The Difference between Equality and Equity

A much spoken about topic is the difference between equity and equality. Equality for everyone is giving the same benefits to everyone, but what some people do not understand is not everyone starts at the same place. This is a major difference especially in the classroom. I am an education major and when I go to a high school or middle school classroom, this difference becomes even more apparent. Students do not always get the extra help they need because the teacher responds with “I cannot give that help to all of the students”. The problem that arises from this is that the students that were behind because they needed extra help become more and more behind because it would not be “fair” to give some students that extra help and not others.

(Source 1)

Equality is where everyone is starting at the same place, which is never true. When applying for college, everyone wants an equal opportunity to get in. What changes this is that many people have access to different resources that allow them to have an advantage, such as extra SAT prep courses. Another reason that they can have a different financial situation. While some students can go to any school because they have enough money, many kids are limited in the college process because they cannot afford certain colleges. The price of college has increased exponentially over the last 10 years. I know when I was in the college search process, it was difficult for me to choose a college because I had to make an adult decision of whether or not I wanted to be in debt for a large part of my life. I ultimately went to UMass which is a state school, but I could not be happier with my choice. I know many kids when going through the college process feel the price of school is not fair, but it is equal because anyone can apply.

(Source 2)

Equity is giving people the amount of help they need to have everyone be on an equal playing field. When a student is struggling in class, sometimes they are taken out of class for extra help. This does not mean that other kids did not deserve it, but that some students needed the help more. This can also be seen through the college process. With financial aid, some students get more money from FASFA or the university itself because it is need based, and they do not give the same amount of money to each kid. Equity is giving a little extra help to the area where people need it most. Many scholarships are written as “need based” which is an example of equity, because it is giving the people who do not have as much money the opportunity to gain that money over students that do have the money. While equality is amazing, sometimes it is not the most beneficial.


(Source 3)

The first image shows equality as everyone being given the same opportunities, but they all are starting at different heights. The second image shows that sometimes students need a little more help to be on the same level of other students. And fair would be if there was no fence at all.


So, next time that you think equality for all, think about equity for all!