Equal opportunity in educational contexts: Comparing the feasibility of divergent conceptualizations
For political advice towards equal opportunities in educational policy fields, different conceptualizations of the term coexist. While e.g. Roemer and Van de Gaer focused on outcome opportunities, but differed with respect to individual versus group perspective, other scholars like Sen and Thomson interpreted the norm to reflect equal initial choice sets, but differed in their interpretation of relevant choice alternatives. Normative content being partly delegated to political debate, those concepts still incorporate different framings for interpreting equality of opportunity and consequently trigger biased policies. To address this shortcoming, I propose a multidimensional scope of equal opportunity interpretations and distinguish feasibility issues of different perspectives toward equal opportunities in educational contexts. Contextual characteristics concerning elementary and vocational schooling as well as decentralized education are shown to enable more precise recommendations in terms of feasibility of equal opportunity concepts. Inclusion of divergent conceptualizations may thus prove helpful to overcome feasibility issues.
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