Equality in education. Equity in education.
Equality in education is treating all students fairly and equally, no matter their race, gender, age, disability, religion, or sexual orientation. Equity in education is leveling the playing field; making sure every student has the support and tools they need to be successful, regardless of personal and social circumstances. Both are important but are not interchangeable.
For the past sixteen years, the Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents (ALAS) has brought together top education leaders and education partners to tackle tough equity issues and identify solutions to make education more equitable for all students. “ACT’s Center for Equity in Learning is a long-time supporter of ALAS because we know that equity in education begins with school leaders and teachers who see the value, dignity and potential of every child. ALAS and its members exemplify the innovation and inclusive excellence that every student and community needs to prosper,” said, Jim Larimore, chief officer of the Center.
This year the theme of the ALAS Summit was Conquering the Equity Gap. ALAS brought together a power house line up of keynote speakers and engaging breakout sessions. Topics ranged from Critical Factors to End the Teacher Shortage in Bilingual Education, Educational Equity for Undocumented Students, Effective Family Engagement, and Equity Centered Resource Allocation. Click here to view the full agenda from the summit. There was time for networking with new and old friends, and lots of opportunity for information sharing and brainstorming of ideas on how to improve what people are already doing at their school.
Each year ALAS gives awards and scholarships to deserving leaders who are making a difference in their school and community. This year, ACT’s own Maria Vasquez, who recently retired from her role as program director in the ACT Center for Equity in Learning, was honored with the ALAS Lifetime Achievement Award. Maria’s early childhood started as a migrant field worker, helping her family earn money by traveling from South Texas across the Midwest to places where there was work harvesting fruits and vegetables. As a result, Maria attended many different schools and felt the disparities in education as a migrant student. Maria knew education was the key to success and overcoming the barriers in front of her. She is a first-generation college graduate, a life-long learner and educator, and innovator in every aspect of her life. We are so very proud of Maria and all her accomplishments, and it was an honor to be with her to celebrate her recognition by ALAS.
As people departed the summit, there was a renewed hope and energy to keep fighting the fight, and to bring education equity to all. When you are with ALAS, you are with familia. We are better when we work together.