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The role education training in promoting equality of opportunity

Equality of Educational Opportunity as an Independent Concern 1. The instrumental goals of K—12 education for individuals include access to higher education and a constellation of private benefits that follow college education such as access to interesting jobs with more vacation time and better health care; greater personal and professional mobility, better decision-making skills Institute for Higher Education Policy 1998 and more autonomy at work. Research further shows that education levels are correlated with health and wealth: At the same time, education is also considered intrinsically valuable.

In addition to the instrumental and intrinsic value of education to an individual, education is also valuable for society. All societies benefit from productive and knowledgeable workers who can generate social surplus and respond to preferences.

Furthermore, democratic societies need to create citizens who are capable of participating in the project of shared governance.

  • Those who advocate for affirmative action in admissions argue that we have reason to depart from a color-blind standard;
  • Access for and retention of girls and women at all levels of education, including the higher level, and all academic areas is one of the factors of their continued progress in professional activities;
  • There is no world state for students to participate in.

The correlation between educational attainment and civic participation is strong and well-documented: It is therefore relatively uncontroversial to say that education is a highly valuable good to both individuals and to society, especially to democratic societies.

This makes questions about who has access to high-quality educational opportunities, and how educational opportunities should be distributed, particularly important. Although developed societies provide some education for free to their citizens, funding for education is always in competition with the need to provide citizens with other social goods.

As Amy Gutmann writes: Other basic welfare needs e. This scarcity is evident on several fronts with respect to higher education in the United States, which attracts applicants from all over the world. A more urgent demonstration of the scarcity of educational opportunity in the US and many other societies is evident in how access to high-quality primary and secondary education is effectively limited to children whose families can afford housing in middle-class neighborhoods, or who have access to private schools via tuition or scholarships.

Given the strong correlation between school segregation, racial achievement gaps, and overall school quality, poor and minority students are disproportionately educated in lower performing schools compared to their white and more advantaged peers Reardon 2015 in Other Internet Resources. In view of the constellation of intrinsic and instrumental goods that flow from educational opportunity, and in the context of relative scarcity, questions about how educational resources should be distributed are especially pressing as a matter of social and economic justice.

All developed societies have a legal requirement that children attend school for a certain number of years. This makes education perhaps the most important function of government. Since education is an integral function of government, and because it is an opportunity that government largely provides, there are special constraints on its distribution. Justice, if it requires nothing else, requires that governments treat their citizens with equal concern and respect.

The state, for example, cannot justly provide unequal benefits to children on the basis of factors such as their race or gender. Indeed, such discrimination, even when it arises from indirect state measures such as the funding of schools from property taxes, can be especially pernicious to and is not lost on children.

When poor and minority children see, for example, that their more advantaged peers attend better resourced public schools—a conclusion that can be drawn in many cases simply by comparing how school facilities look—they may internalize the view that the state cares less about cultivating their interests and skills. A Brief The role education training in promoting equality of opportunity of Equality of Educational Opportunity in the United States Given the importance of education to individuals and to society, it is clear that education cannot be distributed by the market: Furthermore, if education is to play a role in equipping young people to participate in the labor market, to participate in democratic governance, and more generally to lead flourishing lives, then its content cannot be arbitrary but rather must be tailored to meet these desired outcomes.

The resulting, compounded educational disadvantages that poor, minority children face in the US are significant. Efforts to combat de facto segregation have been limited by US jurisprudence since the Brown decision. Although the Supreme Court previously allowed plans to integrate schools within a particular school district see Swann v.

  • Some critics claim that theories of justice focus unduly on meeting the demands of reciprocity and cooperation as a pre-condition to equal opportunity and other demands of justice, and in doing so, exclude some individuals with disabilities from those entitlements;
  • Do you make reference and use examples from a variety of cultures, religions and traditions?
  • As we describe below, some recent writing challenges the cogency of the sharp distinction often made between these two ways of justifying the distribution of educational resources;
  • A Personal Statement, New York:

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education, 1970in Milliken v. Bradley 1974 the Court struck down an inter-district busing plan that moved students across district lines to desegregate the Detroit city and surrounding suburban schools. This limitation on legal remedies for de facto segregation has significantly hampered integration efforts given that most school districts in the US are not racially diverse.

More recently, the US Supreme Court further curtailed integration efforts within the small number of districts that are racially diverse. In its Parents Involved in Community Schools v. The persistence of race and class-based segregation in the US and the educational disadvantages that follow are rooted in the US system of geographically defined school districts, whereby schools are largely funded by local property taxes that differ substantially between communities based on property values.

This patchwork system compounds the educational disadvantages that follow from residential segregation. The 50 states in the United States differ dramatically in the level of per pupil educational funding that they provide; indeed some of these interstate disparities are greater than the intra-state inequalities that have received greater attention Liu 2006.

The system for funding schools and the residential segregation it exacerbates—itself the product of decades of laws and conscious policies to keep the races separate—has produced and continues to yield funding inequalities that disproportionately affect poor Americans of color. The segregation of resources, with greater resources flowing to children from families in the upper quintiles of society, makes it highly unlikely that children from the lower quintiles can have an equal chance of achieving success.

Given the judicial retreat from remedying de facto segregation, many advocates have shifted their attention to the school finance system.

  1. For example, it poses problems for those who endorse a meritocratic allocation of advantageous positions, such as FEO. Girls are often deprived of basic education in mathematics and science and technical training, which provide knowledge they could apply to improve their daily lives and enhance their employment opportunities.
  2. The reasons for this are similar to our reasons for being concerned with educational opportunity in the first place. One of the more controversial reforms associated with higher education and equality of opportunity is affirmative action, which reserves preferential treatment for historically disadvantaged groups.
  3. Smoking rates vary by social class. Two further limitations concerning meritocratic equality of opportunity in the context of education are worth noting.
  4. Furthermore, if education is to play a role in equipping young people to participate in the labor market, to participate in democratic governance, and more generally to lead flourishing lives, then its content cannot be arbitrary but rather must be tailored to meet these desired outcomes.
  5. This makes education perhaps the most important function of government.

A landmark US Supreme Court decision in this arena was an initial setback to efforts to advance educational equality via federal school finance litigation. Rodriguez 1973the Court found that there is no federal right to education, and that funding inequalities among school districts due to variations in property tax revenue are not unconstitutional.

In contrast to the US, many other countries do not finance their schools through local property taxes e. Many other societies distribute educational resources in a more centralized way than does the United States, which leaves educational funding, and even educational standards, to a large extent in local hands.

The US Supreme Court did, however, leave an opening for state courts to act, and so legal advocates have adopted a state-by-state approach in the decades since Rodriguez. As this litigation has unfolded in almost every US state, a policy debate with philosophical underpinnings has emerged around the question: Should educational resources be distributed on an equal basis an equity modelor according to a sufficiency threshold adequacy model?

In the legal and political sphere, the adequacy approach has been more successful in school finance litigation at the state level. But the philosophical elaboration of equity and adequacy as competing ideals is somewhat distinct from how they are used in legal battles and political discourse.

How to Promote Equality & Diversity in the Classroom

As we describe below, some recent writing challenges the cogency of the sharp distinction often made between these two ways of justifying the distribution of educational resources. The Meaning of and Debates about Equality of Educational Opportunity Debates about the meaning and value of equality of educational opportunity—and about whether equal educational opportunity requires equality or adequacy—can be considered in the light of two questions. The first question is that given the diverse goals of education—preparing individuals for the job market, for democratic citizenship, and to experience the intrinsic goods of education—is there only one justified rubric for distributing educational resources?

For instance, distributional policies that support career preparation may be very different from those that support other goals like preparation for democratic citizenship. In a highly competitive job market with high stakes, distributing educational resources equally becomes especially important.

  1. The lack of sexual and reproductive health education has a profound impact on women and men.
  2. You could even assign the task of writing the quiz to 2 students each week so that they are involved in doing the research. For example, it poses problems for those who endorse a meritocratic allocation of advantageous positions, such as FEO.
  3. Nevertheless, a crucial question concerns the extent to which the state should try to address inequalities in educational opportunities that are generated through the family.
  4. How is it different from what they normally have for dinner? Should the state seek to correct for the disadvantages of those children whose parents could not or would not read to them?

An adequacy threshold for distributing educational opportunities directed at human flourishing may therefore be justified. As our educational goals vary, so too might the distributive principles for educational resources need to change. The second question we must consider is about the best interpretation of the ideal of equality of educational opportunity. Is equality of opportunity achieved when everyone with similar talent gets the same results?

When per pupil expenditures are equalized? When those with the same natural talent potential get the same opportunities? Answers to these two fundamental questions enable philosophers to construct a conception of equality of educational opportunity. Of course, philosophical controversies remain even supposing the content of the conception can be settled. Some of these controversies concern clashes with other values, including that of the family and diversity: What limits do parental rights put on the pursuit of equality of educational opportunity?

Is affirmative action required by or contrary to equality of educational opportunity? The following sections of this entry will describe the key maneuvers in different ways of answering these two questions: The first section below introduces debates about the various definitions of equality of educational opportunity and its associated distributive principles.

Some of the material covered in this section comes from the literature on equality of opportunity more generally, which we apply to educational aspects of these debates.

The subsequent section surveys debates about how to negotiate the challenges faced by those looking to realize the ideal of equality of educational opportunity, including whether equality of educational opportunity can be reconciled with respecting the private sphere of the family.

Before we can say what an equal educational opportunity is, we need to say what an opportunity is in general. Peter Westen 1985 provides a helpful definition of an opportunity that can be applied to the education sphere. For Westen, an opportunity is a relationship between an agent or a set of agents, and a desired goal, mediated by certain obstacles, none of which are insurmountable. For instance, Alice has an opportunity to become educated mediated by obstacles such as enrolling at a school, putting in hard work, and the quality of her teachers.

To employ this concept in the context of education, we need to answer questions about who the proper agents are, what the appropriate goal or goals are, and what, if any, obstacles are legitimate.

The Equality Act 2010

For example, if we take admission at a highly selective college as our goal, and the citizens of some country as our agents, we might think that meeting a certain academic requirement, such as passing an entrance exam, is a relevant obstacle that should be permitted to stand in the way of the goal. When the appropriate group faces only the relevant obstacles with respect to the appropriate goal we can say that equality of opportunity obtains between the members of that group.

For instance, Alice and Belle have equal opportunity to attend a selective university if, all other things being equal, the only obstacle they face is passing an entry test, which is a relevant obstacle.

They do not have equal opportunity if Alice also faces an irrelevant obstacle, such as race-based discrimination, that Belle does not face. Educational opportunities are those opportunities that aim to enable individuals to acquire knowledge and certain skills, and to cultivate certain capacities. As noted above, we may value educational opportunity in some instances for the intrinsic value of acquiring knowledge, while in other cases we may care more about its instrumental effects on individual welfare e.

  • Use these activities to show the difficulties that people face and explain how these people learn to overcome them;
  • At the same time, education is also considered intrinsically valuable;
  • Is there an account of merit that is wholly independent of conceptions of justice Sen 2000?
  • The subsequent section surveys debates about how to negotiate the challenges faced by those looking to realize the ideal of equality of educational opportunity, including whether equality of educational opportunity can be reconciled with respecting the private sphere of the family;
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Whatever our rationale for caring about educational opportunity, in order for an individual to be said to have this opportunity, she must have no insurmountable, irrelevant obstacles to the particular educational goal we have in mind. Most commonly we associate the goals that constitute educational opportunities with access to educational institutions such as schools and universities, but apprenticeships and professional development and training also provide educational opportunities.

In addition, there are many informal types of educational opportunity. These include public debates and lectures as well as time spent reading, practicing, or thinking outside of a school context. Most contributors to debates about equality of educational opportunity focus on opportunities that are made available through public K—12 and higher education institutions.

The reasons for this are similar to our reasons for being concerned with educational opportunity in the first place. As a result, most of the literature primarily concerns K—12 educational institutions and colleges. Nevertheless, a crucial question concerns the extent to which the state should try to address inequalities in educational opportunities that are generated through the family. For example, we know that parents who read to their children give their children an educational advantage Hutton et al.

Should the state seek to correct for the disadvantages of those children whose parents could not or would not read to them? More generally, parents pass on not only genetic traits to their children, but also characteristics that differentially prepare children for success at school, and even at jobs. Are these appropriate obstacles for children to face or not? The next sections survey different interpretations of equal educational opportunity in view of these questions. Such characteristics include race, socio-economic class, gender, religion, and sexuality.

Equality of Educational Opportunity

It is essentially a concept of equality before the law. It is often understood as an anti-discrimination principle See the entry on equality of opportunity for more discussion.

As applied to educational opportunity, formal equality of opportunity requires the removal of formal obstacles, in the form of laws or entrance criteria for educational institutions, which refer to ascriptive characteristics.

For instance, formal equality of opportunity is opposed to legally segregated schools whose admissions policy states that students be white, male or belong to a certain religion. This conception is likewise opposed to laws that endorse or require segregation in schools.