Is equality really necessary?

On January 23, 2013 by Aimee

Oh, yeah, I’m sure my question is going to stir up trouble, but I’m not talking racial or ethnic or anything discriminatory. I’m talking about my identical twin daughters.

These two:

You see … my girls are ‘the same’ in almost everything. One is only about an inch taller than the other. One is only about a pound heavier than the other. Both right handed. Both green eyed. Both donated their hair to Locks of Love. Both lose their teeth at the same time (though in the opposite order).


That should mean, ‘the same’, right? Equal?

Well, it doesn’t. Just because they are twins, doesn’t mean diddly squat when it comes to academics. Both my girls are smart. Super smart. Uniquely and ridiculously smart.

But …

One tests very very well. And one doesn’t.

One is like her dad. The other is like me. I don’t test well.

However, when our girls were born, we did our research and decided we’d fight for them to be together in school—and fight we did. I had to go to the principal (and have to repeat this each year) to get them in the same classroom. That’s a post for another time, but suffice it to say, parents SHOULD be able to dictate if their twins should be in the same room or not. Now, getting off my soapbox, mine ARE in the same class. On purpose.

They challenge each other. They work together incredibly well. They help each other. They push each other. They test each other. That’s what we wanted in every way.

So, when they both were up for consideration in the Academically Gifted Program, I signed the form and said ‘yes’, test them. I want them to get the best of both worlds – academically and in the challenge of learning more.

With Test 1’s success, I thought surely, they’ll both be placed in the program.

Test 2 results indicated one 3 points above the cut off and one 7 points below the cutoff.

Uh oh.

Now all the sudden, I’m faced with a decision. A parental decision. Do I give one the extra benefit that the school system won’t allow for the other? (Oh yeah, I should say I did ask for special consideration) Or, do I deny one something she earned in order to keep them equal?

Coming back to our decision from long ago, we decided (yes, we, not just me, but my hubby, too) that are goal, for the formative educational years was to keep the girls TOGETHER. That meant in everything.

So, no AIG program for the one who ‘made the cutoff’. But am I doing her a disservice?

Sometimes, I think I am. But then, I remember when I was tested for this program ages and ages ago. I did not make it. Yet, I took all honors courses. I graduated #12 of 364 kids. I didn’t lose out on not being a part of the program.

And that’s what I’ve got to remember.

We are not better than someone else because a test tells us so. My girls are equally smart, in different ways. Just because a school said one is gifted doesn’t mean the other isn’t. It simply means one answered questions ‘the right way’. Who’s to say the answers provided by the other were actually wrong?

So yes, to me, in this case, ‘equality’ is necessary. My girls will finish out their elementary years TOGETHER. As equals. And when they reach middle and high school, they’ll have an equal shot at all the courses, not because the Gifted program gave it to them, but because they worked their little tails off for it.

Just like I did.