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Equality, Adequacy, and Educational Policy

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  • Debra Satz

    () (Philosophy Department, Stanford University)

Abstract

In this article I argue that the distinction between an adequate education and an equal education has been overdrawn. In my view, a certain type of equality—civic equality—is internal to the idea of educational adequacy. An education system that completely separates the children of the poor and minorities from those of the wealthy and middle class cannot be adequate for a democratic society. Educational adequacy should be tied to the requirements of equal citizenship. I also argue that my conception of adequacy in education has advantages over competing frameworks. I contrast its implications for a recent policy proposal that argues for weighted student funding (WSF) with the assessment of this proposal from an equality framework. While weighting in favor of the least advantaged students is important, the critical issue is whether or not such weighting is sufficient for bringing all students up to adequacy's high bar. This means that to be adequate, WSF must be placed in a larger policy context. © 2008 American Education Finance Association

Suggested Citation

  • Debra Satz, 2008. "Equality, Adequacy, and Educational Policy," Education Finance and Policy, MIT Press, vol. 3(4), pages 424-443, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpr:edfpol:v:3:y:2008:i:4:p:424-443
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    File URL: http://www.mitpressjournals.org/doi/pdf/10.1162/edfp.2008.3.4.424
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    Keywords

    civic equality; educational adequacy; educational policy; weighted student funding;

    JEL classification:

    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • I22 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Educational Finance; Financial Aid

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