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Putting Educational Equality in Its Place


  • Harry Brighouse

    () (Department of Philosophy, University of Wisconsin, Madison)

  • Adam Swift

    () (Balliol College, Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Oxford)


Educational equality is one important value of justice in education, but it is only one. This article makes a case for a meritocratic principle of educational equality and shows that certain arguments against that principle do not justify rejecting it. 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. But insofar as educational equality can be improved without harming those other values, it should be pursued; in practice, educational equality can be pursued effectively within the limits set by those values. © 2008 American Education Finance Association

Suggested Citation

  • Harry Brighouse & Adam Swift, 2008. "Putting Educational Equality in Its Place," Education Finance and Policy, MIT Press, vol. 3(4), pages 444-466, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpr:edfpol:v:3:y:2008:i:4:p:444-466

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. repec:fth:prinin:366 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Hanushek, Eric A., 2002. "Publicly provided education," Handbook of Public Economics,in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 30, pages 2045-2141 Elsevier.
    3. Hausman, Jerry, 2015. "Specification tests in econometrics," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 38(2), pages 112-134.
    4. Card, David & Krueger, Alan B, 1992. "Does School Quality Matter? Returns to Education and the Characteristics of Public Schools in the United States," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(1), pages 1-40, February.
    5. David Card & Alan B. Krueger, 1996. "School Resources and Student Outcomes: An Overview of the Literature and New Evidence from North and South Carolina," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(4), pages 31-50, Fall.
    6. Jörn-Steffen Pischke, 2007. "The Impact of Length of the School Year on Student Performance and Earnings: Evidence From the German Short School Years," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(523), pages 1216-1242, October.
    7. Marcotte, Dave E., 2007. "Schooling and test scores: A mother-natural experiment," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 26(5), pages 629-640, October.
    8. Ozkan Eren & Daniel Millimet, 2007. "Time to learn? The organizational structure of schools and student achievement," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 32(2), pages 301-332, May.
    9. David Card & Alan Krueger, 1996. "School Resources and Student Outcomes: An Overview of the Literature and New Evidence from North and South Carolina," Working Papers 745, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    10. Grogger, Jeff, 1996. "Does School Quality Explain the Recent Black/White Wage Trend?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 14(2), pages 231-253, April.
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    1. repec:eee:injoed:v:53:y:2017:i:c:p:71-79 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item


    educational equality;

    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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