By: Tobi Kreifels, JLM Member
The Achievement Gap at its very core is simply “equity.” It is not an achievement gap because all of our children can achieve and they all have talents and skills, some that are recognized in standardized testing and some that aren’t recognized by standardized testing. It is sometimes called an “opportunity gap” because it really exemplifies the discrepancy of opportunities for differing cultures and socioeconomic statuses. In the end, it always comes back to the very simple and straight forward idea of “equity.”
When we are achieving equity all children don’t just receive shoes, but all children receive shoes that “fit.” When all children receive a shoe that may be equal, but when they receive a shoe that fits that is equitable. Equal doesn’t necessarily mean equitable. Children need more than just a shoe. What good is a shoe if it doesn’t fit? Children need a shoe that fits as well as an education that fits their needs.
When we discuss equity we refer to the conversation as a “courageous conversation.” A courageous conversation takes courage and the realization and acceptance that it may not have closure. Everyone might not agree, but that doesn’t mean we didn’t learn from one another. It may include a very honest conversation about the success of “black and brown children” or even a discussion on how your skin color affects your view of the world.
No matter, which way you address the achievement gap it always comes back to being equitable for all. Achieving equity should be the goal of the Junior League. We need to begin here.