Why Education Equity is Like a Traffic Jam

Education equity is crucial because it ensures that all individuals have fair access to a quality education regardless of their background. It promotes social justice, reduces disparities, and helps build a more inclusive and diverse society by providing equal opportunities for personal and professional development.

A well-educated workforce fosters innovation, productivity, and a skilled labor pool. Education equity, therefore, contributes directly to more stable families and a stronger community. This is why equity through education is so important on an individual level and a societal level: education opportunities lead to a more capable and competitive workforce, ultimately driving economic growth and stability.

Figure 1. Understanding Equity

In this graphic three people are trying to see over a fence to watch a sports game. The place from which each person begins is very different when considering height and mobility. However, one the left all three people are given the exact same or equal support, one singular box. This does not result in all three successfully viewing the game. On the right, the shorter person received two boxes stacked on top of each other to stand on, the person in the wheelchair received a ramp, and a box was given to the last person. Now each person had what they needed to successfully view the game. Providing each person what they needed was how equity was achieved.

As Figure 1 shows, we don’t all have the same history and background which means our individual needs for education success are just as varied. Unmet needs become barriers.

A snapshot of our education rankings provides evidence of unmet needs. US News ranks Arizona 48th in PreK-12 education quality. One reason might be a need for more education funding to avoid teacher shortages and decrease classroom sizes so more individualized attention is possible. School districts and communities facilitate change through initiatives. In Georgia, the National Equity Project has a goal that “every child receives what they need to develop to their full academic and social potential” (2024). Their approach is in increasing the capacity of communities to achieve enhanced social outcomes by teaching what the systemic issues are. Policies supporting education, job training, and economic inclusion can enhance the chances of upward mobility for those born in poverty.

What You Can Do to Strengthen Education Outcomes?

Remember, little actions can go a long way in paving the road of education equity in students. It involves becoming intentional about making a difference. Here are a few ideas you can consider:

Small Impactful Actions

Bigger Actions

  • Educate yourself more on equity and the specific education barriers. One way to do this is to reflect on our own implicit bias and how that impacts our views of equity.
  • Another actionable step is to engage in local elections and vote to support the policies and legislation that align with the equity framework.

In what way is education equity like a traffic jam? In a traffic jam cars progress in a stop-and-go fashion. Similarly, advances in education equity include slow and cautious advancement, navigating obstacles and finding opportunities to move forward despite constraints.

As an idea, education equity sounds so simple, but the reality is fraught with challenges. Nonetheless, a future where every child receives what they need to become the best version of themselves is worth striving for.

Written by:

Elizabeth Paulus, M.Ed

About College Bound AZ

Established in 2010, College Bound AZ has been steadily advancing as the premier nonprofit community resource, guiding aspiring underrepresented students on their journey to college through mentoring, guidance, and support.  Operating in the Greater Metropolitan Phoenix Area, College Bound AZ delivers indispensable assistance to students through its high school and college programs. College Bound AZ is a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit charitable organization and a Certified Autism Center.  

For more information, visit https://collegeboundaz.org/

Similar Posts