Wednesday, December 03, 2008

How should K-12 education resources be distributed in a democracy?

We thought our readers might want to see this Forum over at Stanford University:

Thinking Twice is a newspaper column that appears monthly in the Stanford Report. Each month Stanford scholars take a multi-disciplinary look at the same issue from their uniquely informed points of view.

FORUM QUESTION: How should K-12 education resources be distributed in a democracy?

Equality and Educational Policy, by Debra Satz

American schools are funded by a complex formula of national, state and local dollars and there are significant differences in the funding of the K-12 schools that students attend. If some schools are so ill equipped that children lack textbooks, trained teachers, and basic supplies, how can we say that these children have equal opportunities with their wealthier peers? How should K-12 education resources be distributed in a democracy?

This is a complex question because it involves difficult empirical issues [such as the efficacy of different resources] and disputed questions of values. While most Americans are committed to the ideal of equality of opportunity, there are very different understandings of what it means.....[click here to read more]


Funding Special Education by Eamonn Callan

Public funding for special education in America has long been controversial. Many different questions are entangled in that controversy. My question is a particularly thorny one. Is it just for society to invest substantial resources in the education of those who can learn very little? The question has more than academic meaning for me.

When my son was three he was diagnosed with autism. We were told he was a “classic” case, which was a delicate way of saying his symptoms were severe. But we had hope. He performed very well on non-verbal cognitive tasks. The psychologist who tested him said his intelligence seemed to be at least average. He might grow up to be an adult who could take care of himself. Attending college was not out of the question....[click here to read more]


Jason Nolan said...

Oh, I find this discussion so strange. It presupposes that we can have an equitable society without giving people the tools with which to participate. I wonder if this is an american only debate. I don't know of any other G8 country that would so discriminate against its people in terms of access to the fundamental resources required to participate in society on such a large scale. Canada is not without its faults, and I know we lag behind some other G8s in terms of early learning, but having a system that ensures that the rich areas get the best educational opportunities is nothing more than the creation of a class structure that punishes the poor while at the same time dragging down the country as a whole. It boggles the mind.

Craig A. Cunningham said...

it boggles the heart, jason!

Anonymous said...

I have a serious question... why are all of you Education policy people and not simply equal opportunity/disparity policy people. Most of the items posted are societal problems not education policy problems. The posts mostly seem to be social justice and not education policy.