Guest Post by Eric Muller
In last Wednesday's Chapel Hill News, school superintendent Neil Pedersen wrote the following:
We take th[e] goal for equality a step farther by advocating for 'equity,' which means that students deserve to receive whatever resources are necessary to meet common educational goals. In some cases, equity will lead to some students receiving more resources than others in order to meet the same, high educational goals.
In last Friday's Chapel Hill News, editor Ted Vaden wrote the
following about the perception that recent and proposed changes in gifted education have led to a "dumbing down" of the curriculum:
This is an unfortunate perception, because it proceeds on an assumption that advancement for one group of students - low-performing African-Americans and Latinos - can come only at the expense of others, particularly more advanced students.
These two assertions obviously conflict with each other. The superintendent's claim has low-achieving students receiving more resources than high-achieving students in order that the maximum number of students attain a particular high level of achievement. Mr. Vaden's claim is that the focus on equity actually entails no trade-offs.
Is there any reasonable way to reconcile these two conflicting characterizations? Who is right?
Eric Muller is a law professor at UNC and has his own blog at IsThatLegal.org.