WHAT IS EQUITY?
Often, equity and equality are thought of as the same concept and truthfully, that couldn’t be farther from the truth. In the context of societal systems, equality and equity refer to similar but somewhat different concepts. Equality generally refers to equal opportunity or the same level of support for everyone in society. So for example, if food is given out to everyone, there is the assumption that everyone who takes advantage of such a gift will benefit the same. It does not take into account individual needs. While everyone was given food, some may not have needed it because they were able to buy it themselves while another person who received the same gift needed more because they were unable.
Equity goes a step further and refers to offering varying levels of support depending on need to achieve greater fairness in outcomes.
Equality is the effect of treating each as without difference; each individual is considered without the counting of their measurable attributes; treated as the same of those with differing attributes
Equity refers to fairness and equality in outcomes, not just in support and opportunity.
THE CASE FOR EQUITY
The rationale for policies that promote equity is that educational, economic, and social class advantages tend to accumulate and self-perpetuate. It is widely known—and confirmed by research studies—that children's performance in school and on standardized tests is strongly correlated with family income and education.
Over time, such divergences in outcomes will continue and widen and benefit those with the advantages. To prevent this from continuing and help those that need the boost most – educationally, environmentally, and economically, we need to ensure there are people and policies in place that work toward equitable solutions.