NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ1054785
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Mar
Pages: 18
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1477-8785
The Ethics of Pandering in Boston Public Schools' School Assignment Plan
Levinson, Meira
Theory and Research in Education, v13 n1 p38-55 Mar 2015
How can access to public elementary schools of variable quality be justly distributed within a school district? Two reasonable criteria are: (a) that children should have equal opportunity to attend high-quality schools, and (b) school assignment policies should foster an overall increase in the number of high-quality schools. This article analyzes Boston Public Schools' new school assignment plan in light of these criteria. It shows that Boston Public Schools' plan violates equal opportunity by giving middle-class families privileged access to existing high-quality schools. Boston Public Schools arguably panders to more-advantaged families, however, in order to pull them into the system and deploy their economic, political, and social capital to increase the total number of high-quality schools. Is this ethically defensible? To answer this question, we need to develop an ethical theory of pandering: of privileging the interests and preferences of already unjustly privileged actors because the consequences tend to benefit everyone. Such a theory will need to be ethically pluralistic and weighted along a contextually sensitive continuum, rather than rendered in all-or-nothing terms.
SAGE Publications. 2455 Teller Road, Thousand Oaks, CA 91320. Tel: 800-818-7243; Tel: 805-499-9774; Fax: 800-583-2665; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Massachusetts
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A