ERIC Number: ED378109
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991
Arts Education as Equal Educational Opportunity: The Evolution of a Concept.
Richmond, John W.
Research Perspectives in Music Education: A Journal of the Florida Music Educators Association, n2 p9-15 Fall 1991
This essay addresses the ethical justification for arts education as a component of equal education. The paper traces evolution of equal education opportunity ideas in general and specifically as equal opportunity for arts education. While it is currently considered inequitable to provide an arts education to some and deny it or provide it in disparate terms to others, several definitions of equity are possible. Policymakers requiring some standard by which to determine whether differences in arts education constitute disparity, may look to standards employed by legal courts. Of nine definitions of equal education, presented by Arthur E. Wise in 1967, the Negative Definition that indicates that educational opportunity exists when it is not dependent upon parental economic status or place of residence, is one most likely to be upheld in litigation. Another definition that has an impact on the education of the arts is The Full Opportunity Definition, which requires that all students be developed to the limits of their ability. The Foundations and Minimum Attainment definitions provide the least support for arts education as the former measures dollars spent, while the latter places an achievement ceiling on students. The Leveling Definition requires that the greatest instructional resources and attention be directed to the least able. This contrasts with the Deserving Definition that allocates resources in direct proportion to the students' ability. Other definitions include: The Equal Dollars per Pupil Definition, The Maximum Variance Ration Definition, both of which allow a range of deviation from exact equality of expenditure; and The Classification Definition that requires suitable programs for students of specified characteristics, and availability of those programs to every student with corresponding characteristics. Alternate proposals by John W. Wick call for a sincere attempt to avoid imposing educational plans on students without careful regard for their entry skills, abilities, and needs; and indicates that quality is measured by outcomes. As educational resources become limited, arts education will need to understand the range of implications these competitive equal opportunities standards present to the field. A summary of these implications concludes the essay. Contains 31 references. (MM)
Descriptors: Art Education, Educational Legislation, Elementary Secondary Education, Equal Education, Fine Arts, Music Education
Florida Music Educators Association, 207 Office Plaza Drive, Tallahassee, FL 32301.
Publication Type: Journal Articles
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Researchers; Policymakers; Administrators; Practitioners
Authoring Institution: N/A