What do educators mean when they talk about equity? Joseph Davis, Ed.M.'00, Ed.D.'08, superintendent of Ferguson-Florissant Schools in Missouri, has some thoughts.
"Often we confuse equity and equality," he says. "I think we need to be clear about — when we're talking about equity — what kinds of things we are referring to."
For Davis, a North Carolina transplant who joined the Ferguson-Florissant Schools in the wake of the turmoil surrounding the shooting of Michael Brown, that means ensuring that, starting at a young age, students get the access to all the supports necessary to be successful in their education.
Schools should ask, Davis says, "What kinds of things are in place for students early so that we can create the kind of environment where all kids — and all means all — get access to the kind of learning that gets them an equitable opportunity?"
Visiting HGSE last fall for the Askwith Forum, Everybody's Talking about Equity, But Nobody Knows the Meaning of the Word, Davis discusses these questions of equity with the Harvard EdCast, and examines the foundational role of schools in a community under the national spotlight.
The Harvard EdCast is a weekly series of podcasts, available on the Harvard University iTunes U page, that features a 15-20 minute conversation with thought leaders in the field of education from across the country and around the world. Hosted by Matt Weber, the Harvard EdCast is a space for educational discourse and openness, focusing on the myriad issues and current events related to the field.