The Power of Narrative Framing: What is Equity?

by | December 31, 2020 | Blog

Photo by Jacob Lund from Noun Project

Matterlab believes high-quality education options are the single most powerful lever in achieving equity. All of our work is focused around pursuit of equity impact. So, what is equity versus equality?

In short, equality is about everyone having the same things, and equity is about everyone having what they need – whatever their starting point. Our focus at Matterlab is not the pursuit of equality, but of equity impact – measurable, compounding improvements in achieving equitable outcomes for individuals, families, and communities who do not yet have access to everything they need to succeed.

Pursuit of equity impact is crucial work on the path to greater justice in our society overall. The concepts of equity and justice are inextricably linked with the concept of fairness. Fairness is fundamental to how humans operate in groups, but it’s hard to define. (Try explaining it to a toddler.)

In our work, the fairness construct is most helpful when applied through guiding questions like: In [physical space/intellectual space], have [individuals/families/specific groups] had a fair shot at [opportunity/resources]? Why/why not? Through that exercise, when we better understand where and why equity is lacking, we are then able to support our partners in eliminating barriers, building better on-ramps to opportunities, and marshaling or redistributing resources.

Our nation suffers from entrenched inequities in every area of the human experience, from housing to healthcare, from transportation to treatment on the basis of race, class, and identity. We encourage you to check out the National Equity Atlas to learn more. It’s a sort of “report card” on racial and economic equity in America. Here at Matterlab, we focus specifically on solving for inequities in education. Why? Because a well-educated populace creates the necessary headwaters of greater justice for all, in every area of shared life. As a nation, if we solve for education, our citizens can solve for anything.

Connect your work to your why.

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