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Semantics of Equality of Educational Opportunity


by Richard Noonan - 1974

When the time comes for selection into more advanced levels of schooling, restricted to the most able, social class becomes an important determinant of scholastic career. A general principle must be recognized: that severe material and intellectual deprivation suffered in the early years can never be completely compensated by measures taken in later years. The problem of inequality of educational opportunity might be reduced to some extent, or it might simply be displaced from the schools to the economic institutions. The problem of inequality in the society, however, would remain unchanged, and children would continue to come to school suffering from disadvantaged home backgrounds.

Richard D. Noonan is completing his doctoral studies at Teachers College. The author has worked in Stockholm as research officer on the IEA project and as consultant on several projects related to the evaluation of educational achievement. Besides consulting on a project analyzing school data at the University of Gothenburg (Sweden), he is presently working on the development of language tests for use in industry in Sweden.


In 1965 Christopher Jencks wrote: "Almost nobody really wants to make America an egalitarian society."1 Three years later the editors of Harvard Educational Review wrote that "there is wide agreement in the United States that our society accepts and supports the fundamental value of equal opportunity."2 The American common school seems to have provided the basis for the latter statement. It may well be that the "commonness" of the American common school has been exaggerated and that the role of the schools in stimulating social and economic mobility has been greatly romanticized. Be that as it may, it is even harder to see the fundamental value of equality reflected in many of the European school systems, to say nothing of the rest of the world. For example, the educational systems in England, France, and the Federal Republic of Germany are selective after a certain age-grade level, with one branch for students who will proceed to the university and one or more branches for those who will not go on to the university.


From a perspective of the history of the evolution of the European school systems, however, these systems, in their historical development, can be seen to reflect what Torsten Husen refers to as the "conservative conception of equality of educational opportunity."3 According to this view, prevalent in most industrialized countries until World War I, "God has bestowed different amounts of capacity on each human being, and it is up to the individual to make the best possible use of that capacity."4 A child's capacity was considered to correspond to his social class, and the education he received was determined accordingly.


This "conservative conception" of equality of educational opportunity has gradually given way to the "liberal conception," a philosophy still prevailing in the development of the notion of equality of educational opportunity.5 According to the liberal view,


. . . each individual is born with a certain, relatively constant, capacity or intelligence. The educational system should be so designed as to remove external barriers of an economic and/or geographic nature that prevent able students from the lower classes taking advantage of their inborn intelligence which entitles them to due social promotion.6


Thus the comprehensive school, serving all students irrespective of social class background, has come into being in many countries.


Of course, the liberal philosophy has led in practice to a system in which social class background is still an important determinant of a student's educational career. While the liberal philosophy focuses on individual capacity, the specific criteria of "capacity," i.e., test scores, grades, and so on, are all correlated with social class background. Socioeconomic status indices or economic factors, such as family income, tend to correlate between 0.2 and 0.4 with test scores and scholastic achievement. Moreover, when the major psychological aspects of the home environment and the environmental processes are considered, correlations run upwards of 0.77 Thus when the time comes for selection into more advanced levels of schooling, restricted to the most able, social class once more becomes an important determinant of scholastic career.

INPUTS AND OUTPUTS


Many Americans characteristically tend to think of equality of educational opportunity in terms of inputs and outputs. When James Coleman and his colleagues planned the Equality of Educational Opportunity Survey, they considered five different concepts of inequality that people tended to have in mind when they talked about equality of educational opportunity: (1) inequality in input of physical resources from the community, such as per pupil expenditure, school plants, libraries, quality of teachers, etc.; (2) inequality in terms of racial composition, following the U.S. Supreme Court decision that segregated schooling is inherently unequal; (3) inequality in terms of various intangible characteristics, such as teacher morale, teacher expectations, level of interest of the student body in learning, etc.; (4) inequality in terms of consequences of schooling for individuals with equal backgrounds and abilities. "In this definition equality of educational opportunity is equality of results, given the same individual inputs. With such a definition, inequality might come about from differences in school inputs and/ or from racial composition and/or from more intangible things as described above"; (5) inequality in terms of consequences of schooling for individuals of unequal backgrounds and abilities. "In this definition, equality of educational opportunity is equality of results given different individual inputs."8 While the study focused primarily on the fourth definition, because "the results of this approach can best be translated into policy which will improve education's effects," it attempted to provide information relevant to all five possible definitions.9


The first three definitions focus on inputs—from the community, the student body, and the teachers—while the last two focus on outputs—the effects or results of schooling. When the report of the Equality of Educational Opportunity Survey emerged, it focused sharply on the dichotomy between the definitions emphasizing equality of inputs and those emphasizing equality of outputs. This dichotomy itself illustrates an important feature of the evolving concept of equality of educational opportunity, writes Coleman, viz., that the concept implied effective equality—equality in those elements that are effective for learning.10 Coleman speculates that the reason that this had been obscured by definitions involving inputs is that until recently educational research has been unprepared to demonstrate what elements are effective.11


The first four definitions given previously are clearly based on the liberal concept of equality of educational opportunity. By comparison with the fifth, they are relatively weak. The fifth definition is logically the strongest, since equality of educational opportunity implies equality of achievement levels for all students, regardless of backgrounds and abilities. However, the fifth definition, despite its superficial radical appearance, is nothing more than the liberal concept carried to the extreme. Aiming to remove external barriers to success among able, lower-class students, the liberal schoolmen found that the barriers stubbornly remained. Finding it equally impossible to relinquish their liberal commitment to equality and to find a fundamentally different solution, some liberals have simply gone to the extreme. If only disadvantaged children could be given powerful enough treatments, they could overcome their initial disadvantage and achieve as well as advantaged children, at least in those areas stressed by the schools.


Coleman's own views on equality of educational opportunity are interesting. In the report of the Equality of Educational Opportunity Survey he wrote that the role of the schools is to "make achievement independent of background" and to "overcome the differences in starting point of children from different social groups."12 Thus he himself opts for the fifth definition, i.e., equal outcomes for groups with different backgrounds.


The conflict between definitions four and five is seen by considering the relative intensities of two sets of influences on scholastic outcomes. The first set is those which are alike for different social class or ethnic groups, principally those in school (assuming that the first three definitions are fulfilled, equality of inputs prevails). The second set is those which are different for different groups, principally those in the home or neighborhood. If the school influences are not only alike for the different groups but also very strong relative to the divergent home influences, then different groups beginning school with different achievement levels will tend to converge over the school years. Then the fourth definition is adequate. The schools will tend to overcome initial handicaps, and disadvantaged students will tend to achieve more and more like advantaged students the longer they stay in the system. But if the school influences are very weak, compared to the home influences, then groups will tend to diverge over the school years. Then definition four is inadequate. Or more generally:


. . . the relative intensity of the convergent school influences and the divergent out-of-school influences determines the effectiveness of the educational system in providing equality of educational opportunity. . . . That is, equality of output is not so much determined by equality of inputs, but by the power of these resources to bring about achievement.13


However, the Equality of Educational Opportunity Survey showed that such a powerful converging influence of school resources on achievement did not seem to exist. The report concludes that, when social backgrounds and attitudes of individual students and their classmates are controlled, physical resources and curricular measures in the school show very little relation to achievement. The effects of a student's peers on his own achievement is more important than any other school influence.14 As Coleman summarizes the relative influences of the home and the schools:


Schools bring little influence to bear on a child's achievement that is independent of his background and general social context: this very lack of independent effect means that the inequalities imposed on children by their homes, neighborhoods, and peer environment are carried along to become the inequalities with which they confront adult life at the end of school. For equality of educational opportunity through the schools must imply a strong effect of schools . . . and that strong effect is not present in American schools.15


Thus for Coleman the research evidence itself points logically toward the fifth definition.


Equality of educational outcomes is the logical successor in the evolution of the liberal conception of equality of educational opportunity. It is not enough to remove social and economic barriers to the use of resources. Social class will still be reflected in the outcomes of schooling. Something more must be done. Indeed, one of the main ideas behind the so-called mastery learning strategies is that instructional objectives can be set out in such a way that with appropriate instructional methods they can be reached by the great majority of students.16 The basic idea behind mastery learning is the complete individualization of instruction. Through complete individualization, the careful specification of instructional objectives, and the use of proper methods, sufficiently powerful treatments could be given to disadvantaged students that they could learn as much as more advantaged students. Nevertheless, the hopes held out by mastery learning strategies are not likely to be fulfilled. First, while less advantaged students might well be able, through proper instruction, to learn a given body of knowledge or skills as well as more advantaged students, the more able will inevitably learn more quickly than the less able, and unless forcibly held back, the more able will soon be on to more advanced topics or simply topics different from those emphasized by the schools. Second, although some gains might reasonably be expected from improved methods, it is quite unlikely that improved methods can yield equality of outcomes without an enormous increase in input of financial resources for disadvantaged students. And that doesn't seem any more likely in the near future than it has been in the recent past. Third, the desirability of the complete individualization of instruction is questionable from a social point of view. Complete individualization of instruction would result in the complete isolation of students from their peers. This is a serious enough problem if the instruction comes from a teacher, but it's an even more serious problem if the instruction comes from a computer. It might be argued that what is needed is not more individualization of instruction but less, and more opportunity to learn to work together with other students.


The persistence of a social class effect on scholastic achievement, despite all attempts to combat it, suggests that the purview of the concept of equality of educational opportunity ought not be limited to the schools. Thus Bowles argues that:


. . . the burden of achieving equality of educational opportunity . . . cannot be borne by the educational system alone. The achievement of some degree of equality of opportunity depends in part on what we do in the educational system but also, to a very large degree, on what we do elsewhere in the economy, in the polity, and in the society as a whole.17


Given the importance of student attitudes and social class background in the learning process, closing the achievement gap between advantaged and disadvantaged students may require changing students' attitudes toward schooling and toward themselves. However,


. . . this can hardly be accomplished except through, or at least in conjunction with, an all-out social assault on racism and the poverty and powerlessness of the poor.18


Like Coleman, Bowles believes that equality of educational opportunity has to do with the effects of education, rather than the inputs into education, but he broadens the concept of the effects of education to include the effects of education on jobs and income, two "crucial determinants of the distribution of economic well-being. . . ,"19 Even equality of achievement "would take us only a small part of the way towards the achievement of equality of opportunity in society at large. . . ."20


Not everyone accepts the goal of equality of achievement. Gerald Lesser and Susan Stodolsky criticize Coleman's view by referring to research showing different patterns of mental abilities among children from different ethnic groups.21 From this starting point they discuss two "apparently incompatible" views on the concept of equality of educational opportunity: (1) equal opportunity for equal development, or (2) equal opportunity for maximum development of each group or individual, regardless of whether group differences disappear, remain, or enlarge as a consequence.22 Within groups of children, social class influences the level of abilities but does not significantly affect the pattern of abilities. Thus whatever might be done to remove social class differences in background, the result would be to make groups of children more similar, but the distinctive pattern associated with ethnic groups would remain.23


The existence of different patterns of mental abilities has implications for instructional methods. For example:


. . . in teaching mathematical functions to children strong in space conceptualization but weak in numerical facility, we use graphical presentation; in teaching the same concept to a child strong in number facility but weak in space conceptualization, we rely on the manipulation of numbers in tabular form.24


Lesser and Stodolsky then call for a matching of teaching methods to mental patterns in order to produce successful learning. "In the simplest case we can conceive of successful matching producing equal levels of achievement for all children. . . ."25 They believe that at least for the basic skills, the achievement of equal levels for all children is desirable. To this extent they agree with Coleman. However, beyond this minimal equality, to the extent that past experiences, interests, and achievements of students are related to subcultural membership, further development of students, based on strengths and weaknesses, may lead to diversity. Moreover, if this diversity in outcomes occurs, the abilities, interests, or personality characteristics which are associated with subcultural membership may be reinforced and strengthened. At this point the authors 'note that "compensatory" educational programs aim to compensate—to give disad-vantaged children what they need to make them like everyone else. "In contrast, the aim of what might be termed 'supportive' education is to give children what they need and can use maximally in order to learn to cope with and change their particular environments, even if they are made more different from everyone else in the process."26


Lesser and Stodolsky do not speculate whether differences would, in fact, increase under supportive programs, but they note that if the outcome is greater diversity in the intellectual accomplishments of different ethnic groups, "we can all accept this gain in pluralism within our society."27

REFORMS AND EXPANSION OF THE ROLE OF THE SCHOOL


Husen discusses what he calls simply "a new conception of equality of educational opportunity."28 It would seem that there are several new conceptions in today's debate, and increasing individualization figures prominently in all of them. There are, broadly described, three new concepts of equality of educational opportunity that underlie three rather distinct policies currently being advocated. These policies are briefly: (1) strengthen students' educational experiences outside the school system (usually referring to preschool experiences), taking into account individual differences in home background, ability, and interests; (2) eliminate the middle-class bias in the schools and among teachers; (3) stop depending on the schools as the instruments for bringing about social equality, and reduce the role of the schools. These three policies correspond roughly to, respectively, changing the students, changing the schools, and changing the role of the schools.


The first of these policies is based on research showing the great importance of the preschool years in a child's intellectual development. Benjamin Bloom showed that more than half of the difference in intelligence test scores at the end of secondary schooling was associated with differences at the age of six. Thus if the environment was of great importance in bringing about intellectual differentiation, most of the differences were already there when the children entered elementary school.29


Referring to the Bloom study and studies in socialization of cognitive modes in children, communication and language, and the effects of the environment on school motivation, Husen writes as follows:


The results of such research on pre-school education carried out in recent years lead one to a much more radical conception of equality of educational opportunity. It is not enough to establish formal equality of access to education. One has also to provide greater equality in the pre-school institutions or in the regular school for children of various social backgrounds to acquire intelligence.30


What is radical about this conception is that a student's success and failure "must be ascribed mainly to the school situation, particularly to the way instruction is organized."31


When equality of educational opportunity is seen in terms of the right to acquire intelligence, the policy implications are startlingly strong. This notion, which corresponds to Coleman's fifth definition given earlier, is referred to by economist John Vaizey as a "strong definition." It contrasts with Coleman's fourth definition, which Vaizey refers to as a "weak definition."32 Of course, attention needs to be given not merely to preschool institutions but to the schools as well, since the home and, especially in the adolescent years, the peer environments continue to exert their influences long after the child enters school.33 Institutionally the policy implied is seen this way by Husen:


In order to achieve greater equality in school attainments, society has to adopt special means to compensate for the deficiencies of the environment in which the child grows up or to supplement what may have been done at home. In the case of families that prove indifferent or even antagonistic to the measures society contemplates, it might even be necessary to take action against their will if the equality objective is to be pursued at any price.34


On the notion that every child should have the same opportunity for acquiring measured intelligence, insofar as this can be controlled by social action, Vaizey writes:


This is clearly a revolutionary principle. It means a rapid shift towards creating a society where every child has a good home, which in turn means, as an integral part of the educational process, eliminating low incomes and bad housing, and trying to remedy the deficiencies of badly educated parents. ... In practice it would suggest, for example, that if a boarding school education can be given to only a small proportion of adolescents (and if it is acceptable to them) it should be given to the culturally deprived rather than to the well endowed.35


Whether this line of reasoning is "radical" and "revolutionary" depends on how seriously and how far the policy implications are taken. The origin of inequalities of educational opportunity lies partly in the economic system—private ownership of the means of production and the wage structure—and partly in the social organization—the individual family unit as the center for child rearing. The economic system leads to material inequalities among families, and the social organization leads to young children's environments being marked by intellectual inequality. While Husen does not mention these factors separately, as does Vaizey, he notes that what is necessary is to "compensate" for "deficiencies in the environment."


How to compensate and how to bring about greater equality of educational opportunity are discussed at some length by Husen.36 In terms of the policies already mentioned for reaching equality of educational opportunity, Husen discusses the first two, namely, strengthening extra-school educational experiences and reducing the middle-class bias in the schools. While he notes that "educational reform cannot be a substitute for social reform," he does not discuss further the matter of social reform. According to Husen, strategies for bringing about greater equality of educational opportunity can be brought to bear at three different levels: (1) the preschool age; (2) the school as an institution; and (3) the postschool age, through recurring education.


Since differences in language skills develop so early among children, it follows that preschool education needs to be given more attention. The cost of preschool pedagogical institutions, such as kindergartens, should be weighed against the fact that by the time a child enters at, say, age four, a considerable proportion of the differences in language skills has already developed. Related to preschool instruction are institutionalized attempts to broaden the out-of-school experiences children have the opportunity to acquire.37


Husen discusses several strategies pertaining to the institutional structure of the school. First is the removal of selective admission procedures to courses of study. Second is the eventual elimination of rigidities in the structures of the school systems. Third is teaching-learning strategies to improve instruction for the disadvantaged.38 At the postschool age a system of recurrent education is seen as promoting equality of educational opportunity. This provides a system for re-entry into formal education for those who have left it early.39


Teacher training is also relevant to the question of equality of educational opportunity. Thus Husen writes:


One of the most drastic changes that have been brought about by the "education society" and the "education explosion" is the social role of the teacher. . . . The role of the teacher should no longer be confined to imparting a certain amount of knowledge that the pupil is supposed to retain. It should now embrace many educative tasks . . . where the teacher's main job is to guide each individual pupil towards a differentiated set of goals, not to "drop" those who cannot meet uniform demands.40


Specifically, three aspects of teacher training are mentioned as contributing to equality of educational opportunity. First, the middle-class orientation characterizing school education should be reduced. Second, teacher training should emphasize more the sociological and less the didactic aspects of school education. Where the didactic aspects are concerned, greater importance should be attached to individualized methods of instruction. Third, "the teacher cadre should be diversified in the sense that people other than certified teachers should be enlisted for classroom work. . . . This would counteract the isolation and one-sided orientation towards didactic problems that has characterized teacher-training for so long."41


The elimination of the middle-class bias in the schools and among teachers and the individualization of instruction are discussed at length by Charles Silberman in his report as director of the Carnegie study of the education of educators.42 Silberman's objective is to transform schools into "free, open, humane and joyous institutions," and yet institutions in which it is "possible for students from every social class and every ethnic and racial group to acquire the necessary basic skills."43 His focus is almost entirely on changing the nature of the existing school system, rather than changing the children before they enter the school system. He is rather blunt in his opposition to attacking the equality problem by remedial preschool action. In fact, he writes:


Much of the current emphasis on pre-school education . . . grows out of the . . . assumption that the school is fixed and immutable, and the solution therefore is to change the child to fit the school. Research indicates that lower class children do not learn because they enter school lacking the attitudes and the linguistic, cognitive, and affective skills that are crucial to success in school. Ergo, teach these skills to lower class children before they enter school!44


Silberman describes several ways in which the middle-class bias is manifested in schools. First, teachers' expectations affect students' performances. Teachers of lower-class children often have quite low expectations of the behavior and learning capacities of their pupils. In fact, they often describe these children as "animals," and the children come to understand this and respond accordingly—the self-fulfilling prophecy. But often when schoolmen attempt to adjust the school to fit students' needs, they only compound the problem. For example, they first design a special curriculum for those who will not take part in higher education after secondary school and then assign lower-class children to this curriculum, closing off for these children the opportunity for higher education. In addition, teachers in lower-class schools actually teach less than teachers in middle-class schools.45


A second way in which the middle-class bias is manifested in the schools is the evaluation of performance. Not only do teachers in low-income black schools teach less, but they also evaluate their students' work less often. More important, perhaps, their evaluations are almost always negative. In middle-class schools, by contrast, teachers offer positive evaluations more often then negative ones.46


A third manifestation of the middle-class bias is in the emphasis on discipline. Teachers have more trouble maintaining control in lower-class than middle-class schools. While this is partly because lower-class children are more physical and less verbal than middle-class children, and so find it more difficult to sit still five hours a day, it is also partly because of teacher attitudes toward lower-class students. Teachers have a middle-class image of how working-class children should be and are which emphasizes obedience, respect, and consciousness and which expects unruliness and apathy.47 A fourth manifestation is that instruction and materials are often not in the language of the lower-class child.48


The reasons for failure are clear enough, writes Silberman, but how can the schools educate children from lower-class and minority group homes and reduce the disparities in academic achievement attributable to poverty and ethnicity? Part of the answer lies in highly individualized instructional materials. "Adapting curricula and teaching materials to the students' interests and learning styles is a means of getting them hooked on learning."49 Another factor which has been important where programs for the disadvantaged have succeeded is "the teachers' unshakable conviction that their students can learn."50 This conviction is transmitted to the students who gradually develop self-confidence. A conscious effort is made to develop students' self-concepts, and "love is given freely." Silberman develops his thesis at length, taking as his model of elementary schooling the new informal English primary schools and then setting out his ideas on secondary schooling. His recommendations involve curriculum, school organization and management, and instructional methods; and they are intended to make schools humane without sacrificing intellectual quality. While he devotes one chapter (sixty pages) to a discussion of education and equality, except for eliminating the middle-class bias, his recommendations seem not to touch on the equality issue, unless it is assumed that free and humane schools without middle-class bias are necessarily equal.


The weakness of a view, such as Silberman's, which focuses so exclusively on the schools, is that it fails to recognize the seriousness of the effect that the early childhood environment has on cognitive development—i.e., on the ability to "acquire intelligence." If Bloom's model of cognitive development is essentially correct, a large part of the damage is already done by the time children enter school, and remedial treatment must be decreasingly effective and increasingly costly the later it is begun. A more realistic view, therefore, must give regard not only to the school itself but also to children's preschool development.


The views presented so far have been based on pedagogical, psychological, and sociological thinking. There has been another focal point for achieving equality of educational opportunity, namely, the federal government and the legal process. This view takes as the goal equity in financing schools, combined with reforms and expansion. According to one pair of writers, John and Anne Hughes, experience with the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, with its focus on the commonality as well as the depth of the problems, "has shown that the solutions must be generated at the national level rather than at the state or local level."51 According to this view, it is only the federal level which has access to the resources now needed to "bail out" the system and its clients, for the states simply lack the financial means to equalize the system.


In terms of mode of resource allocation, the Hughes' proposal is clearly compensatory. Thus one basic condition for the funding formula is differential provision to the clients, depending on their varying needs, since "the living styles of the poor result in their having more basic unfulfilled human needs than do the living styles of the non-poor."52 It is proposed that the goal of equal educational opportunity be reached through providing a framework for creating "genuine client-centered educational programs and institutional accountability," two expressions which appear over and over again in their book.53 The clients would be the legal beneficiaries of federal funds.


. . . entering into a contractual relationship with a particular educational agency . . . in which they and the agency would agree upon what educational and education-related services would be needed for the clients to receive an equal educational opportunity. ... If such services were not delivered, the educational agency would then face the denial of funds available to the client in the future, as well as possible legal action."54


The main burden for the success of the program, in other words, would be placed on the system rather than on the student. The client and the educational agency would develop detailed educational plans, contracts would be signed making the agency accountable, results would be evaluated, and possible legal action could ensue.


The Hugheses evince a rare faith in the use of contractual agreements and centralized financing to solve the problem of inequality of educational opportunity. The problem is not seen as pedagogical, psychological, or social, but rather as financial. They are probably quite right when they maintain that the present financial crisis of the schools can be solved only at the federal level, and their proposal for a Cabinet-level Department of Education will probably be realized, though not in the near future. But such a cumbersome system as that proposed, with "clients" and "educational agencies" agreeing on how the agency can provide the client with an "equal opportunity," can only lead to disappointment and enormous costs for lawsuits. Even the most elaborate systems of contracts, with or without centralized financing, cannot remove the effects of the disadvantages that lower-class children suffer from when they enter school. The end result would probably be that educational agencies would simply stop contracting with disadvantaged clients, since their chances of success would be so low and the costs of failure—possible legal action—would be so high. Thus social class discrimination would become even greater than it is today.


The views presented so far have accepted the school as an educational institution, though the Hugheses wrote of "educational agencies," some of which might not be schools. As a solution to the problem of inequality, these writers have recommended reform and the expansion of the role of the school. Thus while they have generally accepted that the schools themselves have given rise to or furthered inequality, they have also generally pointed to the society as an important source of inequality. Not only is the society outside the schools an important source of inequality, but it is also apparently a less remedial source than the schools.


It is not merely reform but also the expansion of the role of the schools that is recommended to reduce inequality. However, there are other writers who argue for a stop to the dependence on the schools to bring about social equality. According to these writers, what is needed is not expansion but a reduction of the role of the schools.

CHANGES IN THE ROLE OF THE SCHOOL


One stream among those who have given up public schools in their present form is represented by Kenneth Clark's proposals for alternative public school systems.55 Clark takes as his problem the "pervasive and persistent educational inefficiency" which characterizes schools attended by black and poor children. Clark's solution begins with the premise that "truly effective competition strengthens rather than weakens that which deserves to survive."56 When Clark writes about alternative public school systems, he does not refer necessarily to a publicly operated school system but more broadly to "that form of organization and functioning of an educational system which is in the public interest."57 Clark urges attempts to strengthen the present public schools simultaneously with the development of practical competitors to the public schools, but strengthening the public schools alone will not suffice.


Clark suggests, as competitors to the present form of urban public schools, regional, state, and federally financed schools to cut across present urban-suburban boundaries and state boundaries, respectively, with the latter schools making provisions for residential students; college- and university-related open schools financed by these institutions as part of their laboratories in education, with students selected "in terms of constitutional criteria and their percentage determined by realistic considerations"; industrial demonstration schools, elementary and comprehensive high schools of quality, "financed by industrial, business, and commercial firms for their employees and selected members of the public"; labor union-sponsored schools, financed and aided by labor unions largely, but not exclusively, for children of their members; army schools set up by the Defense Department adjacent to camps "for adolescent drop-outs or educational rejects."58 The payoffs expected from this development of alternative public school systems are incredible:


With strong, efficient, and demonstrably excellent parallel systems of public schools, organized and operated on a quasi-private level, and with quality control and professional accountability maintained and determined by Federal and state educational standards and supervision, it would be possible to bring back into public education a vitality and dynamism which are now clearly missing.59


Clark's article is extraordinarily strong in assertions and weak in analysis. For example, the bold assertion that "truly effective competition strengthens rather than weakens that which deserves to survive" is extremely naive and unscientific, and to the extent that it has any meaning at all, it would probably be rejected by all modern economists. Also he seems to see the entire problem as one of inefficiency of the school system, rather than as emerging from the political, economic, and social system. For Clark the problem is not the existence of ghettos or ghetto schools but of inefficiency. Thus since competition promotes efficiency, what is needed is a parallel system of schools to compete with the public schools.


Naivete is shown again when Clark discusses financing. State and federal regional schools and Defense Department schools, of course, would be publicly financed, and presumably, if the political will existed, these schools could be financed on a significant scale. But to expect colleges and universities, private firms, and trade unions to finance schools on a significant scale is to ask the impossible. The cost of running urban schools today is so high that public school boards are faced with a perennial financial crisis. Colleges and universities have their own financial crises to contend with, labor unions have other battles to fight, and profit-maximizing firms have their dividends to pay.


Finally, Clark verbally associates "strong, efficient, demonstrably excellent" parallel systems, having "quality control and professional accountability" with "private," but he provides not the slightest hint as to how a private system can do so brilliantly what the public system seems unable to do. Nevertheless, Clark's line of reasoning is given expression in high places. Thus in a major policy statement to Congress, President Nixon declared:


The non-public schools provide a diversity which our educational system would otherwise lack. They also give a spur of competition to the public schools—through which educational innovations come, both systems benefit, and progress results. . . . The non-public schools also give parents the opportunity to send their children to a school of their own choice, and their own religious denomination. They offer a wide range of possibilities for education experimentation and special opportunities for minorities, especially Spanish-speaking Americans.60

THE IDEA OF ALTERNATIVE SERVICES


Christopher Jencks has presented some dissenting views on the meaning of equality of educational opportunity and strategies for achieving it. Instead of looking at school resources from an "expenditure" point of view, Jencks looks at them from a "use" point of view. He concludes that inequality in use of school resources (for example, in the United States blacks and the poor tend to leave secondary schooling earlier than whites and the middle class) does not necessarily prove inequality in opportunity. It merely proves that public funds are being used to subsidize a service which is used by white middle-class children more than by children in other classes.61


Even if educational services were free, notes Jencks, they would be used unequally. People differ in interests and abilities, and rationality would lead to unequal use. That people would use unequal amounts of school resources if they were free to choose forms a cornerstone of Jencks's thinking, and the rhetorical question he asks is "why not let them be free to choose?" He writes:


We therefore conclude that what [is needed] . . . is a system of finance which provides alternative services to those who get relatively few benefits from the educational system. If people do not want to attend school . . . an egalitarian society ought to accept this as a legitimate decision and give these people subsidized job training, subsidized housing, or perhaps simply a lower tax rate.62


In support of this policy conclusion, Jencks notes a low correlation between schooling and future economic success. He states, for example, that most studies have found a rather modest relationship between test scores and high school grades and economic success, and this derives largely from the fact that the standardized tests measure skills that are useful in getting through school, not skills that pay off once school is over. Neither credentials nor examination scores predict earnings in most lines of work very accurately.63


Acceptance of Jencks's views would imply some fairly fundamental changes in thinking about equality of educational opportunity, for his views stress the right to be unequal, i.e., to use different kinds of services according to one's interests and abilities. He writes:


Instead of evaluating schools in terms of long-term effects on their alumni, which appear to be relatively uniform, we think it wiser to evaluate schools in terms of their immediate effects on teachers and students, which appear much more variable. Some schools are dull, depressing, even terrifying places, while others are lively, comfortable, and reassuring. If we think of school life as an end in itself rather than as a means to some other end, such differences are enormously important. . . . This implies that we will have to accept diverse standards for judging schools, just as we do for judging families. Indeed, we can even say that diversity should be an explicit objective of schools and school systems. . . . Since the character of an individual's schooling appears to have relatively little long-term effect on his development, society as a whole rarely has a compelling interest in limiting the range of educational choices open to parents and students. . . . Nor is there any compelling reason why the educational profession should be empowered to rule out alternatives that appeal to parents, even if they seem educationally "unsound."64


With his proposals, Jencks breaks sharply with the liberal view of equality of educational opportunity. The object is not to remedy or compensate children for "deficiencies," for differences do not imply deficiencies. Differences in use of school resources imply normal differences in consumer preferences and should be accepted as such. Children are not all to be placed on the same scale. Quite the contrary: Diversity should be an explicit objective of schooling.


The value of Jencks's proposals is, in the view of the present writer, that by breaking so radically with the liberal tradition, he exposes the absurdity in the evolving liberal concept. Liberal policy, carried to its logical extremes, would lead ultimately to the suppression of individual differences in the name of equality. That is the purpose of the mastery learning strategies. While this suppression might work in some narrowly limited curriculum areas, it is doomed to failure in terms of the overall development of the child because class differences in intellectual abilities would still exist, whether caused by hereditary or environmental differences.


Although Jencks's proposals for the school system are valuable for showing the error in the liberal path, nevertheless they themselves lead into a labyrinth from which there is no escape. Seen within the context of poverty in the land of affluence from which he writes, Jencks's suggestion that "if people do not want to attend school . . . [society ought to give them] subsidized job training, subsidized housing, or perhaps simply a lower tax rate" provides an economic incentive to drop out of school as soon as possible. It is to encourage the poor to sell their birthrights for a mess of pottage. The rich are not faced with this choice. They have both good housing and education, but the poor must choose between them. Moreover, in the long run it seems that the children of the poor would be caught in the scissors of a tradeoff—intellectually or materially disadvantaged rearing. In either case the problem of disadvantage would continue to manifest itself in school achievement differences, reinforcing subsequent income inequalities in adult life. In addition, although blame is not put on students for their desire to leave school, neither is it put on the schools. Thus any possibility of holding the schools responsible for serving students' own needs is lost. To student protests concerning teaching methods, curriculum, etc., the schools can simply give the classic reply: "If you don't like it, you can leave."


Jencks has written in greater detail about his ideas on changing the school system.65 He has written on the virtue of private schools. If the poor were given as much money to spend on education as the rich, Jencks assumes, the private sector would expand to accommodate them. He envisages a system composed of a large number of autonomous private schools, making it possible "to attack the problem in manageable bites." This would also make it possible for different parts of the school system to "develop at different paces, in different styles, and even in different directions."66


A second virtue of a system of private schools is that it can provide a way to mix slum children with racially and economically different classmates. "[I]f the traditions and distinctive identity of a school depend not on the character of a student body but on the special objectives and methods . . . middle class parents who approve of these objectives and methods will often send their children despite the presence of poorer classmates."67


Such a system could be financed either through tuition grants to students or through contracts with a university, a group of teachers incorporated to manage a school, or a local business group (Litton Industries can surely run a school, Jencks assures us). In either case, of course, the public school system as it is known today would be destroyed. However, since the present system of "socialized education" [sic] has failed, "some new kind of departure, either 'capitalist' or 'syndicalist,' is needed."68


In the proposal to replace the public school system with a private system, as with the proposal to give rent subsidies or lower tax rates to those who choose not to use public educational resources, Jencks shows a remarkable degree of faith in the capitalist system. His faith is especially remarkable as it comes out of an era of protest against the worst manifestations of the contradictions of the capitalist system—racism, poverty amid affluence, an imperialist war, wanton destruction of the environment, high inflation together with high unemployment, and so on.


The two advantages Jencks sees with a system of private schools seem to come from an elementary textbook description of perfect competition—a large number of autonomous buyers and sellers in the "education market," each possessed of perfect information, acting as if prices were given, and with few external effects of particular market decisions extant. But it is difficult to believe that a system of perfectly competitive schools could persist in an economic milieu typified by oligopoly and monopoly. There is every reason, on the contrary, to believe that what might begin as a large number of small autonomous schools would, within a short period of time, emerge as a centrally administered profit-maximizing firm mass-producing a plethora of chrome-plated educational packages, advertised in the same terms as automobiles in all the media from coast to coast, containing a one-year guarantee and built-in obsolescence. And there is every reason to believe that the variety Jencks hopes would emerge from this system of autonomous private schools would, within a short time, become the same kind of variety sold by the Detroit auto manufacturers—a variety which separates the rich from the poor, at a price, of course.


To believe that special objectives and methods could cause middle-class parents to send their children to certain schools despite the presence of a large number of lower-class classmates requires a great deal of imagination. While it might work on a very small scale with ideologically committed parents or on a somewhat larger scale with religiously committed parents (Jencks gives parochial schools as evidence), it is completely unrealistic to believe that any but an extremely small minority could be persuaded on the basis of objectives and methods. Such a strategy, in other words, simply could not work on a large enough scale to have a significant impact on the problem.


Yet Jencks's primary concern is not with equalizing educational opportunity but with equalizing the distribution of income.69 This is an important step ahead in the debate on equality of educational opportunity, since most writers seem not to see inequality of educational opportunity in the context of a political-economic system which itself is badly in need of change. They may see the political-economic system as, in some obscure way, related to inequality of educational opportunity, but they assume that their role as psychologists, sociologists, or "educationists" is to dream up intricate ways of adjusting the schools to the sacred political-economic system so as to ameliorate the most undesirable manifestations. Jencks explores the possible effects of family background, schooling, and cognitive skills on variations in men's incomes, and he concludes that they do not explain much. Thus he notes, if the goal is to equalize the distribution of income, a more direct approach is needed.


Egalitarians should aim to convince people that the distribution of income is a legitimate political issue, subject to popular regulation and control, Jencks teaches us. If a substantial redistribution is wanted, it will be necessary not only to politicize the issue but also to alter people's basic assumptions about the extent to which they are responsible for their neighbors and their neighbors for them. A successful campaign for reducing inequalities in incomes probably requires, first, that those with low incomes must demand change, and second, that the rich must begin to feel "ashamed" of income inequality. "If these things were to happen, significant institutional changes in the machinery of income distribution would become politically feasible."70 Unless a direct attack on inequality is made by public policy, progress will be extremely slow. "If we want to move beyond this tradition, we will have to establish political control over the economic institutions that shape our society. This is what other countries usually call socialism."71


In the debate on equality of educational opportunity, the word "socialism" is something new. It is in the penultimate sentence in Inequality (except for the appendices) in which Jencks mentions socialism. The word appears only once in the entire book. He does not mention ownership of the means of production or a planned economy but only that political control over society's economic institutions is needed. In fact, he does not say that the political control he envisages implies socialism, but only that this is what other countries (which countries and who in those countries?) usually call socialism. Indeed Jencks's notion of socialism seems fairly shallow: His concern is primarily with equalizing the distribution of income, and he gives his readers no hint of what he means by "political control over economic institutions." Moreover, when he discusses schools, he advocates a system of private schools and recommends measures which would absolve the schools of any measure of social control. Finally, Jencks's socialism is to be reached by altering people's basic assumptions, so that the poor will demand change and the rich will feel ashamed. Next to prayer, this must surely be the weakest possible strategy.


While Jencks's mention of socialism is something new in the equality of educational opportunity debate, it doesn't really advance the debate. Instead of advancing a clear socialist line, he advances only a hodge-podge of "radical" ideas —a system of private schools, a system of financing which provides the poor with economic incentives for leaving school earlier, and a "socialism" reached by making the rich ashamed.


In a cogent article James Coleman discusses the evolution of the school system and the role of the school.72 The functions of the school have grown gradually over the years, as the school system has assumed the responsibility for teaching more and more things. Coleman gives a brief historical overview of the fundamental changes that have occurred. First, productive activities for both mother and father have gradually moved away from the home, where children could learn by participation. Next, these activities gradually moved from small firms requiring nonspecialized labor and having informal hiring practices to larger and larger firms requiring increasingly specialized labor and having increasingly formalized hiring practices. At the same time, young people were increasingly excluded from work places under the guise of "protection."


Meanwhile the schools have always been oriented toward the basic intellectual skills of reading, writing, and arithmetic for the majority of pupils and more advanced intellectual skills for the minority destined for clerical or academic occupations. Education in nonintellectual matters traditionally took place in the home, but as the above-mentioned changes occurred in the family and in production, the schools gradually come to take on additional functions—occupational training and nonoccupational activities, such as civics and music appreciation.


The school has taken on additional responsibilities; yet:


. . . when it has tried to teach non-intellectual things, [it] does [sic] so in the only way it knows how, the way designed to teach intellective capabilities: through a teacher transmitting cognitive skills and knowledge, in the classroom, to students.73


If an appropriate reform of education is to be made, he continues:


. . . it must begin with this fact: schooling is not all of education, and the other parts of education require just as much explicit planning and organization as does schooling. Once this is recognized, then the way is paved for creation of a true educational system—not merely a system of schools, but a system of education that covers non-intellectual learning as well.74


A point which Coleman emphasizes is that all young people need to learn both intellectual as well as nonintellectual skills. However, nonintellectual skills have always played a secondary role in schools, he maintains, and the schools are prepared to do only what they have always done, namely, "teach young people intellectual things . . . by giving them information and intellectual tools."75


Coleman's view of a reorganized system is one which recognizes the above-mentioned fundamental structural changes that have occurred in the family and the economic institutions. Since schools are not good at teaching nonintellectual skills, even though their role has grown gradually to include them:


. . . the school comes to be reduced in importance and scope and in time in the life of a young person from age twelve onwards, with the explicit recognition that it is providing only a portion of education .... [The extra-school portion of education] can appropriately take place only in the economic institutions of society . . . . [I]t involves nothing less than a breaking open of the economic institutions of society, from factories to hospitals, a removing of the insulation that separates them from the young, and giving them an explicit role in the education of the young.76


This reorganization would require performance standards to be met in nonintellectual as well as intellectual areas. These skills must be just as explicitly evaluated and form just as much a basis for a young person's credentials as intellectual skills today.


The reorganization Coleman envisages would imply an enormous change in the economic institutions. It would require an explicit "breaking open" of work organizations to incorporate the young. The product would no longer be "only goods and services to be marketed, but also learning," to be paid for with public funds.77 A second implication of this reorganization is that it would reduce the relationship between educational performance and social class:


In schools, the pervasive power of testing on intellectual criteria . . . exacerbates and emphasizes the inequalities of academic background that children bring with them to school. If education is appropriately defined to include . . . other equally important skills, then the artificially heightened disparity between students from "advantaged" and "disadvantaged" backgrounds will be reduced. . . .78


Even the problem of racial or social segregation could be solved if formal education took place largely outside the schools and instead in economic institutions. Economic institutions, maintains Coleman, are less segregated by race than any other institutions.


It is interesting to compare Coleman's ideas with Jencks's. There are several superficial similarities, namely the reduction of the role of the school and the idea that business should play a role in the education of the young. Behind the superficial similarities, however, there are sharp and very important differences.


Perhaps most fundamentally for Coleman the role of business is to provide "real" educational experiences by placing children "where everyone else is and where the action is, inside the economic institutions where the productive activities of society take place."79 For Jencks, however, the role of business (or other private body) is to manage schools more effectively than public school bureaucracies are able to.


Unfortunately, both Jencks and Coleman say too little about financing. It seems clear enough from Jencks's writings that school boards would contract with local business groups to manage schools. Thus the school boards would be expected to pay enough to make it profitable for business to manage them. The schools would presumably be managed on a profit-maximizing basis. How that is to happen without raising costs even higher than they are today, Jencks doesn't discuss.


Coleman's notion seems a bit different. Instead of contracting with business to manage a school, Coleman would depart entirely from the notion of a school for teaching nonintellectual things. In the free enterprise capitalist economy of the United States, the young would be provided with entitlements that could be redeemed by businesses and other enterprises that try to provide the appropriate learning experiences. Coleman stresses that the appropriate locus for young people is where the productive activities of society take place, so Jencks's vision of a system of privately managed schools would not seem to be consistent with the system that he envisages. The intention is that the economic institutions must change radically to incorporate the young in a more integral way in the productive activities. They would have to be organized "not only for productive efficiency but for learning efficiency as well."80 The fact that Coleman writes that one of the products is "learning," instead of "teaching," and the economic institutions must be reorganized for "efficiency in learning," rather than "efficiency in teaching," confirms that the focus is indeed on learning rather than teaching. Thus economic institutions should be compensated for the inconvenience of having young present, rather than for any formal teaching that the institutions may carry out, though some amount of active but informal teaching might be expected. Comparing Jencks's proposals with Coleman's concerning the role of private enterprise in education, Coleman's are seen to be by far the more profound. Jencks would shift formal instruction out from under the public school bureaucracy to private management. The expected change at the level of the classroom and the individual student would be slight. Coleman, however, would shift education in nonintellectual tasks out of a classroom setting and into a setting where young people learn by active involvement in society's production activities.


A second difference between Jencks and Coleman concerns their views on who requires special treatment, i.e., treatment different from the treatment usually received today. For Coleman, all children need to learn nonintellectual skills and, by implication, to spend some of their "education" time in economic institutions. For Jencks, on the other hand, "vocational" training is offered to those who decide they can't benefit from regular schooling. Coleman notes also that nonintellectual education requires just as much explicit planning and organization as does schooling. Likewise, nonintellectual skills must be evaluated just as explicitly and form just as much a basis for a young person's credentials as intellectual skills. Here again the relative profundity of Coleman's proposals is seen.


Running through Coleman's vision is a clear line, which, in the view of the present writer, constitutes a genuine step forward not only in the equality of educational opportunity debate but also in the historical Western debate on the proper goals of education. That line seems to be based on three important beliefs. The first is that all people need to develop the whole of their capabilities, not only the intellectual capabilities. The second belief is that the productive activities of society are so important that young people from the earliest age ought to be brought up conscious of them and indeed involved in them. The third belief is that all ought to partake of the productive activities of society, and therefore these activities ought to form a basic portion of the education of all.


Some warnings need to be given, however. First, there is a conflict between the interests of business management and those of educational authorities. The experience with polytechnical education in the Soviet Union illustrates this conflict:


The factory manager will usually want either to use pupils in tasks where regular workers are hard to find, or to hold training costs down by keeping pupils working at a particular job once they have become reasonably proficient. The educational staff, on the contrary, will want the pupils to enjoy the highest level and most varied assortment of work experience that is possible to give.81


The solution to this problem may lie partly in the organization and financing of training programs for the young, partly in very close inspection and control by public authorities, and partly in a good measure of student and parent involvement in planning the students' educational programs. No educational activities should be allowed to escape close public scrutiny, regardless of where they occur.


A second warning concerns student selection. Places of work are organized for the exclusion of young people. In the Soviet Union the disruption of the regular routine by the incessant invasions of factories by young trainees is a serious problem.82 A related problem is that, at least in the early years of a system such as Coleman proposes, places for young people would be scarce. The problem of educational placement might be similar to the problem of job placement. Thus in view of the high unemployment rates in many industrialized countries, finding places for young people's education might prove to be a long-term problem. Therefore, the selection of students into available places becomes one of great importance.


If the criterion for the allocation of places is scholastic attainment, there is little reason to believe that the result would be less discriminatory on the basis of social class than the present system. It may be true, as both Jencks and Coleman maintain, that economic institutions are less segregated than schools.83 But they are also stratified, and it is in this stratification that social class discrimination among students would most likely show up. A partial solution to this is the principle that children should be directly exposed to a variety of different kinds of work, and should be indirectly exposed to the entire range of * economic activities of the society. They should learn about society's productive activities, the interrelationships among them, the degree and kind of specialization required for each job, remuneration, probably future demands, etc. Young people should have the opportunity, as far as possible, to be placed in whatever areas of work they want, and they should be expected to change places rather frequently, as their interests, experiences, and capabilities change and grow.


Finally, it must be noted that while Coleman's argument about reducing the relationship between social class and educational achievement is probably right, nevertheless no program can eliminate the effects of early deprivation. A general principle must be recognized: that severe material and intellectual deprivation suffered in the early years can never be completely compensated by measures taken in later years. The problem of inequality of educational opportunity might be reduced to some extent, or it might simply be displaced from the schools to the economic institutions. The problem of inequality in the society, however, would remain unchanged, and children would continue to come to school suffering from disadvantaged home backgrounds.





1 Christopher Jencks, "Is the Public School Obsolete?" The Public Interest, Winter 1965, pp. 18-27.

2 Editors' note preceding article by James S. Coleman, "The Concept of Equality of Educational Opportunity," in Equal Educational Opportunity. Expansion of the Winter 1968 special issue, Hazard Educational Review. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1969, p. 9.

3 Torsten Husen. Social Background and Educational Career. Paris: Center for Educational Research and Innovation, OECD, 1972, pp. 28-31.

4 Ibid., p. 28.

5 Ibid., pp. 31-37.

6 Ibid., p. 31. Emphasis in original.

7 Ibid., pp. 33-34. Citing Richard M. Wolf, "The Identification and Measurement of Environmental Process Variables Related to General Intelligence," unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Chicago, 1964; and R. H. Dave, "The Identification and Measurement of Environmental Process Variables Related to Educational Achievement," unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Chicago, 1963.

8 Coleman, op. cit., pp. 18-19. Emphasis in original.

9 Ibid., p. 19.

10 Ibid., p. 20.

11 Ibid.

12 James S. Coleman et al. Equality of Educational Opportunity, Vol. 1. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1966, p. 72.

13 Coleman, "The Concept of Equality of Educational Opportunity," op. cit., pp. 23-24.

14 Coleman, Equality of Educational Opportunity, op. cit., p. 325.

15 Ibid.

16 James H. Block, ed. Mastery Learning: Theory and Practice. New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1971.

17 Samuel Bowles, "Towards Equality of Educational Opportunity," in Equal Educational Opportunity. Expansion of the Winter 1968 special issue, Harvard Educational Review, op. cit., p. 121.

18 Ibid., pp. 121-122.

19 Ibid., p. 122.

20 Ibid., p. 124. Bowles also notes that "we must recognize that the achievement of equality of educational opportunity involves very real conflicts of interest . . . favoring the interests of the poor and powerless to the detriment of the interests of those better endowed with wealth and influence." He also suggests broadening the attack and attempting to increase the degree of participation in educational decision-making. He anticipates not only a direct effect but also an indirect effect, since the schools can be used as a rallying point for a general attack on inequality in society.

21 Gerald Lesser and Susan S. Stodolsky, "Equal Opportunity for Maximum Development," Equal Educational Opportunity. Expansion of the Winter 1968 special issue, Harvard Educational Review, op. cit., pp. 126-128.

22 Ibid., pp. 134-135.

23 Ibid., pp. 135-136.

24 Ibid., pp. 136-137.

25 Ibid., p. 136.

26 Ibid., p. 137.

27 Ibid., p. 138.

28 Husen, op. cit., pp. 37-39.

29 Benjamin S. Bloom. Stability and Change in Human Characteristics. New York: John Wiley, 1964.

30 Husen, op. cit., p. 38. Emphasis in original.

31 Ibid., p. 39.

32 John Vaizey. Education for Tomorrow. Baltimore, Md.: Penguin Books, 1966, pp. 18-19.

33 James S. Coleman. The Adolescent Society: The Social Life of the Teenager and Its Impact on Education. New York: Free Press, 1961.

34 Husen, op. cit., p. 38.

35 Vaizey, op. cit., p. 19.

36 Husen, op. cit., pp. 158-166.

37 Ibid., pp. 158-159.

38 Ibid., pp. 159-163.

39 Ibid., pp. 163-164.

40 Ibid., p. 164. Here Husen refers specifically to secondary school teachers, but his statement here and his ideas on recurrent education should be seen within the context of the very modern comprehensive school system and the unparalleled adult education system in Sweden. Adult education takes many forms in Sweden, but a modest (!) example of its unparalleled development is provided by its "study circle" activity. Approved study circles, covering essentially an unlimited number of topics and levels, receive a subsidy from the National Board of Education. In the school year 1971-1972 this country of around eight million inhabitants had approximately 197,000 such subsidized study circles with around 1.9 million participants! Skoloverstyrelsen. Skolvasendet (Specialnummer. Stockholm: Skoloverstyrelsen, augusti 1972) [National Board of Education. The School System, Special Number. Stockholm: The National Board of Education, August 1972].

41 Husen, op. cit., pp. 164-166.

42 Charles E. Silberman. Crisis in the Classroom: The Remaking of American Education. New York: Vintage Books, 1970.

43 Ibid., p. 62.

44 Ibid., p. 81.

45 Ibid., pp. 83-89.

46 Ibid., pp. 89-94.

47 Ibid., pp. 89-92.

48 Ibid., p. 94

49 Ibid., p. 97.

50 Ibid., p. 98. Emphasis in original.

51 John F. Hughes and Anne O. Hughes. Equal Education: A New National Strategy. Blooming-ton: Indiana University Press, 1972, p. 6.

52 Ibid., pp. 157-158.

53 Ibid., pp. 173 ff.

54 Ibid., p. 175.

55 Kenneth B. Clark, "Alternative Public School Systems," Equal Educational Opportunity. Expansion of the Winter 1968 special issue, Harvard Educational Review, op. cit., pp. 173-186.

56 Ibid., p. 184.

57 Ibid.

58 Ibid., pp. 185-186.

59 Ibid., p. 186.

60 Richard M. Nixon. Presidential Message to Congress Proposing a Series of Actions to Improve Elementary and Secondary- Education. Reprinted in Richard M. Nixon. A New Road for America: Major Policy Statements, March 1970-October 1971. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1972, p. 211.

61 Christopher Jencks et al. Inequality: A Reassessment of the Effects of Schooling in America. New York: Basic Books, 1972, p. 19.

62 Ibid., p. 23.

63 Ibid., pp. 176-246.

64 Ibid., p. 256-257.

65 Jencks, "Is the Public School Obsolete?" op. cit., pp. 18-27.

66 Ibid., p. 229.

67 Ibid., pp. 229-230.

68 Ibid., pp. 230-231.

69 Ibid., p. 261.

70 Ibid., p. 265.

71 Ibid.

72 James S. Coleman, "How do the Young Become Adults?" Review of Educational Research, Vol. 42, No. 4, Fall 1972, pp. 431-439.

73 Ibid., pp. 434-435.

74 Ibid., p. 435.

75 Ibid., pp. 436-437.

76 Ibid., p. 437.

77 Ibid., p. 438.

78 Ibid.

79 Ibid., p. 439.

80 Ibid., p. 437.

81 Harold J. Noah, "Soviet Education's Unsolved Problems," Saturday Review, August 21, 1965, p. 56.

82 Ibid.

83 This might be solely because economic institutions draw employees from a larger area than the catchment area of a school. If that is the case, and if students are allocated to places according to school areas, then, of course, residential patterns will cause the same racial and social class segregation as is found in the schools today.



Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 76 Number 1, 1974, p. 63-88
https://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 1358, Date Accessed: 10/20/2021 11:17:20 PM

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About the Author
  • Richard Noonan
    Teachers College, Columbia University
    Richard D. Noonan is completing his doctoral studies at Teachers College. The author has worked in Stockholm as research officer on the 1EA project and as consultant on several projects related to the evaluation of educational achievement. Besides consulting on a project analyzing school data at the University of Gothenburg (Sweden), he is presently working on the development of language tests for use in industry in Sweden.
 
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