ERIC Number: ED251585
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1984-Dec
Reference Count: 0
Equity and Excellence: Confronting the Dilemmas.
Passow, A. Harry
A common theme in the current spate of reports advocating reform of American schools has been the need for attaining the twin goals of "equity" and "excellence." Yet there is widespread disagreement, not only on the relationship of quality and equality, but on the acceptable meanings of these terms as well. James Coleman, (1969) in "The Concept of Equality of Educational Opportunity" (1969), for instance, identified five different types of equality and inequality. Similarly, excellence has been defined in terms ranging from "high academic standards in traditional school subjects" to "the quality of one's performance rather than the kind of work." A major concern is whether excellence is to be defined in terms of the same goals and objectives for all students or whether individual differences are to be recognized. Differentiated curricula, grouping, streaming, and tracking have long been used to provide for individual differences. But most current reports have criticized these practices (especially tracking) as being inequitable. Other questions emerging from the complexity of this issue include dealing with students who will not be able to meet the newly proposed high standards; deciding whether vocational education has a place in our curricula; and determining the viability of bilingual education. In summary, equity and excellence are unlikely to be achieved unless the hard issues which these concepts raise for policy makers and practitioners alike are confronted. (KH)
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper prepared for the International Conference on Education in the '90s: Equality, Equity and Excellence in Education (1st, Tel-Aviv, Israel, December 16-19, 1984).