With CRT, indoctrination, grooming, and other false hoaxes used to fuel school board election platforms, another topic has crept into the public dialogue: equity versus equality.

Below is a video of an explanation given by a WSFCS school board candidate in which she explains that we should promote her concept of “equality” over a generalized conceptualization of “equity” in our schools.

That video exists on Sarah Absher’s Youtube page. It is prepared and read for the attendees at the school board candidate forum last week here in Winston-Salem.

I wonder if Mrs. Absher really thinks that equality and equity are that easily explained, especially for a person who wants to be on a school board. When candidates like her talk about the need for a system that meets students “where they are” and discourages a “one size fits all” approach to teaching students, do they realize that they are not talking about equality but rather equity?

When I as a teacher am required to differentiate instruction in rooms full of students or prepare different assessments and lessons based on IEPs and 504s and different learning styles, I am dealing with issues of equity. And that’s just a simplistic example.

I cannot remember a time when a parent asked that I treat his/her student “just like the rest” when it came to academics. It is usually a conversation about what we can do for this student to get this student to a place of authentic learning and achievement.

I wonder if Mrs. Absher has seen this graphic:

And I wonder what her reaction to it might be.

When talking about equality and equity in her video above, Mrs. Absher also touches on race and other nonacademic factors – all of which play a role in how students actualize their world inside and outside of a classroom.

What would she say about the Iceberg Effect?

In October 2017, the venerable James Ford of the Public School Forum (he is now a state board member) delivered the keynote address at the North Carolina English Teacher’s Association. It was more than exceptional as Ford highlighted that what hurts our schools most are external factors that are not being dealt with such as systemic poverty.

Part of his presentation included a version of what is called the “Iceberg Effect” for education. It looks like this:


Ford talked about (and he is not alone in this belief) how what is above the water, namely student outcomes, is what drives educational policies in our state.

Notice that he means what is visible above the water line is what drives policy. That is what the public sees in the press. That is what lawmakers and leaders hark on when discussing what to do about public education. That is what is being used to measure the effectiveness of teachers and schools.

Listening to Mrs. Absher, it seems she is concentrating on what is above the water.

A vast majority of that iceberg is under water.


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Clarence Choe