ERIC Number: ED200163
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1981-Apr-16
A Critique of Motivational Bases for Affirmative Action Programs in Postsecondary Education.
Barger, Robert N.
Motivational bases for affirmative action programs, particularly as these programs pertain to postsecondary education, are considered. "Motivational bases" refers to the basic incentives that are invoked in order to gain public support for affirmative action programs. Three types of motivational bases are addressed: those associated with reasons of morality, those associated with legality, and those associated with utility. The effectiveness of these motivational bases in generating popular support and the accomplishment of its ultimate goal of equal educational and employment opportunity is criticized. Background information on affirmative action is also reviewed. There are essentially four ethical principles that may be used to determine the morality of affirmative action: the principle of simple justice, the principle of compensatory justice, the principle of distributive justice, and the principle of formal equality. A chief merit of legality as a motivational basis for affirmative action is that it emphasizes that affirmative action is the official policy of the nation (or state, or city). It also lays stress on the power of federal (or state, or local) enforcement behind this policy. Utility focuses on the effectiveness of a program or policy as a means to an end, rather than on the intrinsic qualities of the program or policy itself. Advantages and disadvantages of the three approaches are analyzed, and it is argued that the utility perspective appears to have fewer disabilities and more strengths than the other two. (SW)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (Los Angeles, CA, April 16, 1981).