Equity, particularly equity in education, is being discussed today with a new intensity. The increasing income gap, the simultaneous erosion of social safety nets and civil liberties, and the disparities in the treatment of people based on race, financial status, and other factors—all are contributing to a society that is becoming polarized around issues of inequity. To the individual who wants to be part of a solution, the forces that have created this dense web of inequity may seem massive, immovable, and overwhelmingly complex.

Inequity applies at every level of education, from federal policy to state- and district-level funding down to the individual school, classroom, and student. In this article, we will explore the meaning of equity, including the difference between equity and equality, provide a brief overview of how federal policies addressing inequity have shifted over the past few decades, touch on systemic versus individual bias, and share instructional strategies that can help tackle inequity where teachers have always made a difference for their students: in the classroom.