Equity vs. Equality at Davidson College

It was the summer before I started my senior year at High School. I was at Davidson College for a summer program called July Experience. I was meeting with a Germany professor to ask him about my performance in the class: 

Me: Hello professor. I was wondering how can I improve my grade? I didn't do really well and I find it's difficult to learn the material.

Professor: It is not your grade that I concern since you did an average job. It is your writing. With your writing and speaking skills, I don't think that you are ready for college. I mean you can live in the U.S. but not go to school here. 

I was numb and he continued. 

Professor: Also, when other people don't understand you, it is your false. You have a problem with communicating efficiently in English. That is something that you need to work on immediately. 

First, I was devastated. I was a rising senior in high school. At that time, I have come to the U.S. for three years. When I started high school, I couldn't even speak English properly. I can see how frustrated he was with me. When I raise my hand and spoke in his class, I could see how discontent he was. He couldn't understand when I speak English with a Vietnamese accent. Though I could understand him really well even he has a strong Germany accent. Well, I still end up at Davidson and naturally, excel in the place where he assumed that I was never good enough for. 

Educational institutions and educators often misunderstand the concept of equity and equality. They often teach about inequality and try to engage their students to find solutions to combat injustice. However, they end up perpetuating inequality in their own classroom. Indeed, without equity, there is no equality. We all born with different kinds of equality. Not all students who enter college share the same level of education, background, family circumstance, environment, culture, and story. Some of the students had the privilege to go to the best boarding schools on the planet while some students went to the only public schools offer them. Some students went the public schools in their predominantly white neighborhood and received the different type of education and opportunity. Some students have parents who are Davidson alumni while others are the first-generation college students. Again, when educators and educational institutions assume that all of the students are the same, they end up teaching and helping only the elite students, not those who have overcome their limitations with persistent work ethic. 

Isn't the purpose of the education and educational institution is to provide the students the best resources and assistance they need in order to achieve their goals? If that is the case, how can professor offer to their students the best help when they assume that all students start at the same point?


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