Equality is giving all people the same thing, no matter what their true need is; equity,
on the other hand, is providing people with what they actually need in order to be
For decades, equity based educational efforts have been geared towards bridging and/or closing the achievement gap that exists between African-American and Hispanic students and their non-Hispanic white peers, with little progress made. One of the reasons that this gap has proved difficult to bridge is that the achievement gap is treated as the problem when, in fact, it is but one of the many symptoms of structural and institutionalized educational inequity. Therefore, in the pursuit of educational equity*, our focus must be shifted from the notion of the "achievement gap" to that of the opportunity gap.
According to Webster's Dictionary, the word achievement denotes: effort, courage, and skill. Most people will readily agree that all three of these attributes are necessary in order to be success in school and in life. However, without discussion of the structures and institutions that limit the opportunities of low-income students of color, a focus on the achievement gap places the blame for traditionally marginalized students' academic struggles exclusively on the students. This is why equity-minded educators have to have a shift in thinking: in order to realize educational equity, campus-wide, we all have to be committed to identifying and addressing the real culprit -- the opportunity gap.
The mission of CSM’s Equity program is to ensure that the pursuit of educational equity drives all of our interactions with students, both in student support services as well as instruction. In order to achieve this goal, the Equity program will work with administrators, faculty, staff, and students to identify equitable educational opportunities that encourage, empower, and equip all CSM students to work towards the realization of their full academic and human potential.