Chapter 3, “Equality,” examines the ideal of “equal education.” US citizens often view this ideal as “opportunity,” but their understanding of opportunity is narrowly focused on marketable skills and competition for unequal rewards, omitting the distinctly educational value of school learning. It also neglects the critical capabilities to recognize injustice in society and to form life goals not beholden to currently dominant values and institutions. The chapter argues for educational justice as “educational goods” (including academic, personal growth, moral and civic capacities) valuable in their own right as well as to society, that should be provided to every child. But an unjust and unequal society constrains schools’ ability to equalize educational goods. Educational justice efforts must ally with class- and race-focused initiatives to lift up families and students at the low end of the economic spectrum, curb the ability of advantaged families to hoard opportunities for themselves, and, through reparations, correct for a history of injustices against students of color. Teachers see up close the impact of poverty on their students and should not be shamed for their professionalism in recognizing and trying to mitigate poverty’s impact.
Keywords: systemic racism, racial asymmetry, reparative justice, race and class, poverty and education, racial justice, equality of opportunity, educational goods, justice education, equality of education
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