As we increase the dialogue around inclusion and equity, it is important that we examine the language and terms that we are using. Below are some terms that we often use as synonyms followed by their definitions and differences, courtesy of Karen Pittman and the Forum for Youth Investment (FYI). She later offers some of her thoughts on this. To read her full article, click here.
Equality | Equity. Equality is a good goal given where we are, but it is not at all a sufficient one. Equity is achieved when all kids have a shot at getting the essentials they need to succeed because 1) the differences in their starting points have been taken into account, and 2) the systemic or institutional barriers to their success have been addressed. People often use a baseball analogy to get at equality vs. equity. Equity is achieved when the playing field is leveled and the fences are taken down, providing young people with real opportunities to get into the game.
Access | Quality. Access is necessary, but far from sufficient and sometimes harmful. Providing young people with opportunities to get into the game is only useful if these opportunities are appropriately structured to support youth success. Opportunities that are mismatched to youth’s capacities and motivations significantly reduce the chance that young people feel that they matter and want to put in the effort to master the game.
Readiness, according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, is defined as 1) being willing to do something, and 2) being prepared to do something. This dual definition is important. To embrace the opportunities and survive the challenges that come their way, young people need to be willing and prepared to tackle things they cannot anticipate. This means that every opportunity to learn new content (e.g., how to bake a pie, hit a double, build an engine) is also an opportunity to use the skills and knowledge they have. Young people who “hit the wall” when trying to learn something new have not only internalized the idea that they can’t learn, they have missed the opportunity to use and improve the skills employers are looking for.
To tackle the country’s readiness problem, we also have to address equity issues. And when the path to readiness goes through quality, young people not only build skills and competencies, they develop a sense of agency and a sense of urgency to take action to change the odds for themselves and their communities.
We are hosting a webinar/ Speaker's Forum on Wednesday, October 6, 2021 from 10:00am- 12:00pm (PST) entitled, Youth Civic Engagement and Activism in Afterschool. The purpose of this webinar is to inform and encourage expanded learning programs to offer youth opportunities to be civically engaged. It is our intention to capture and share valuable and intriguing ideas and information. To learn more and register, click the banner below.
We are hosting another webinar/ Speaker’s Forum on Wednesday, October 20, 2021 from 10:00am- 12:00pm (PST) entitled, Engaging Youth as Workers in Afterschool. The purpose of this webinar is to inform and encourage afterschool programs to offer youth opportunities to serve as workers within these programs. It is our intention to capture and share valuable and intriguing ideas and information to help programs enlist youth as workers. To learn more and register, click the banner below.