Why Edtech Company Leaders Should Lead with Equity in Mind
Educational equity is, put simply, a concern with ensuring that all students are given an equal chance to succeed. That means that even a child from a lower socio-economic status or a child whose first language is not English or a child from a minoritized community is given the same opportunities to develop their talents and potential as a child from a privileged community. Unfortunately, the history of educational policy has shown that sometimes other concerns have overridden a commitment to educational equity. There are many gaps and problems in the current system that desperately need to be addressed. Needless to say, it’s a daunting task. And it’s sometimes politically difficult. But it is an essential component of ensuring that the educational system reflects core American virtues, principles, and promises.
So if edtech is going to be a significant player in the educational arena, then edtech needs to think about equity. In other words, edtech company leaders should lead with equity in mind. They need to ensure that their products meet the needs of students from a variety of student populations. They need to ensure that their products are not considered as low-cost substitutes for quality instruction. They need to focus on the needs of each individual student.
Ideally, edtech leaders would think of equity not as simply a box to check in order to be appealing to those stakeholders who are making purchasing decisions but rather as part of the core ethical commitments of their business model, part and parcel of ensuring that the American dream is a reality for all students. It may require devoting more resources to the “ed” side and fewer to the “tech” side to ensure that materials are developed by and vetted by experts in the field of educational equity.
It may mean building out software that can be used by students whose first language is not English or designing a tool that can be easily used by a child with a cognitive disability. It may require developing cultural competence for a wide variety of communities to ensure that edtech products are appropriate for the full range of students. It may not be easy, and it will probably affect the bottom line. But it is consistent with the obligations of working in the education sector, and it is necessary to the future success of society as a whole.
It’s a complicated task that requires serious expertise in a variety of fields. Fortunately, there are various groups that can aid your efforts.