ERIC Number: EJ818640
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008
Reference Count: 17
Equality of Educational Opportunity: Its Relation to Human Capital, and Its Measures
Johanningmeier, E. V.
American Educational History Journal, v35 n2 p365-379 2008
Since the end of World War II and the beginning of the Cold War, public education has been high on the national agenda. The nation's need for human capital and the need to provide equality of educational opportunity to all children and youth without regard to their race, ethnicity, or social status are the two needs that then framed education discourse and, as evidenced by the purpose of No Child Left Behind (2002), they have continued to frame education discourse. These needs were related to each other during the Cold War Era and became even more related to each other as the nation considered what it required to compete successfully in the Global Economy. Neither of these needs was a constant. The need for human capital increased, and the definitions or measures of equality of educational opportunity changed in significant ways. In this article, the author unpacks, identifies and examines how equality of educational opportunity has been measured or defined and employed in education discourse. The author discusses four measures or meanings that have been employed between the 1940s and No Child Left Behind: (1) access or availability; (2) inputs or resources; (3) segregation or integration; and (4) outputs, outcomes or achievement. The author concludes that if the achievement gap is closed, it will then be possible to say that equality of educational opportunity has been achieved. It will also be possible to claim that students who were earlier excluded from school or ill served while in school have benefited, for they will have the education and skills required for meaningful and rewarding participation in the Global Economy. They will have benefited not only because the nation was committed to social justice, but also because the nation needed human capital to compete successfully in the Global Economy.
Descriptors: Social Justice, Human Capital, Equal Education, Federal Legislation, Academic Achievement, Educational Opportunities, Educational Assessment, Educational Development, Educational History, Educational Indicators, Intellectual History, Semantics, Definitions, Discourse Analysis
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: No Child Left Behind Act 2001