort to take advantage of a social policy that has over-reached in many ways. He knew that there were other students who needed to designate disadvantaged more than he did or they would never realize their dream. He made an informed choice not to check those boxes.
I recently listened to a speaker on anti-bias education who was by their own report raised by two educated professional parents and who by admission could afford to pay for college. The speaker was bi-racial and shared that they were fortunate to be able to check the box that provided a free education. That to me is where policy has over-reached. The speaker being educated for free was not equity, nor socially just, I would argue that it was instead privilege by definition. Had the speaker done as my son had, using a three-pronged test, there would have been a student who could not afford to attend who would have been provided the same opportunity.
Until we all understand that just because the box is there to check and we can benefit from our history by checking that box while knowing that we don't need to check the box to obtain the same outcome we will never be within the intent of the definitions.
One of our students is blind, in a wheelchair, chooses the pronoun "hen", and is bi-racial. The reality is that there are outcomes this child will likely never be able to achieve. This child will not be able to be the center on a professional basketball team unless medical research eliminates the barriers presented. This child could be president though. This child will always need a building that is completely accessible (hard to find). Here in the northeast, when it snows and the streets are plowed, they do not universally remember to clear the curb cuts, eliminating access to those in wheelchairs. It is not a simplistic process. The definitions are always dependent upon each individual's needs. In the case of this child, at least today, the most significant barrier is access to the educational program and the content of the curriculum
Hello Tami,Thank you for posting a response to one of the "hot button" questions that many individuals in the Early Childhood Education field are asking, especially after the release of NAEYC's newest position statement on "Advancing Equity in Early Childhood."
As someone who has applied and completed a doctoral program, I completely understand your son's desire to attend the institution of his choice.
In regards to your statement of equating race, nationality and ethnicity to an absolute position of disadvantaged, I question if that represents a complete anti-bias rationale to your son not being selected for admission?Educational institutions utilize a multiplicity of factors in the selection of students for their programs. With the readiness and availability of technology, a profile check of an applicant's social footprint, may be included within such a checklist.While it was not his top selection, my congratulations to your son for securing entrance into a doctoral program.Best to you,
Thank you to you and Crystal for your responses. I was providing an example and apologize to anyone who misunderstood the point. I want to assure you both that there was no anger in my response. Crystal used the phrase "hot button". I am a New York State Master Cadre for Pyramid and teach as well as coach the process of recognizing, reflecting and reframing our "hot buttons". I am trained to teach and coach on brain development, trauma, the Protective Factors, Pyramid, and other areas related to early childhood. As a result, my children have lived the lessons and have been taught to reflect and reframe while considering the unknown contexts of each and every event. Pausing to do so is a powerful tool. My daughter, not surprisingly became a school psychologist and my son understands that he will land where he is meant to land to fulfill his purpose in life. He respects and is happy with the outcome but more importantly and the point I was attempting to make, understood the process.
I was not equating race, nationality and ethnicity to an absolute position of disadvantaged although I could have articulated the message better. I presented a definition of disadvantaged while also mentioning other indicators used in the vetting process. In my son's chosen profession, he does not meet the indicator of educationally/environmentally disadvantaged because he was fortunate enough not to have come from an environment that made it difficult for him to obtain the knowledge, skills, and abilities required to enroll, graduate and serve the profession.
Several of the institutions he applied to also have missions to enroll and graduate those who come from under-represented populations within his chosen profession. Some of those institutions have received grant money that demands they meet specific data points to continue to receive those grants in support of those programs. As an informed and educated consumer, we understood what all of this meant.
My point in that example was that many do not understand and it unfortunately contributes to the negative perceptions that we are trying to eliminate.
I do believe that as we try to teach what equity means, what social justice means, and what anti-bias means that we also have to teach what disadvantaged means as well as what privilege means. I believe that we have to help others understand on a metacognitive level to question, reflect, seek more information, and hopefully create positive outcomes.
Locally we have a program called "Bridges Out of Poverty". Mike Soccio, leads the work in our area. Years ago, he shared the example of physicians and clinicians at a local hospital being frustrated with parents for missing or being late for their children's appointments. A similar frustration was felt by other organizations that were in place to help these families. Those late parents were perceived as irresponsible and at times unfit. Mike set up an activity in which those physicians, clinical staff, and other community support staff had to use a stroller while accessing public transportation to get from certain areas of the city to the hospital (or other community settings). Those who did it on days when it rained or snowed had a more powerful experience bet everyone ended with an understanding of the barriers. He did not just tell the story, he had them experience the life. He facilitated powerful and meaningful change in doing so because he understood the definition of disadvantaged and made sure that others did as well. It has always resonated with me.
I have a lot of stories but will end with a sincere and respectful acknowledgement as well as an abundance of appreciation for NAEYC standing courageously for all children, families and professionals serving them.
I understand multiple contexts of inherent bias and privilege and because I do, I must acknowledge that it was ignorant of me to use the two scenarios of my son's choices and the speaker's choices as equal comparisons of choice without thoughtfully including all information. That was disrespectful to the experiences of others such as yourself and all POC. I apologize for that.
Each institution's use of the terms and criteria for consideration varied in some way. I do not disagree with the process, the grants nor the pursuit of equity. There are times there is over-reach, misunderstanding, and misapplication based on my own experiences in higher ed, advocacy, and in the equity work that I am directly involved in. No system is infallible or perfect. Through my work, I also know that there are times we are unknowingly engaging in biased practices and are surprised when the data indicates we are and that we need to change something.
The educationally/environmentally disadvantaged criteria I mentioned required that individuals must have graduated from a high school that had a low percentage of seniors receiving a high school diploma, or a low percentage of graduates attending college, or had low per capita funding or had at least 30% of students that were eligible for free or reduced-price lunches. I understand how the data is acquired, I agreed with the process, and I understood that my son was fortunate to have attended w well-funded and high performing school. Students who made it to the doctoral level application process that met that criteria had to overcome barriers to do so. I serve preschool and school aged students from urban, suburban, and rural districts who attend school in districts that meet the criteria quoted. The "Bridges Out of Poverty" program example I shared is an example of the barriers present. I can also think of a district that has a hard time finding qualified teachers and suffers constant turnover. If the students are not taught by qualified teachers and they have no lasting relationships because teachers leave, they are at a disadvantage.
Gender, was the predominate under-represented population in the case of the two schools that were my son's first choices. I have no argument with their mission nor does he. He felt disappointment because he wanted to live near his only sibling but understood that he had an incredibly small chance of being asked for interview. He also felt joy and pride in being accepted to multiple other programs in a highly competitive field. It's not about him but the example.
Today, in my program, there are some who have had to leave college because they could not afford it. There are others who have completed teaching degree programs but cannot pay the final tuition bill so cannot obtain their transcripts nor apply for certification. They represent men, women, POC and white. I'm not sure the descriptors in this case matter as much as the fact that college is hard to afford for many. That affordability prevents the opportunity of higher education and is a barrier and is the barrier that informed my opinion.
I failed quite miserably by not sharing that the speaker I referenced previously agreed with my position. In the decision-making process they experienced a feeling of guilt and gratitude. Gratitude for the right, guilt for taking what was not needed. I am not blind to the injustices that provided the speaker the right to check the box that represented that they were a POC. I do not disagree with that right. The speaker questioned their own decision to accept a free education when their financial statements indicated they did not need to and also suggested that it could be viewed as unjust and that it may have prevented another POC from affording the program. This was a conversation that was easily almost 2 hours. I applauded the courage it took to present the opportunity to discuss the situation.
I celebrate my Native American and European heritages but am not identified by either. Growing up as I did, nothing was wasted, the earth gave and could take away, and nothing was taken for granted. We never took what wasn't needed. I have read and studied history written from a non-American perspective in an attempt to better understand injustices inflicted throughout time. Yet, while my opinion is informed by my own knowledge, and experiences, whether tragic, unjust, or joyous, I can never understand what it is like to live 365 days a year or even 5 minutes as a POC.
Your statement is powerful, and it took me back to an experience that is relevant. I apologize for any emotional trigger this may cause. In the 90's we were visiting family in another state and came upon a tree that had a noose hanging from it. On that day, standing there staring at that symbol of suffering and injustice, I understood what I can never understand. I was so angry and disgusted. I naively thought I could make them remove it. Our constitutional rights said otherwise. What I was called when I demanded that it should be removed shook me to the core. In that moment of pure defeat and disbelief, I also understood the shield of privilege that I had been afforded because of my skin color. Yet, I still did not understand enough. My daughter's best friend is from that state and is set to marry an amazing man. She was the apple of her grandmother's eye until the day she informed her grandmother that the love of her life is a POC. Her grandmother's response was ugly, and her entrenched beliefs were more important than her relationship with her granddaughter. For those two young people starting their lives together to experience that deep level of hatred in this day and time is unacceptable. I can hate that our society allows this in any way, I can stand for equity, but I can never ever understand how that young man feels, or how any POC feels.
I understand that hatred against difference exists and I have great appreciation and immense respect for you flying proudly on the wings of your ancestors. The barriers you referenced are not acceptable, and we need to work to eliminate them just as we need to eliminate all of the barriers for everyone no matter the reason of their existence. Change does not come easily and rarely does it come without risk and intense emotions attached to it.
All children have a right to be healthy, respected, resilient, feel a sense of belonging, and feel safe while having access to bright futures. No child should feel less than or choose to end their life because life is unbearable. Every child has a right to be heard and valued whether they can speak or not.
I dream of the day that we realize a time when everyone treats each other with respect and when society as a whole places appropriate value on the work and the works impact on children. While we have seen progress in my lifetime, we still have a long journey ahead of us.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts, for making me dig deeper, for finding and sharing the words so perfectly that led me to reflection and for the important work that NAEYC is doing.