Herricks Public Schools provides lesson from United Nations to fifth grade students promoting “equity” over “equality”


On December 1, 2023, Herricks Public Schools posted on Facebook that fifth grade students from elementary schools within the district “took a field trip up to Herricks High School for a series of presentations and activities organized by students in the High School Independent Research Class” to learn the perceived difference between “equality” and “equity.” Parents Defending Education submitted a public records request to the district for documents, presentations, or other materials used for this lesson that fifth grade students received. The district provided PDE with a document of sources that claimed the lesson came from the United Nations:

The theme of Educational Equity is taken from the UN SDG Goal 4 in providing educational equity across the developing world. Using the goals of the UN to evaluate the steps thus far to achieve their goals the following research was explored for students to create their own projects to showcase what is being done across the developing world to meet the UN goals and how the UN is supporting the achievement of those goals.

This United Nations goal states: “Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.” A major point of this goal appears to be to teach students to be political activists: “By 2030, ensure that all learners acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development, including, among others, through education for sustainable development and sustainable lifestyles, human rights, gender equality, promotion of a culture of peace and non-violence, global citizenship and appreciation of cultural diversity and of culture’s contribution to sustainable development.”

One resource from the United Nations used for the lesson explicitly explains that “equity” is distributing resources unevenly to people the UN considers “most in need.” The UN states: “Equity and equality are not the same thing. Equality means providing the same resources to everyone. Equity signifies giving more to those most in need.” The UN also brings “climate change” into this goal: “Realizing the right to education helps to eradicate poverty and makes individuals and communities more resilient in the face of natural disasters and climate change.”

In another resource used to teach fifth grade students, the UN encourages outside governments to fund the schools of other countries: “Ask our governments to place education as a priority in both policy and practice. Lobby our governments to make firm commitments to provide free primary school education to all, including vulnerable or marginalized groups.”

The school district posted about the equity lesson on Facebook.