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The World Affairs Discussion Group Message Board › Equal Opportunity Education

Equal Opportunity Education

Group Organizer
San Diego, CA
Post #: 11
I uploaded a file which discusses the challenges of implementing equal opportunity in education. To see the file, click on the "More" tab, then the "Files" tab. The file is called "Equal Opportunity Education."
John Van P.
Tucson, AZ
Post #: 32
Thanks for the upload, David.

I have a few thoughts relating to the article:

1) The essay assumes that the teacher's time and attention are limited resources. Nowadays we are witnessing the development of online teaching resources that make the teacher unlimited, i.e., hundreds or thousands of students can simultaneously access a website. This doesn't eliminate the need for human teachers, but it certainly stretches the definition of educational resources. Of course, an old fashioned book is also an educational resource that can be infinitely replicated. So perhaps equality of opportunity implies more support for public libraries, with plenty of books and internet terminals in them.

2) When you look at sports the idea that all students are equal, or deserve equal opportunities, becomes questionable. Should every student qualify for the track team, or the power-lifting team? And what about handicapped students who qualify for no team, unless it is a "special needs" type of team. Also, what about students who are good at dancing, but there is no dancing class at their school? My point being that there may well be a similarly wide spectrum of aptitudes among students in terms of academic subjects. Once we acknowledge this then it may lead us think not just about the quantity of resources devoted to a given student, but about which resources.

3) I have the feeling that the essay treats students as receptacles of genes, environment, and teaching. Students have motivations. For example, students who are artistic may get into graffitti. This is considered anti-social, but it is in many cases an expression of a powerful artistic impulse. Maybe the "system" is not wired to recognize, channel, and reward these impulses. If the system were opened up to a more diversified concept of "achievement" some marginal students might turn into high achievers. Yes, these students still need to learn reading, writing, and illiterate, innumerate artist is not likely to do well in modern society. But students who view themselves as artists may be more motivated to get their act together than students who view themselves as outlaws.

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