UW-Madison SOC 915 - Reading Interrogations for Equality Seminar Week 6 - Education (14 pages)

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Reading Interrogations for Equality Seminar Week 6 - Education



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Reading Interrogations for Equality Seminar Week 6 - Education

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Pages:
14
School:
University of Wisconsin, Madison
Course:
Soc 915 - Seminar - Sociological Theory
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Reading Interrogations for Equality Seminar Week 6 Education October 8 2009 Eunhee Han Saltz 2007 and Anderson 2007 argued that adequacy should be the sole principle in distributing educational resources and opportunities in the US rather than equality In contrast Brighouse and Swift 2009 dispute their arguments and insisted that the justice of education demands both adequacy and equality since adequacy cannot be a complete principle in distributing educational resources in all circumstances I wonder how justice of education including adequacy and equality in distributing resources can be achieved I am from South Korea where educational inequality is a big social problem However in South Korea educational resources are mainly controlled and distributed by the central government So educational resources seem to be relatively adequately and equally distributed in SK compared to the US where 12K school funding comes mainly from municipal property taxes I think that the 12K education is similar to the universal health care that should be given to all citizens as a social right As it has been difficult to reform the health care system in the US it may be difficult for the federal government to intervene reform the school funding structure The justice of education should demand not only demand equal and adequate distribution of resources and opportunities but also demand quality and contents in education to enhance social equality Even though public educational resources and opportunities are equally distributed children from wealthy and well educated parent have more advantages in a meritocracy because they have more private resources including social and cultural capital So I wonder what 12K school education should look like to enhance democratic equality and full citizenship David Calnitsky In Putting Educational Equality in its Place I appreciated Brighouse Swift s commitment to educational equality above and beyond the adequacy view I also think they are correct to potentially limit that equality given other values especially the flourishing of the least advantaged I m a little unclear however on those other values In the Abstract the authors write It would be wrong to for the sake of educational equality undermine the value of the family or economic growth in ways that damage the prospects for flourishing of the least advantaged 444 In this statement it seems that the family parental liberty and economic growth are only important insofar as they affect the real value with which we might limit educational equality the flourishing of the least advantaged In the piece 446 however the Sociology 915 Philosophy 955 Reading Interrogations 2 family parental liberty seems to be a value in itself along with the flourishing of the least advantaged while economic growth is only instrumental to the latter The authors I think rightly are willing to violate meritocratic educational equality if the flourishing of the least advantaged increases However they then again I think rightly seem to reject at least in developed societies the mechanism by which this might occur To me this mechanism seems somewhat implausible It is a kind of trickle down theory of educational equality 1 elite parents invest in their children 2 this increases the stock of human capital in society 3 this generates productivity gains 4 those gains eventually trickle down To me there is reason to be skeptical of every claim after the first Also productivity gains might be more likely with direct investments in the less advantaged While this mechanism might be worth abandoning it doesn t seem that the principle of constraining educational equality by avoiding harm to the least advantaged needs to be thrown out there just needs to be a more direct mechanism than the one given and rejected Actually looking at the piece again I m not sure whether the principle is that we should implement merit based educational equality up until but without harming the least advantaged or that we should violate educational equality if it enhances the flourishing of the least advantaged both seem to be on p 449 Also I like the point about the inexplicable silence of the meritocratic conception of educational equality with respect to arbitrary inequalities in talent 447 Jencks makes a similar point 523 I m just not sure why except for pragmatic reasons Brighouse Swift bracketed that point Alex Hyun The question of how much freewill children have is very relevant to the issue of educational equality This is clear in Jencks paper where he implies that our choice of conception of educational justice will be influenced by our views on the freewill of children Jencks 528 For instance the moralistic understanding of educational justice requires us to reward virtue and punish vice which in the classroom setting means that we must reward those who make the most effort to learn But if a child s work ethic is totally determined by her genetics and upbringing it doesn t seem right to describe her degree of effort as virtuous or vicious meriting praise or blame This would rule out the moralistic conception of educational justice Another example of the relevance of the freewill question if children have a high degree of freewill then Strong Humane Justice seems extremely hard to pursue in practice This is because Ms Higgins in order to properly compensate students for their bad genes would have to be able to discern how much of a child s failure is due to bad genes and how much of her failure is due to a misuse of freewill That sounds like a really hard thing to do One question I d be interested in discussing is do children have freewill Are they responsible for their willingness to work and if so how responsible are they I don t have any knowledge of the relevant psychological Sociology 915 Philosophy 955 Reading Interrogations 3 data nor do I have any direct experience with young children so I d be interested in hearing others opinions about this Though I am at least initially inclined to think that children s performance in school is greatly affected by freewill since my twin and I have performed very differently in school ever since the fourth grade and this in spite of having quite similar genetics and upbringing This question can be placed under the more general question that I have which of the five ways of thinking about equal educational opportunity mentioned by Jencks do we find most plausible which do we find to be morally best This is something


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