How to Achieve Equity in Education: A Guide

Understanding Equity in Education

To achieve equity in education, we first must understand what it is. Equity is the pursuit of fairness and justice, used to create balance where there was originally imbalance. This imbalance typically exists in access to resources or opportunities. Equity in education means that all children receive what they need to develop their full academic and social potential.

Educators and students bring their perspectives to the classroom, including different:

  • Identities
  • Experiences
  • Backgrounds
  • Biases
  • Trauma
  • Assumptions

A “typical” student doesn’t exist. Each child’s set of circumstances and needs to meet their full potential are unique. With this in mind, to achieve equity in education, communities must actively work to break down existing barriers and inequalities that exist in our school systems to give students the personalized learning experience they each need to thrive.

[Link to the equity page once published – recommending to link to the first paragraph, third sentence, where “equity in education” is first mentioned OR farther down where we get into the Why]

Why Equity in the Classroom is Important

Often, schools that are a part of under-resourced areas or historically-marginalized communities don’t have equal access to scholastic resources or opportunities, creating imbalance or inequity in education. For teachers to be as effective as possible in the classroom, they need updated textbooks and technology, as well as access to enough materials for all students to participate actively.

Unfortunately, when inequity persists within a school system, teachers are limited in what they can offer their students—and students suffer the consequences. Inequity can lead to learning gaps, sliding grades, and slowed grade progression–all of which significantly impact a child education.

When students receive equitable access to educational opportunities, there is no limit to what they can accomplish, and their success in school now will lead to better student outcomes.

Ways to Achieve Equity in Education

For Educators and Administrators:

  1. Start with Yourself
    Challenge yourself to address your role in the current education system. Are you working to create a more equitable school system? Where do your identities, biases, and assumptions come into play? How can you shift your mindset and practices to ensure your students receive equitable access to education?
  2. Engage Students, Families, and Communities as Full Partners
    Each of these groups are just as invested, if not more invested, in the success of their or their students’ growth. Remember that their voices and input are valuable and should be acknowledged. Consulting each of these different perspectives, you can gain invaluable insights into creating a more equitable learning environment.
  3. Champion Equity For Your Students
    Be a leader in this area, and let your actions speak. Teach students about equity, the importance of equitable education, and how they can advocate for themselves. Share your thoughts in meetings within your school or at community gatherings to ignite the conversation about what your students need to succeed.
  4. Find Innovative Teaching Styles
    Not all students learn the same and many students learn at different paces. Some learn better online vs. offline, others need accommodations due to a learning barrier. Each student and their needs are unique. Finding an innovative approach to teaching can help ensure that students receive the best fit for their learning.
  5. Create an Equitable Classroom/School Environment
    Build a better classroom or school environment by simply listening and using that information to make changes. Even small shifts toward equity in the classroom or school can have a lasting, real-life change for your students.

For Parents/Guardians and Community Members:

  1. Start with Yourself
    Just like educators and administrators, challenge yourself to address your role in the current education system. Are you working to join or rally your community to create a more equitable school system? Where do your identities, biases, and assumptions come into play? How can you get involved and begin conversations with your children about their experiences? How can you begin conversations with your kids’ teachers and school leaders to help ensure they receive equitable access to education?
  2. Engage Teachers and Administrators as Full Partners
    Educators spend a lot of their time helping students grow. Whether that time is structuring curriculum, attending conferences to learn about new teaching methods or in-classroom instruction, teachers are committed to student success and can be a great partner in the pursuit of equity in education.
  3. Continue to Learn
    As you learn more about equity, current school system practices and policies, and how to become an advocate for equitable education, remember that there is always new information to find and avenues to explore. You can only act on possibilities and opportunities that you know exist. The journey doesn’t end, but the hardest step is the first. In reading this, you’ve taken that initial step and you can take the next.
  4. Use Your Voice
    Your voice and the voices of your children are powerful, valuable, and deserving of recognition. Be curious. Ask your students about their experience in the classroom, ask educators about the ways that they are practicing equity in their teaching, and ask how you can be involved in bringing about positive change. Attending school and community meetings can also offer an opportunity for you to speak out about the need for equity in education.

For All:

  1. Patience Is Key
    Systemic change takes time, and doesn’t happen overnight.
  2. Advocate for the Change You Want to See
    Even small efforts made consistently can make a big difference over time.
  3. You Are Not Alone—Encourage Each Other
    For all those fighting for equity in education, no matter where you are in the journey, remember you are not alone in your efforts. Encourage each other, and don’t give up.
  4. Share Your Knowledge
    Share this knowledge with those in your circles so that they can join your efforts toward educational equity for all students.

Equity in education empowers children, their teachers, and their communities to bring balance, justice, and fairness to their school system so that all students can reach their full academic and social potential.

Join our growing collective of parents and caregivers, educators, community leaders, and philanthropists dedicated to transforming Atlanta into a place where every student in every community has access to a great K-12 public education.

Understanding What Educational Equity Is and Why It’s Important

What Is Equity in Education?

Equity in education can’t be achieved without first understanding the meaning of equity. Equity is the pursuit of fairness and justice, used to create balance. This also underscores the imbalance in what people have access to from the start.

Educational inequity is the unequal distribution of academic resources such as books, technology, school funding, facilities and qualified educators. Historically disadvantaged or oppressed communities such as Black and Latinx families are often victims of these practices.

Equality vs. Equity

While both are important and deal with fairness, there is a difference between equality and equity. Equality requires that all receive the same. Equity takes this a step further by recognizing where each group started and ensuring that balance and justice is restored.

Equality in education is achieved when students are treated equally and have access to similar resources. Equity is achieved when students in marginalized groups receive the resources they need, even if they need more support than another school, so they graduate prepared for success after high school.

An Example of Equity in Education

Imagine two schools both have textbooks. On the surface, this seems fair because both possess the same type of resource. However, upon closer examination, one school has brand new textbooks while the other has 25-year-old textbooks and learning from old materials.

For there to be equity in their education, the students with old textbooks also need access to the newest ones. Learning from older materials means that students might be learning outdated information rather than a version incorporating new teaching methods and insights on making the material clearer. Access to the newest materials can give students the best shot at success in and out of the classroom, ensuring grade progression and minimizing potential learning gaps.

Using the textbook example above, if each school receives the same year textbook, all students have equality in the classroom. But, this doesn’t consider that, in previous years, students were learning from outdated textbooks. For there to be equity in their education, these students may need additional support to close the learning gap that inadequate resources created.

The Need for Equitable Education

The importance of equity in education is profound and the impact is exponential for Black and Latinx students and students in under-resourced areas.

Equitable academic outcomes:

  • Ensure high outcomes for all students
  • Remove predictability of success or failures associated with social or cultural factors
  • Discover and utilize unique gifts and talents in students

Educators in under-resourced schools have to focus precious energy and efforts on finding necessary resources to help students catch up to their thriving counterparts. When students are given access to equitable resources and opportunities, their growth accelerates because they have what they need to excel and their efforts are put fully toward learning.

How to Identify Students Who May Be Underserved

Educational inequity exists everywhere—often between different communities—but it can also exist within the same classroom. Identifying who may need additional support is the first step to restoring justice and equity in education.

Typically, historically marginalized and oppressed communities, under-resourced areas, or first-generation students have not received equitable access to education. Racism, homophobia, and other social risk factors impact whole communities—including education systems. Many schools in these areas have been discriminated against, excluding them from funding, resources and experiences.

Promoting Equity at the School and Classroom Level

Communities hold the power to affect change and promote equitable education for all students. Here are a few ways to take action:

  • Address systemic issues—recognize and spread awareness that systemic injustices exist in the educational system, and address these issues head-on.
  • Talk to the other parents in your community about what you are seeing and get their thoughts on these issues. Set up time to discuss this with your students’ teachers or administrators.
  • Address the roles of leadership and administration—school leadership can be a larger part of the systemic issues or be unaware that they exist, but as they are in positions of power and influence, they need to be a part of the solution. One way to hold your school’s leaders accountable is by attending school board meetings when they are held and speaking about the needs of your students at those gatherings.
  • Remove current barriers—create change through community awareness and school system policy changes. Use your vote and your voice to create change whenever there is a chance to vote for school board members or on policy changes at community meetings.
  • Understand how technology has a larger role in a student’s education—currently, equitable access to technology is one of the biggest barriers to student development as not every student has access at home.. Reach out to and petition school district leaders and board members to seek ways in which access to technology is available to students.

Empowering All Students to Succeed

Building an equitable learning environment empowers all students to maximize their potential, including those with diverse educational needs. Leaning into and prioritizing personalized learning opportunities can give each student the time, accommodations and resources they need to meet their educational goals.

Despite grade level, some students may have difficulty learning in certain subject areas, different reading levels or language barriers. Personalized learning and supplemental materials make all the difference for these students and students with greater needs. Allowing school leaders to have more autonomy to source the appropriate materials, resources, and training enables them to create an equitable learning environment.

Make a Change for Equitable Education

Equity in education impacts students’ academic success and entire communities alike. Equitably funding and providing resources to all schools, ensures the best possible outcomes for students and honors their unique gifts and talents. This learning environment allows educators to personalize student learning, which benefits students and gives them a more positive view of learning and their potential, shaping them into more confident and prepared adults.

Students are the future, and they deserve a more equitable and just school system. Interested in making a difference? 

Use Your Voice + Vote for Atlanta Education

Importance of Voting

Georgia’s general elections are on Nov. 8, 2022. These elections will decide races for the key positions that will impact not only our educational system but our city and state as a whole. You will have the opportunity to vote on the critical role of the State Superintendent, which is the person with the power to determine the school districts and budgets for the entire state, setting the future of Atlanta schools.

You might ask yourself, “does my vote even matter?” Of course it does! Voting is a critical way to be civically engaged and help shape the future of education in Atlanta. We believe that the knowledge, experiences, and strengths of community members, like you, are essential in building a brighter and more sustainable future for our young people.

Whether you’re the most civically engaged person or growing in your role of motivating your networks to vote in every election, not encouraging your neighbors and friends to vote comes with consequences. Two things that come to mind are A.) The continued achievement gap between minorities and disadvantaged students versus their white counterparts and B.) Ongoing income immobility. Children having access, or not having access, to education determines their future outcomes.

Additionally, you will be able to vote for U.S. Senate and House representatives, state Senate and House representatives, Georgia governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, and other state executive offices, as well as several state high courts.

Make a Voting Plan

With such an important election coming up, making a plan to vote will ensure that your voice is heard.

  • Registration
    The first step to making a voting plan is registering to vote or check your registration status. You can register online or by mail if you are eligible.

If you are already registered to vote, it is important to check your registration status to ensure that your information is still correct in the system and to know where your polling location is if you choose to vote in person early or on election day. 

The deadline to register for this election is Oct. 11, 2022. Please note, if you are not registered by that date, you won’t be able to vote in the November election.

  • Absentee Ballot Voting
    Absentee ballots are an option for registered voters who prefer not to vote in person or will be out of town on the election day. You do not need an excuse to request an absentee ballot, but you must request an absentee ballot in order to receive one in the mail.

Once you receive your ballot, you will fill it out, and follow all instructions to submit it. Your County Registrar’s Office must receive your ballot before the polls close on election day to be counted.

  • Early Voting
    Early voting helps voters avoid crowds or find a time to vote that’s better for their schedules in the weeks prior to election day. This is done in person in the same way that one would vote in person on election day. Early voting in Georgia is Oct. 17-23.

The assigned voting location for early voting may be different from your assigned location for election day voting. Be sure to check where you will need to go to cast your ballot.

  • Voting in Person on Election Day
    Voting in person on election day requires individuals to arrive at their assigned polling station on Nov. 8, 2022, to cast their ballot. Be sure to check your registration status to ensure you go to the correct polling location between the hours that the location is open.

Many employers in the state of Georgia are required by law to give you time off to allow you to vote on election day. Paid administrative leave for voting is available to employees when their work schedule does not allow them at least two hours, including travel, to vote either before or after work. Employees who are scheduled to begin work at least two hours after the polls open or end work at least two hours before the polls close are not eligible to request paid leave for voting. Administrative leave for voting is not available for voting mid-day.

Discover Candidates’ Stances and Nonpartisan Resources

Information is a powerful tool. After you’ve made a voting plan, learn more about the candidates fighting for a seat and explore nonpartisan resources to be fully informed as you cast your vote. These resources can act as a guide for you to discover who is running for each position, as well as how each candidate feels about important issues to you and your community.


The Candidates 



Look, voter fatigue is real, but local elections are just as important as presidential elections, especially with the ongoing impacts of COVID-19. Arguably, they are even more significant because the people elected are making decisions about your typical everyday operations like getting clean water to your home, ensuring your trash is collected, and in the case of children, the overall quality of schools and public education.

At redefinED atlanta, we are committed to partnering with you to advocate for an equitable public education that provides students with the knowledge and tools to pursue their passions, realize their full potential, and better their community and society. This vision is not possible without the voices and votes of our collective community, especially during such a pivotal election for our state.

Together, we can shape the future of Atlanta education for the better.