"Equity is an operational principle for shaping policies and practices which provide high expectations and appropriate resources so that all students achieve at the same rigorous standard--with minimal variance due to race, income, language, or gender." (Hart & Germaine-Watts, 1996)[3]


Equity in Education

Equity in Education is a principle that guides policy and practice holding high expectations and providing appropriate resources so that all students can achieve at a rigorous standard.  Equity is not a zero-sum scenario, where an advantaged group or person will become “less than” if a disadvantaged group is given more, nor are equity and excellence in competition with one another. Rather, “the highest level of excellence will actually be obtained through the pursuit of equity” (Blankenstein, Noguera, Kelly, 2016, p. 5)[1].


Why is Equity important?

In addition to being a moral imperative to assure that every student receives what he/she/they need to succeed, when the root of inequity is not addressed by schools,  students are left to face an ever-widening equity gap. This gap, seen through the lenses of inequity, results in racial/ethnic disproportionality in achievement, disproportionality in discipline, disproportionality in graduation, and disproportionality in special education identification and placement. The challenges students face at school extend beyond the classroom door. Barriers to education due to racial or ethnic biases can limit college or vocational choices, lead to large gaps in earnings, and impact how people participate in our society. But, “…advancements in educational opportunities that have helped to eliminate structural barriers related to race, gender, poverty, and learning differences have benefited our entire society” (Blankenstein, Noguera, & Kelly, 2016)[1] because “it has allowed our society to move closer to living up to its democratic ideals, and it has increased the number of people who are able to participate fully in our society as genuine enfranchised members” (Katznelson & Weir, 1985)[2]. As Blankenstein, Noguera, & Kelly (2016)[1] write, “…it is in our common interest to ensure that all young people receive an education that allows them to cultivate their talent and potential.” (p.7). When students are viewed as individuals and given the support they need in order to achieve their personal best, all students can succeed.


What can be done to address inequities?

This resource site was created to address inequities in school climate, school culture, and educational outcomes. With this in mind, the IDRC has developed tools and resources, cultivated bibliographies, and offers technical assistance to corporations as they address sources of inequality, including those that are rooted in existing policies, practices, and procedures. These resources address specific issues related to culturally responsive change, and offer practical, evidence-based solutions that LEAs can implement for long-term change. The following topics support this work:

  • Using Data for EquityThis section explains how school corporations can use disaggregated data to close gaps in policies, practices, and procedures.
  • State Guidance: The IDOE examines how school corporations determine special education eligibility. State standards for determining disproportionality are described. School corporations will find best practices on refining identification processes, including move-ins and racial disparities in identification.
  • District Support: School corporations must take the time to identify the root causes of inequality in their schools before they can implement changes system-wide.  Best practices for identifying root causes, as well as implementing change, can be found here.
  • Tools and Resources: This section offers a myriad of tools, bibliographies, and webinars that will support districts in the following areas: Data, Identification of Root Causes, School Discipline Disparities & Behavior Management, Culturally Responsive Practices, District Leadership Team Building, Building Community Support, Specific Learning Disabilities, Monitoring Progress, Pre-school resources, School Improvement & Accountability


[1] Blankstein, A., Noguera, P., Kelly, L.  (2016). Excellence through equity. Five principles of courageous leadership to guide achievement for every student. Alexandria, VA, ASCD.

[2] Katznelson, I.  & Weir, M. (1985). Schooling for All: Class, Race, and the Decline of the Democratic Ideal. New York: Basic Books, Inc.

[3] Hart, P., and Germaine-Watts, J. (1996) Is Racial Integration Essential to Achieving Quality Education for Low-Income Minority Students, In The Short Term? In the Long Term? Poverty and Race Journal. Washington, D.C. The Poverty & Race Research Action Council (PRRAC).

We do well when we all do well.

Eleanor Roosevelt