Equity Literacy for Educators:
Definition and Abilities
Equity literacy is a comprehensive approach for creating and sustaining equitable schools. The
foundations of equity literacy are (1) a commitment to deepening individual and institutional
understandings of how equity and inequity operate in organizations and societies, and (2) the
individual and institutional knowledge, skills, and will to vigilantly identify inequities, eliminate
inequities, and actively cultivating equity. At the individual level, when we embrace equity
literacy we learn to become a threat to the existence of inequity and an active cultivator of
equity in our spheres of influence.
More than cultural competence or diversity awareness, equity literacy prepares us to recognize
even the subtlest forms of bias, inequity, and oppression related to race, class, gender identity
and expression, sexual orientation, (dis)ability, language, religion, immigration status, and
other factors. Through equity literacy we prepare ourselves to understand how experience
disparities, not just quantitatively measured outcome disparities, affect student access to
equitable educational opportunity free of bias, inequity, and discrimination.
According to the equity literacy framework, equity is not merely about giving every student
what they need to succeed in an individual sense. This way of imagining equity obscures our
responsibility to address institutional bias and inequity. Instead, equity is a process through
which we ensure that policies, practices, institutional cultures, and ideologies are actively
equitable, purposefully attending to the interests of the students and families to whose
interests we have attended inequitably. By recognizing and deeply understanding these sorts
of disparities, we prepare ourselves to respond effectively to inequity in the immediate term.
We also strengthen our abilities to foster long-term change by redressing institutional and
societal conditions that create everyday manifestations of inequity.