“Equity doesn’t mean the same for everyone; it means that everyone gets what they need.” These wise words, from a Florida elementary school principal, get to the core of a new look at barriers to equity in education.

Teachers and principals surveyed in a new Scholastic Education report universally agree that equity in education for all children should be a national priority.

Educators noted that equity in education is not the same as equality–students should have equal access to high-quality teachers and learning resources, but equality means each student has the same support necessary to achieve success.

“There needs to be an understanding that equity doesn’t mean the same for everyone. Some families need a higher level of support and resources to participate equally in educational success,” said a middle school teacher in Colorado who participated in the survey.

(Next page: A new way to think about barriers to equity in education)