final paper rough - Jamie Cohen Adequacy/Equality Final...

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Jamie Cohen Adequacy/Equality Final Paper Equality of Opportunity Due: December 15 th , 2008 There are distinct inequalities throughout the American population. These inequalities affect the quality of education that children receive. In general, children from poor communities attend worse off schools, and are less likely to graduate high school or attend college. In order to evaluate and to ensure that the policy on education is fair and effective, the goal of education can be looked at in two different ways—to reach a certain educational threshold or to guarantee that every child has an equal education. In “Equality, Adequacy, and Education for Citizenship,” Debra Satz argues for an adequacy-based standard over an equality-based standard. However, in “Educational Equality versus Educational Adequacy: A Response to Anderson and Satz,” Harry Brighouse and Adam Swift argue for a equality-based standard over an adequacy-based standard.” In this essay, I will first introduce the two different components of the equal education argument—horizontal equity and vertical equity, including Satz’s objections to both parts. I will then present Brighouse and Swift’s response to Satz’s objections of vertical equity and Satz’s objection to their response. Subsequently, I will discuss Satz’s defense of the adequacy argument and present Brighouse and Swift’s objection to adequacy, and discuss Satz’s arguments to their objections. All in all, my purpose of this paper is to defend Satz in saying that the best educational policy is an adequacy-based one. In horizontal equity, all children are entitled to the same amount of resources from the government. Believers of this form of equity argue that in order to truly provide equal opportunity to children of all social backgrounds and financial positions, the government should give as many resources to one school district as another. Satz argues two objections against horizontal equity. Firstly, because this type of standard for education does not specify a threshold of funding, the result would be a possible downsize in most school districts in order to maintain equality, meaning that the government would have to lessen the quality on some school so that they would be equal to the lower-tier schools. Therefore, many students in the better-off schools would receive a worse education in order to be equal to other schools. Secondly, equal financial inputs may not necessarily yield an equal educational output. Horizontal equity ignores the fact that students from different communities have different needs. Satz states, “poor
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This note was uploaded on 03/03/2010 for the course -2 -1 at Cornell University (Engineering School).

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final paper rough - Jamie Cohen Adequacy/Equality Final...

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