I hope you all enjoyed today’s talk. Thank you for dealing with the technical difficulties, and for those of you who were at lunch, it was nice meeting you!
So Dr. Bischoff’s talk on education equity had, as I saw it, three parts. First, she presented us with some evidence to show that there is inequality in education right now. Second, she demonstrated that measuring equality in education in itself is a very difficult task. And third, she gestured towards some of the ethical issues that arise in the topic of education equity.
I think this was one of those talks in which the relevant ethical issues were quite transparent — indeed, equality of education is, at least from personal experience, a frequent topic for those late night conversations that seem (at least at the time) incredibly deep. So feel free to comment on any of those ethical issues.
I have to say, though, that one ethical issue interests me above others — so if you have thoughts on this, I would love to read them. Dr. Bischoff framed this issue as “liberty v. equality,” and I think that’s a great wait to put things. Any policy to promote equality must redistribute resources and standardize the range of choices that we have, thereby restricting our liberty. As applied to education, the attempt to provide equal education means, necessarily, that resources must be redirected from the well-off to the others, and that perhaps some educational options (e.g., private schooling or home schooling) must be banned. That’s, of course, a stroke against liberty.
So we have two great ideals — equality and liberty — and they seem to contradict one another in this difficult case of education. Of course, I’m not saying that we should have complete equality or complete liberty. As with many other things, we need to strike the right balance. So my question is, how would you go about finding that balance? How much should government (or some other organization) actively redistribute resources in the name of equal education?
Looking forward to reading what you have to say!