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What questions should we be asking in the consideration of Equity?

The following questions illustrate the complexity and far-reaching consequences of the concept of equality of educational opportunity:

  1. In what sense is the meaning of educational Equity dependent upon Equity in larger society at large?

  2. To what extent are talented children from lower socioeconomic classes precluded from receiving a quality public education?

  3. To what extent are able youngsters from racial and ethnic minorities precluded from receiving a quality public education?

  4. To what extent are girls and young women precluded from receiving a quality public education?

  5. Do racially segregated schools constitute a denial of equality of educational opportunity?

  6. Are schools which are homogenous in terms of the social class mix of their students a denial in fact or in principle of Equity?

  7. Does Equity mean that exposure to a given curriculum provides opportunity?

  8. Does Equity mean that school programs should be established in accordance with whatever a child needs?

  9. Does Equity mean that each child should have the same amount of money spent on them through public funds?

  10. Does Equity mean that elimination of all indirect costs of elementary and secondary education?

  11. How much equalization is necessary before we have Equity?

  12. What must be equalized?

  13. Does the concept of Equity contradict or conflict with other social principles?

  14. Is the property tax obsolete as a means of financing our public schools?

  15. What fraction of the total cost of operating the public schools should be borne by the federal government? by the state?

  16. What principles should govern the distribution of federal funds to the schools?

  17. Is busing an appropriate vehicle for bringing about some measure of Equity?

  18. How can the learning gap be closed for economically disadvantaged children?

  19. What role, if any, do teacher expectations play in the matter of Equity?

  20. Is ability-grouping an infringement upon equal opportunity?

  21. Is education a human right?

  22. Is education merely a privilege?

These are just a few of the questions that can and should be asked about equality of educational opportunity.

(p32-33, Italics in original.)

Tesconi & Hurwitz, 1974



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