REYES DESCRIBES DIFFERENCE
BETWEEN EQUITY AND EQUALITY
it comes to education, most people strive for equality, but in the opinion
of Dr. Sharon Reyes, equity should be the primary goal.
Trinity education professor
Trina Vallone invited Reyes, her former mentor and professor at Saint Xavier
University, to speak to a class of education students November 15 about
the significance of understanding diversity and language barriers in the
classroom. Reyes described the difference between equity and equality in
the ways children learn in school, particularly children for whom English
is not their original language.
"Equality focuses on educational
opportunities, but equity focuses on educational outcomes," she said. "The
bottom line is achievement, and if equity is the goal, then we should try
to provide resources that allow children to learn in their native language."
Reyes specialized in bilingual
and multicultural education while she completed her doctorate in curriculum
design at the University of Illinois-Chicago. She designed and developed
Saint Xavier's ESL/Bilingual Education Approval Program and has taught
elementary and college students. When she finished addressing the class
of adult studies and traditional students at the College, she urged them
to remain sensitive to their students' individual situations when they
begin their teaching careers.
"We must value the native
language development of those children who are in the linguistic minority,"
Reyes said. "If we neglect that, their cognition may slow down because
they're not giving any feedback. It also impacts their self-esteem, and
the combination of those two is seen in their academic performance."