Compensatory Education and Race Relations: What Lessons for Europe?*
Most societies are seeking to expand educational opportunities as a means of overcoming social and economic inequalities. The underlying social theory is that if children can be given equal access to education, then they may compete on more equal terms for privileged positions in society. Unfortunately, all children cannot benefit equally from exposure to education because of genetic and environmental differences. It is further quite clear that, as education becomes an important influence on status in society, parents seek the best possible education for their children. There is, in consequence, a ‘built-in’ tendency for education to be used by parents as a means of maintaining existing social advantages for their children. The existing elites have an advantage in doing so over underprivileged groups, whether social, racial or ethnic. Therein lies a fundamental dilemma for education and other social policies.
KeywordsRace Relation Disadvantaged Child Depressed Area Harvard Educational Review Vague Objective
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