Educational equity policies

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This article is part of the community project
Project:Asian American Public Policy
by students at the University of Maryland.

Articles are under construction until late May, so please refrain from editing until then.


Early Education Reformers

             Late 18th –Early 19th Century reformers such as Robert Coram and Horace Mann formulated the beliefs they

had about education from the problems they encountered in society.To put a definition to the term, education is the process by which a person is

intellectualized, beginning at a young age when children are merely a blank canvas, and taught writing, arithmetic, mathematics, natural history etc. in order to perpetuate the growth of the human mind (Coram). [1] One reason Coram and Mann felt that it was necessary to establish the education system was to maintain equality among the population. With a hasty rise in capitalism placing the wealthy at the top of the societal food chain, complete with advantages such as education and property, and everyone else at the bottom, depleted of clothes, food and knowledge, human rights activists such as Coram and Mann sought to eliminate these feudalistic boundaries. Education was something that was limited to the fiscally advantaged portion of society. Those with monetary benefits received even further benefits while the poverty stricken underwent further suffering.

             Horace Mann and Robert Coram, both advancers of the educational field stood for equality and prosperity of

 society. They believed that each individual deserved the opportunity for success from birth and that public education was the way to achieve this.



Educational Equity is the assurance that all students are to receive impartial treatment and access to all programs, resources, and curriculum. In addition, the atmosphere in which students are learning must encourage a positive outlook and self-esteem in order to allow each student to achieve the most he/she can while making dynamic contributions to their school and society as a whole.  There are several groups fighting for educational equity that are designed to assist the children and minorities who do not have the luxury of attaining an education that he or she is entitled to.  Some programs include the Education Equality Project and Teach for America. Along with these programs, each state has its own rules and regulations pertaining to receiving an education.

Components of Educational Equity


Students should all have access to resources and facilities.


Students should all receive equal instruction in all areas.


Students should all be provided with the same materials.


Attitudes in the learning environment should not include bias, or bigotry of any kind.


Positive interactions should be encouraged throughout the learning atmosphere. Good behavior should be rewarded and bad behavior should be penalized.


Language should express positive attitudes and proper language should be endorsed.


Treating every student equally is required. All assessments should be distributed to each student fairly. Enforcing appropriate behavior is essential in creating a safe and proper learning environment.

(The Equity Center) [2]

Current federal laws and regulations

Federal Law

No Child Left Behind:  Elementary and Secondary Education Act

Standards – Related Provisions to the Act

Generally speaking, every state needs to show a plan that students are being academically challenged and to ensure academic achievement.  

Same standards – The standards that are set academically is required to by the same for all of the schools and children in that state.

Subjects – The state needs to set academic standards for every public school and secondary schools by including math, language arts, science, and the rest be determined by the state.

The Equal Access Act is a United States federal law that was passed in 1984 to ensure that the federally funded secondary schools provide equality to all of the extracurricular activities and clubs that exist.  This was created by religious groups who felt that the option of conducting bible study programs should be available.  It is pertaining to the First Amendment, that religious activities should be allowed as an extra curricular.  

Importance of Education


            Education is an essential human right and every child is entitled to it.  It is crucial to our society that every child is ensured with the developmental skills that are retained through education.  This assists individuals in paving the way to a successful future.  It is our responsibility to ensure that children have access to education equality by race, gender, social class, etc.  By having such laws, we are improving the opportunities for generations to come.

The importance of education is clear to people all over the world. Without education, we can’t use the knowledge of each individual’s potentials to maximum use.  It is obvious that an illiterate human being will most likely not be able to use his or her maximum intelligence till he or she is educated.  The training of a child’s mind is not complete without an education.   Through an education, one is enabled to receive information from the outside world.  One learns the past history and all the information regarding the present.  A good example analogy to think about would be; without an education, one is like a closed book and with an education one finds he or she in an open book with several readers and views from the outside world.

Would you want to go to a gathering with various intellectual individuals who have received an education throughout twenty years of their lives and not want to be educated?  Based on a few opinions that were surveyed, people would not even think about stepping foot into that room.  How can one be apart of a successful working career without going through the necessary education our society offers?

In fact, a lot of good comes from education.  People do not normally take vacations without being educated.  One needs to know how to read and write to survive in this world.  Our daily activities include a background of education in them, reading the newspaper, going grocery shopping, cooking a meal, taking a bus or train, reading a magazine, paying for bills, earning an income, etc.  Without an education, all of these things would be very hard to do. 

Education Equality Project



             Education equality is so important that there is an education equality project and an education equality day.  The education equality project is designed to lead a civil rights movement in eliminating any racial and ethnic achievement gap that may exist in any public education.  They are working to enhance and ensure that every child goes to school and receives the education that he or she deserves.  There are several articles pertaining to this project and Obama, who seems to be effecting in closing the achievement gap. 


             “The Education Equality Project is a non-partisan group of elected officials, civil rights leaders, and education reformers that has formed to help ensure that America finally brings equity to an educational system that, 54 years since Brown v. Board of Education, continues to fail its highest needs students. The project will take on conventional wisdom and the entrenched impediments to real reform, focusing on teacher quality and pay; accountability for results; and maximizing parents’ options. It will also challenge politicians, public officials, educators, union leaders, and anybody else who stands in the way of necessary change. This means challenging laws and contracts that preserve a system that fails students. The one measure of every policy, regardless of the depths of its historic roots or the power of its adherents, must be whether it advances student learning.”  ( [3]


“In Dallas, students who had three consecutive years of effective teachers improved their math test scores by 21 points, students with three years of ineffective teachers fell 30 points behind.  

Few low-income students attend top colleges. Less than 10% of the 170,000 incoming freshmen to Tier 1 colleges (146 most selective) come from the lower half of income-earning families.

Nationally, teachers in high-minority schools are twice as likely to be inexperienced as teachers in low-minority schools.”  

“The huge difference in academic performance between students from different economic circumstances and racial/ethnic backgrounds is what we call the achievement gap.” ( [3]


If a student’s academic performance is overall poor, it has a quite serious impact on a student’s adult life.  Dropouts have a much higher chance in staying jobless, will earn dramatically lower lifetime earnings, and are much more likely to be unemployed.

“High school graduates on average live up to 7 years longer than high school dropouts.  College graduates out earn high school graduates by 73% in their lifetime.  One in nine black men between 20-34 are incarcerated; a black male is more likely to be in prison than to have a post-graduate degree.”  ( [3]

“A 10% increase in high school graduation rates would reduce murder rates by 20%.”  (( [4]

“90% of incoming freshman at the top 150 colleges come from families in the top half of U.S. annual income.”  The Educational Testing Service (

“High school graduates live up to 7 years longer than high school dropouts.”

 ( [5]

The achievement gap isn’t a random irrelevant statistic, it is evidence that the public education system is failing children and decreasing their chances to succeed as adults

All the above mentioned statistics are from sources as given.  This is what the education equality project is all about.  These people dedicate their lives into helping others and ensuring that children are not denied an education that they are entitled to.  If it wasn't for the education equality project, the uneducated, drop out, and unemployment rate would be much higher.

Education Equality Day

             Education Equality Day is May 16th and everyone is welcome to attend.  After fifty -five years, our government doesn’t seem to see an unequal system in the public education system.  This system does not serve the poor and minority children, which limits them into ever experiencing a successful future.  These children should not be denied their rights regardless of their situational standings.  This is why Education Equality Day exists; it focuses on enabling all children to receive a quality education and is very important to our society.  


               Education Equality Day is directed by the Education Equality Project.  These are all the minority groups trying to speak up and fight for their rights.  They are demanding to bring equality to all public schools for all children.  Thousands of people will be gathering in Washington, D.C. on May 16th, 2009 to fight for what they believe in.  There is a lot of hostility towards the Supreme Court from the minorities because on May 17th, 1954, the Supreme Court ruled for separate facilities for blacks and whites for educational purposes.  This was unequal educational rights and fifty-five years later, they are fighting the Supreme Court.  

Programs and Studies


Teach for America- 'Teach for America' is a non-profit organization that recruits college graduates every year and requires them to teach in isolated urban and rural areas. The graduates promise to devote two years to teaching these children who live in underprivileged areas. 'Teach for America's' ultimate goal is to eliminate any educational equity and give each child the opportunity to earn a good education (Teach for America). [6]

CSUS Science Educational Equity (SEE) Program- This program is a support program for students dealing with any unfair educational boundaries in inhibiting them in pursuing careers in the health and science industries. This program allows potential future leaders in science and health to achieve their goals and succeed. [7]

FMF Education Equity Program- Based off of the national Title IX Act, Dr. Susan Klein directs a special program that primarily conducts research on gender inequality while advocating Title IX’s goal. Title IX essentially states that all educational activities consisting of academics, social clubs, fraternities, sororities, sports and non-sports activities are to be offered to all with no exclusions. [8]

Women's Educational Equity- This program provides an opportunity for women and young girls to receive grants while endorsing 

educational equity. This program is in hopes of the implementation of gender-equity plans and strategies (U.S. Department of Education). [9]


UNICEF (unite for children)- UNICEF strongly believes that education is a fundamental right and should therefore, not be deprived of any child regardless of his/her gender, race, background, or location. UNICEF aims to eliminate any gender and race inequality in assuring that every child receives a fair education. UNICEF is geared towards aiding underprivileged children all over the world in receiving an education. They have contacts and partners worldwide in ensuring that no child is left without an education, regardless of his/her situation. (UNICEF) [10]

Spencer Study on Educational Equity; The Spencer Study on Educational Equity Programs monitors students in their educational atmosphere, while focusing on their academic success through each school system. The Spencer Study observes how students progress in the system and interact. [11]

Universities nationwide such as The Pennsylvania State University, University of Illinois and Portland State University have individual offices dealing with Educational Equity where they provide students with numerous resources and contacts to maintain equality among the students in the university. (PSU Equity [12], U of I Equity Programs [13], Portland Equity [14])

Arguments for and against

Against Educational Equality

        We know that the United States has flourished in every direction possible. However, back in the past we must not forget that in the nineties we they had faced many issues regarding discrimination towards certain minorities. For example, the case that was took to court; The Brown vs. the Board of Education. This all started when Linda Brown and other small innocent children were rejected from schools due to their skin color. 

Therefore, in America they were many educational issues, not just one issue regarding someone’s skin color. There were other problems arising because people started to reject certain people because they were different from the every day to day individual and lacked similarities between what society classes as a normal average person. These people were different because they differed by:


         This restricted people from certain ages to join colleges and universities, because colleges and universities are classed as where young people go from ages eighteen to twenty four in the society. The Older people were rejected from these colleges and were not eligible to any type of financial aid. [15]


          Disability discrimination takes many forms, People with certain disabilities are either not encouraged to join colleges and universities or are either not accepted due to the individual’s disability. The person may not be able to walk, or is deaf but can lip read and learn. In the context of higher education, disability discrimination can arise at all levels, including the admissions process, assessment. [16]


           Discrimination on the grounds of ethnic and cultural diversity, this can put certain people from different backgrounds into a very bad spot ad make them feel like their culture and race is not good enough. These people suffered educational discrimination by not getting accepted in certain colleges, or get lower grades on assignments, dropped from a course. Many times physically and verbally abused


            Women from the past and until today still face discrimination. Women students face traditional access issues such as perceived stereotypes and a lack of positive role models in all areas of their undergraduate careers. This sometimes forces them to study areas which society thinks suits them best as women. Women feel inferior to men because of certain restrictions society has put indirectly towards women. The image perceived for women was being good at homely things, such as looking after kids, cooking and cleaning. This suppressed Women’s overall ambitions and desires. Women were seen as they were physically and mentally weaker than the opposite sex.

Sexual orientation

             LGBT Students from high schools entering colleges fear the outside world and fear to express their feelings and emotions. Society again put an image that a female and male are only meant to love one another and be together. LGBT students feel insecure and depressed as if they do not belong here leading them to certain problems mentally and even suicide.

For Educational Equality

             Nevertheless, regardless of these people whom discriminated against these individuals with different ages, sexual orientation, race, gender. These people who experienced such discrimination took affirmative action towards these issues. Society as a whole also started to see that regardless of you age, race, gender, sexual orientation these individuals had potential and were up to par with the average normal person as the society classed it. Therefore, the one thing that bought each individual freedom to do what he or she pleases to do in the educational system, and was not not encouraged from applying to college or selecting certain courses of interest was, EQUALITY.


             Equality is about making sure people that everyone is treated fairly, experience equality of opportunity and access to services, and are not subject to unlawful discrimination. This means that some groups will receive specific support to enable equality of opportunity, access and outcome. Equality does not refer to balance and endeavoring to achieve an equal number of disabled, non-disabled, black and minority ethnic people, men, women or people of different sexual orientations within employment or services, but recognizing that their needs are met in different ways. Equality focuses on those areas covered by the law, namely the key areas of age, disability, race/ethnicity, gender and religion or belief and sexual orientation. 

            This Equality took sometime because each issue arouse at different times and dates; for certain discrimination problems like age, race, gender, Sexual Orientation. However, an amendment came out for each discrimination act that was encountered forcing society to no longer suppress these individuals but to accept them within our society and give them equal opportunities. [20]


             The Age Discrimination Act of 1975 prohibits discrimination based on age in programs or activities that receive federal financial assistance. The U.S. Department of Education gives financial assistance to schools and colleges, so most schools and colleges are subject to the Age Discrimination in Education Act when it comes to allegations of age discrimination. The Age Discrimination regulation is enforced by the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR). [18]


              Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 prohibits private employers, state and local governments, employment agencies and labor unions from discriminating against qualified individuals with disabilities in job application procedures, hiring, firing, advancement, compensation, job training, and other terms, conditions, and privileges of employment. The ADA covers employers with 15 or more employees, including state and local governments. It also applies to employment agencies and to labor organizations. The ADA's nondiscrimination standards also apply to federal sector employees under section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act, as amended, and it’s implementing rules. [19]


             Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects individuals against employment discrimination on the bases of race and color, as well as national origin, sex, and religion. Title VII applies to employers with 15 or more employees, including state and local governments. It also applies to employment agencies and to labor organizations, as well as to the federal government.

             Equal employment opportunity cannot be denied any person because of his/her racial group or perceived racial group, his/her race-linked characteristics (e.g., hair texture, color, facial features), or because of his/her marriage to or association with someone of a particular race or color. Title VII also prohibits employment decisions based on stereotypes and assumptions about abilities, traits, or the performance of individuals of certain racial groups. Title VII's prohibitions apply regardless of whether the discrimination is directed at Whites, Blacks, Asians, Latinos, Arabs, Native Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders, multi-racial individuals, or persons of any other race, color, or ethnicity. [17]


             Title IX governs the overall equity of treatment and opportunity in athletics while giving schools the flexibility to choose sports based on student body interest, geographic influence, budget restraints, and gender ratio. In other words, it is not a matter of women being able to participate in wrestling or that exactly the same amount of money is spent per women's and men's basketball player. Instead, the focus is on the necessity for women to have equal opportunities as men on a whole, not on an individual basis.

Sexual Orientation

             Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA) implicitly guarantee credit to applicants notwithstanding sexual orientation, but courts in the 1990s have not explicitly guaranteed the rights. The ECOA prohibits discrimination based on the intrinsic character of an applicant, including sex or marital status. Both the Civil Rights Act and the ECOA are meant to guarantee rights to those who can perform a duty. Congress should explicitly guarantee the right to credit notwithstanding sexual orientation by revising the ECOA. [17]



[1] Coram, Robert. "Political Inquiries." American Visions and Revisions. Comp. David Grimsted. Acton: Copley Publishing Group, 1999.

[2] "The Equity Center: Key Components of Educational Equity." NWREL. <>.

[3] "Education Equality Project." <>.

[4] "Achievement Gap Statistics." National Bureau of Economic Research. <>.

[5] "The Price We Pay." <>.

[6] “Teach for America.” <>.

[7] "Science Educational Equity (SEE)." <>

[8] "Title IX: FMF." Feminist Majority Foundation. <>.

[9] "Women's Educational Equity." <>.

[10] "Basic Education and Gender Equality." UNICEF. <>.

[11] "Spencer Study on Educational Equity Programs." <>.

[12] "PSU Educational Equity." <>

[13] "Educational Equity Programs UI-UC." <>.

[14] "Portland State University Educational Equity" <>.

[15] "Age Discrimination in Education." U.S. Department of Education 2009 Web.2 May 2009. <>.

[16] "Disability Discrimination." The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission 11 Mar 2009 Web.4 May 2009. <>. 

[17] Eckert, Laura. "Inclusion of sexual orientation discrimination in the Equal Credit Opportunity Act." Commercial Law League of America 1998 Web.2 May 2009. <>. 

[18] "Intercollegiate Athletics." About Title IX Web.2 May 2009. <>. 

[19] "Joint Policy - Recommendations for Implementation." OSPI State of Washington, Equity Civil Rights Office. <>.

[20] The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission." Web.2 May 2009. <>.


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