chapter  1
29 Pages

Equality and education

The case for equality Debate about our educational arrangements usually takes the case for equality to be axiomatic. If there is controversy about equality in education it rarely questions the justice of making our educational provision less inequitable. Discussion tends to focus either on the conceptual ambiguity of the notion of equality when applied to education, or upon the unlikelihood of our ever achieving what seems an unquestioned social ideal. This imperative towards equality is epitomized by John Wilson (1966 : 35):

By most criteria of similarity, men seem very much alike: and equalitarianism has gained ground over the centuries not so much because egalitarians have browbeaten people into accepting new criteria (when they could quite reasonably have been content with criteria which justified inequality) but rather because they have succeeded in waking people up to the general similarities of all men which could be recognised, with a slight mental effort, by existing criteria of similarity.