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14. Equity & Equality pt. 1 - Language

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Hello everyone, welcome back to school. Today is Monday, January 4th, 2021. It’s 2021 people, WE MADE IT!!! Holla. Nope. That is too old no more with the “Holla”. We’re moving on from Holla. We’re moving to, Boo-ya! Nope. No, we’re not. We’re just moving on. But first, let me tell you something. It’s Monday January 4th for you, if you are listening to this, but it’s not actually Monday January 4th for us, it is actually Tuesday December 15th, 2020 while we are recording this. So essentially, this is a transmission from the past. A “last call” from 2020.

What that means is we don’t actually know what has happened between Tuesday December 15th 2020 and Monday January 4th, 2021 because for us, it hasn’t happened yet. But we can guess. President Trump, in a moment of self-reflection and social awareness realized that he was jeopardizing our democracy by making up lies about the election, in order to protect his feelings. And in the spirit of democracy, he chose to concede that he in fact lost the election. It was nice that he graciously encouraged his supporters to focus on their feelings of loss and not on made up stories of theft.

It was wonderful that he invited Joe Biden to the White House for a holiday meal and when they appeared together on the balcony and raised their held hands for us to see the unity, it healed our national political divide. And that’s how we can be here today, in refreshed spirit and renewed energy to begin the difficult task of working toward a new National Equity and Equality. We are lucky people.

Very lucky. Did you see how close we were to having so many Americans prefer a tyrannical monarchy over our own hard fought representative democracy? Scary. I’m glad all those folks can now, without irony celebrate the fourth of July. Mr. Manzo said he was very worried that his home state of West Virginia wouldn’t be able to play that Lee Greenwood song, if those shenanigans hadn’t stopped.

So things are going well. We are ready to begin our January SEL theme of Equity and Equality. This is the beginning of a series of episodes 4 about equity and equality in January, 4 about resources in February, and 4 about resilience in March. So, you’re going to want to pay attention to these now because they build.

And there’s no better way to begin this sweep of learning then by starting with some basic definitions. In fact, that’s pretty much all we’re going to do today, define our terms. Let’s start with the very basics. Equity and Equality. In simplest terms for school, equity means fair and equality means same.

Equity can be thought of as fair. Equity can mean fairness or being treated fairly. People really like to be treated fairly. In school you may hear equity when people are talking about educational justice. You may also hear people talk about Social equity. Social equity is concerned with justice and fairness of things in our community. Things that are fair are equitable. Things that are unfair are inequitable. Equity is necessary in order to have a free society.

Equality means "the state of being equal." Equal is when things are the same. You can make a lot of connections to the word equal in school. For example, in math you may use an equal sign, you may work an equation. You may work to prove your equation is equal on both sides. That means they have the same value. You will also hear the word equal when you learn about American history. Many people in our country have fought for and many have given their lives to make sure all people are treated equally. They have worked for equality. Like racial equality, gender equality, or equality of opportunity between rich and poor. These things are often associated with progress toward that ideal of everyone being truly equal.

Equality is ensuring individuals or groups of individuals are not treated differently or less favorably, based on their specific protected characteristic, including areas of race, gender, disability, religion or belief, sexual orientation and age. Equality is necessary in order to have free society.

Equality and equity are both necessary in order to have a great learning community. One thing we will also talk about is something in schools we call differentiation. That’s a big word that basically means, sometimes in schools, for things to be fair for all students some may be treated differently, however, when you see students treated differently that can feel unfair. Boom. Mind blown!

That is a paradox. That is what we, this podcast, call in schools the Differentiation Paradox. A paradox is something that appears contradictory. As in the goal in schools is to ensure learning for all students equally and equitably. However, sometimes in order for things to be equitable they are not equal and sometimes when things are equal, they are not equitable and yet that is sometimes that is what is best for students.

Here’s another example of a paradox. Supposed you asked Rick Astley to give you a copy of the movie Up. Astley is never going to give you Up. By by refusing to give you up, he’d let you down. This is the Astley Paradox, and that is great way to start 2021.

Until next week, may your thoughts and feelings be with you.

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