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Letter: Equity versus equality

The Forsyth County News did a good job covering the school board meeting May 18.

Watching the YouTube version of the meeting made clear that words were being misused by the speakers.

Equity, of course, now means equal outcome. That is not really how most see the school district’s diversity, equity and inclusion policy. What most of the speakers were promoting was equality, a very American value.

The school district is saying it will treat all students the same. Jeff Bearden, the superintendent, said in an op-ed piece in the [May 15 edition of the FCN} said that “With our growing diverse population of students and families, the accreditation team recommended that we create a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Plan that would ensure that all FCS students and families had a sense of belonging, respect and acceptance in our schools and in our community.” It seems the accreditation team also does not fully understand the modern sense of equity. Neither do current dictionaries.

According to one online source, equity has its modern roots in the United Nations and “. . . equity  should  be  measured  according  to  outcomes, or  the  results  of how groups of people actually fare in life. Either way, an equity approach entails addressing the specific deprivations of the most marginalized in societies.” 

If the school district gives every student the same grades on their report cards, that’s equity. If the school district gives students what they earn on their report cards, that’s equality.

So the school district policy should be relabeled diversity, equality and inclusion. Officials also should rethink their commitment to diversity. Coaches, choir masters, driving instructors, employers and even military officers strive for uniformity and not diversity. I haven’t seen anything that shows diversity is more productive than uniformity in achieving goals.

Jay Brodell

Forsyth County